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What was FDR's Good Neighbor policy?

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Quick Answer

Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy was his administration's policy toward the countries of Latin America, and consisted of a relationship of general non-interventionism, mutual respect and open trade. The Good Neighbor policy was, in part, a response to outcries over military involvement in Nicaragua and Haiti, as well as the negative effects caused by Hoover-era tariffs. Roosevelt's policy was the norm throughout terms, but ceded to interventionism during the Cold War.

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Full Answer

Franklin Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy stemmed, in part, from the foreign relations philosophy of Henry Clay, who coined the term "Good Neighbor." It countered the Monroe Doctrine (including Theodore Roosevelt's corollary to it), which asserted that the US had a legitimate interest in Latin America and was justified in acting as the police dog of the Western Hemisphere.

During the Presidency of Calvin Coolidge, the international leadership of the Pan-American Conference criticized the US for its armed intervention in Nicaragua and Haiti. In addition, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which raised prices on imported goods to a historic high, further deteriorated relations between the US and Latin America.

The Franklin Administration strove to reverse the trend, believing good relations with Latin America to be beneficial to the nation's economic welfare. Roosevelt established the Office of the Coordinator Inter-American Affairs, which promoted media portraying Latin American countries in a positive light. The government negotiated mutually beneficial treaties with Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua and others.

The trend of non-interference and non-intervention ended after the Second World War, when Cold War policies dictated America's political agenda. The US eventually intervened militarily in Guatemala, Cuba, Nicaragua and other Latin American nations.

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