The Good Neighbor Fleet: Selections from the Gift of Thomas C. Ragan
During his March 1933 inaugural speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) promised Americans a New Deal, while also pledging to initiate a Good Neighbor Policy with Latin America. Departing from the interventionist “gunboat diplomacy” of his distant cousin former President Theodore Roosevelt, FDR encouraged the expansion of trade and tourism as the key to US relations with its neighbors to the South. Founded by Albert V. Moore and Emmet J. McCormack in New York in 1913, the Moore-McCormack Company benefitted from FDR’s advocacy for American commercial shipping and from government subsidies for steamship lines servicing Latin American destinations. In the late 1930s, the company marketed three of its ships—the SS Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay—as the Good Neighbor Fleet, a conscious echo of the president’s inaugural pledge.