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Making the Empire WorkLabor and United States Imperialism$
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Daniel E. Bender and Jana K. Lipman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479871254

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479871254.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

Progressive Empire

Progressive Empire

Race and Tropicality in United Fruit’s Central America

(p.289) 11 Progressive Empire
Making the Empire Work

Jason M. Colby

NYU Press

This chapter reviews Frederick Upham Adams' Conquest of the Tropics, a triumphalist account of the United Fruit Company (UFC), where he commended the pioneers of the company for bringing order and progress to Central America. Embedded in this imperial narrative was recognition of the company's black labor force. Although UFC boasted of wages higher than “ever before offered” in the region, it had proven “almost impossible to tempt the average native of Central America to work, and many of them are physically incapable of sustained manual labor.” As a result, UFC, like the U.S. government's canal construction in Panama, had come to rely on British West Indians.

Keywords:   Frederick Upham Adams, United Fruit Company, Central America, black labor force, British West Indians

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