At the start of the 18th century, the richest regions in the Americas lay south of New England and the mid-Atlantic colonies of North America. By the end of the 20th century, this economic geography has been definitively, perhaps irrevocably, reversed. The formerly poor colonies of Europe have become the core of the United States, a global economic colossus and regional overlord, while the once rich former colonies to the south, are among the poorest regions in the world. The dramatic reversal of fortunes lies at the heart of this work on political economy. In a study on economic development and ideological formation in the Americas, the book shows how the much-vaunted achievement of US democracy has been secured by the political stunting of Latin America, and how US historians have systematically ignored the intertwining of Latin America and US history. The final chapters address popular culture, from Donald Duck through to "Dallas", as well as contemporary political issues, such as NAFTA. Charles Bergquist is the author of "Labor in Latin America".