Prize Possession: The United States Government and the Panama Canal 1903-1979

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Prize Possession is a history of United States policy towards the Panama Canal, focusing principally on the first two generations of American tenure of the Canal Zone between 1904 and 1955. John Major also provides an extensive look at the nineteenth-century background, the making of the 1903 canal treaty with Panama, the move after 1955 towards the new treaty settlement of 1977, and the crucial significance of the Canal to American policy-makers and their public. The book is based for the most part on the hitherto largely untapped sources of US government agencies, namely, the State, War, and Navy Department, and the Canal Zone administration, as well as on the papers of notable dramatis personae such as Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and Philippe Bunau-Varilla. As such it makes an important and original contribution to our knowledge and understanding of a subject which has not yet received its due from historians.