The United States and the independence of Latin America, 1800-1830 / by Arthur Preston Whitaker

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Although the study of international relations is among the oldest fields of Latin American history, historians have not fully exploited the diplomatic archives of that region. No doubt the main obstacle has been the restrictive policies of the Latin American chancelleries, which have tended to view all diplomatic correspondence as inherently sensitive, particularly since boundary disputes have survived in many cases until the present moment. For this and other reasons, the study of Latin American foreign relations has lagged far behind that of Europe and the United States. Among Latin Americans, ex-ambassadors seem more prolific than professional historians in the field of diplomatic history; their works vary tremendously in quality, from the valuable studies of Cardozo (1961) and Herrera (1908-1927, 1930) to a host of mediocre treatments. European and North American historians have tended to focus on diplomatic contacts with the Great Powers, whose archives are more easily accessible, and to see Latin American foreign relations from the vantage point of the Great Powers. Such products include the classic works of Manchester (1933) and Robertson (1939) and the more recent studies of Burns (1966) and Wood (1966). Some works dealing with inter-American relations—e.g., Tulchin (1971) and Wood (1961, 1966)—define their topics so as to use no Latin American archival materials at all; others, such as Parks (1935) define their topics more broadly but still use United States or British archives exclusively.
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