Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dr. Gunter Bischof

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrea Mosterman

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Dupont



This thesis explores the influence of masculinity in twentieth century American foreign policy through examining the career of Guy “Machine Gun” Molony. Molony was an Irish American mercenary from New Orleans, whose career saw the transformation of Honduras from a banana republic to a recipient of dollar diplomacy. Unlike the majority of mercenaries who did not use their experience to build successful careers, Molony made a name for himself in American newspapers, becoming respected and even feared by policemen and politicians. His life tells a fascinating tale of the individual male in American foreign policy, where rebellious youth used war and instability to create heroic images of themselves. This thesis argues that the U.S. State Department borrowed from the independent mercenary model, building on a foundation laid out by men like Molony to implement dollar diplomacy. Guy Molony’s career is a telling example of how perceived ideas of manhood carried imperial intentions during the era of manifest destiny and the Monroe Doctrine. Although scholars tend to focus on Western expansion when examining the ideology of manifest destiny, this thesis explores how mercenaries like Guy Molony, followed by the U.S. State Department, continued to look southward to Central America as a means for American expansion.


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