Presidential Policy in Central and South America

I’ve been a history nerd ever since Mrs. Hamm first read the story of the Pilgrims coming to Plymouth Rock in for my first grade class’ Thanksgiving Feast. Since then, my historical knowledge has expanded quite a bit, but I can still say that American history is my favorite, which I why I am thrilled to be spending a year studying the office of the Presidency for my CSPC research. What fascinates me most about the Presidency is not only the uniqueness of the office with respect to contemporary governments at the time of its conception, but also how the office has continually molded and conformed to the styles and policies of those who have inhabited it.

Because the office of the Presidency encompasses such a wide variety of different fields, I have decided to narrow my research first down to how different Presidents have responded to various foreign relations issues, and secondly to focus within the realm of foreign relations on issues pertaining to Central and South America specifically. In doing so, I hope that my thesis will not only explore Presidential leadership, policy, and rhetoric with respect to political interactions with these countries, but I hope to also touch upon topics such as human rights, drug trafficking, and the presence of large American corporations in this area of the world.

During my study abroad in London last semester, I took a class entitled, Global Citizenship, which focused on different global issues each week, such as global warming or human trafficking. During one particular class we watched and discussed a documentary about violence in Columbia for a human rights discussion. The documentary explored the involvement of United States corporations, such as Chiquita Banana for instance, in funding violent groups that had been deemed “terrorist” by our national government. I was struck by the blatant corruption and disregard for human rights that the video projected, and though I am not sure if this will be a main focus in my thesis or not, it was this documentary that has inspired me to focus my research on our both country’s relationship with Central and South America, and how it has been affected by our executive branch.

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