The United States and Brazil: A Long Road of Unmet Expectations

By Monica Hirst | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND BRAZIL HAVE ebbed and flowed over time; for almost two hundred years they have oscillated between close alignment and cold indifference, according to the level of convergence and/or discrepancy between the two countries. Yet their shared American heritage, together with their power attributes-territory, population, and size of economy-have always made it difficult for either side to turn a blind eye to the other. 1

Until the late nineteenth century, relations between the two countries were sporadic, as was then the norm in inter-American relations. Their dominant ties were with the European world-particularly with Great Britain-and wars and border settlements occupied almost all of the foreign agendas of the two countries.

U.S.-Brazil relations gained weight as bilateral economic and political interests gradually flourished in the last decade of the nineteenth century. While Brazilian republican movements looked to the U.S. political experience as a source of inspiration, the United States opened its market to coffee, Brazil's main export. The relationship picked up once Brazil abolished slavery and became a republic. Since then, U.S.-Brazil relations have developed different significant trends, which will now be discussed individually.


ALLIANCE

During Brazil's First Republic (1889-1930), U.S.-Brazil relations followed the pattern of a loose alliance, one that Bradford Burns has characterized as an “unwritten alliance.” 2 While no mutual military assistance was involved, reciprocal diplomatic support and close economic ties knitted a strong friendship between the two nations. For Brazil, this relationship was premised on the diagnosis of a scenario in which Eurocentric interests would not last long as the core of world affairs, and the United States would become a vigorous international actor. Barão

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The United States and Brazil: A Long Road of Unmet Expectations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Preface ix
  • Introduction xvii
  • Chapter 1 - Historical Background 1
  • Chapter 2 - New Complexities in U.S.-Brazil Economic Relations 19
  • Chapter 3 - U.S.-Brazil Political Relations 39
  • Chapter 4 - Balance and Perspectives 67
  • Chapter 5 - The United States and Brazil: Comparative Reflections 73
  • Notes 109
  • Index 123
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