Date of Award
College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts
J. Edward Lee
After the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903 the Panamanian people had to live in an occupied country. The U.S. took control of a ten-mile stretch of land surrounding a canal of immense importance to world trade. The U.S. policy makers ignored the pleas, complaints, and demonstrations of the Panamanian people as they struggled for sovereignty in their country. This thesis will show, through the use of primary sources from the U.S. government that U.S. policy makers refused to see the importance of sovereignty to the Panamanian people until the 1964 Panamanian Flag Riots. After that episode, U.S. policy makers dramatically shifted their ideas about Panamanian sovereignty and began working on handing the Canal to Panama. South Carolina politicians and others would continue to oppose sovereignty for Panama, while more moderate politicians prevailed in working toward a compromise for Panama, which resulted in the Carter – Torrijos Treaties of 1977.
Humphrey, William Edward, "From Riots to Sovereignty: United States Policy Makers Ideas, Perceptions, and Reactions to the Panamanian Struggle for Sovereignty" (2018). Graduate Theses. 96.