Journal of Latin American Studies

Research Article

Anti-Imperialism and the Good Neighbour Policy: Ernest Gruening and Puerto Rican Affairs, 1934–1939 fn1

ROBERT DAVID JOHNSON Assistant Professor of History a1
a1 Williams College, Williamstown, Mass.


During his five years as chief US policy-maker towards Puerto Rico, Ernest Gruening strove to create a model – based on the anti-imperialist principles he had outlined in the 1920s – for a reformist policy which the United States could pursue towards the rest of Latin America. The initial support of Franklin Roosevelt allowed Gruening to position his Puerto Rican programme as one of the three ideological alternatives present in the early stages of the Good Neighbour Policy. The collapse of Gruening's scheme provided US policymakers with an early illustration of the difficulty of imposing reform with insufficient local support.

fn1 The author would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Dirksen Congressional Leadership Center, and the helpful comments of Drew Erdman and John Chambers, II.