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History of the Panama Canal In 1825 a group of American businesspeople announced the formation of a canal building company with interests in constructing a canal system across the Isthmus This project was to take place in an area now called Panama The endeavor was filled with controversy Though the canal itself was not built until the early 1900s every step toward the building and ownership was saturated with difficulty Walter LaFeber illustrates the dilemmas in a historical analysis In his work he states five questions that address the significance of the Panama Canal to United States This paper will discuss the historical perspective of the books author address pertinent three questions and give a critique of LaFebers work The Panama Canal For proper historical analysis one must understand the importance of the Canal The Panama Canal and the Canal Zone the immediate area surrounding the Canal are important areas used for trade Even before the canal was built there were to large ports on both sides of the Isthmus Large amounts of cargo passed through the Isthmus by a railroad that connected the two ports The most important cargo was the gold mined in California before the transcontinental railroad was completed in the United States It has strategic significance because of its location acting as a gateway connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans This allows for rapid naval deployment between fleets in either ocean These two facets make the Panama Canal very important in the region LaFeber notes that Panamanian nationalism played a large role in the creation of the canal and consequently the cause for the areas constant instability The first expression occurred in the late 1800s with Panamanian struggle for independence from Columbia The United States eager to build the canal and control its operation used and backed Panamanian nationalist During the Roosevelt administration not only did the United States manipulate factors isolating Panama from other world powers through
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