Key Players in the Nicaraguan Debate

In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge sent Marines back to Nicaragua, from which they had briefly been withdrawn 12 months earlier. Over the next 3 years, they would become involved in a nasty guerrilla war against forced led by nationalist Augusto Sandino, producing the Senate's most important debate over inter-American policy since the 1850s.


Idaho senator William Borah. A Republican who generally supported the peace progressives, Borah became chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in 1924; he held the position until 1933. A sharp debater and strong personality.
Connecticut senator Hiram Bingham. A conservative Republican and one of the few outspoken defenders of Coolidge's interventionist policy in Nicaragua. Had a most unusual background: he was a professor of Latin American culture and history at Yale before entering politics.
Nebraska senator George Norris. Longtime peace progressive who had the great prestige of any of the Senate dissenters. First distinguished himself as a foe of US intervention in the hemisphere during the Veracruz crisis (Wilson administration).
Wisconsin senator John Blaine. Another Republican who affiliated with the peace progressives, Blaine probably was the Senate's most radical member on 1920s foreign policy issues. Introduced the first Nicaraguan amendment to cut off funds for the intervention.
Washington senator C.C. Dill. One of two Democrats (Burton Wheeler of Montana was the other) who affiliated with the peace progressives. Sponsor of the successful 1929 amendment to cut off funding for the Nicaraguan intervention.
Minnesota senator Henrik Shipstead, elected on a third-party ticket (the Farmer-Labor Party) in 1922. Shipstead was especially interested in some of the broader aspects of imperialism in the hemisphere, and, in a rare action for a senator at the time, spent a good deal of time in the Caribbean Basin on a fact-find mission during the 1927 congressional recess.