The Impractical Ideal Costa Rica, the United States and Central America Reunification, 1902-1932

Date of Award

Spring 5-1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Joan E. Supplee

Committee Member

Justin C. Friberg

Committee Member

Pia Christina Wood

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.I45L36


This thesis examines the motivations of Central American Unionists and the failure of their movement in the early years of the twentieth century. The existing literature attributes the failure of Central American unification during this era to U.S. policies meant to maintain a divided isthmus in order to economically and politically exploit the region. A closer analysis of the primary sources, however, reveals that union failed because of internal factors, and that Washington's actions generally favored efforts to rejoin the nations to reduce isthmian tensions. Attempts to reunite the republics failed because of regional and domestic political rivalries, weaknesses in the institutions created to effect union, and nearly insurmountable geographic barriers.


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