How important was President Roosevelt to the development of America imperialism in the years 1895 to 1912?

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Robyn Ashton

How important was President Roosevelt to the development of America imperialism in the years 1895 to 1912?

Roosevelt sought to bring the United States out of isolationism and fulfil its responsibility. He believed that America should “speak softly and carry a big stick” and so helped with the beginning of the construction of the Panama Canal, coined the term Dollar Diplomacy and issued a “corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine.

Roosevelt introduced the Big Stick Policy, the idea of negotiating peacefully and acting like an international police whilst being willing to use force to back up any diplomatic negotiations. It was Roosevelt’s belief that the United States was justified to exercise their power to put an end to all the universal unrest and wrongdoing. He followed his Big Stick Policy in his dealings in Latin America. In 1903, Roosevelt freed Panama from Colombia, however, this was because of a selfish motive as he wanted to begin the construction of the Panama Canal. Through the construction of the Panama Canal, the United States gained naval influence in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific where the seas had been initially dominated by the British and French and strengthen trade links, developing America’s imperialistic ideals. In addition to saving time when travelling from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, the construction of the canal it enabled the U.S. Navy to travel much faster and America could control and expand the naval forces. Roosevelt believed that a great navy was essential to his foreign policy. The US Navy became a major international force at sea, building up the country’s defences with success due to the canal. Roosevelt believed if the rest of the world could see his force they might be deterred to challenge the US military and the threat would stop any conflict.

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Several European nations had attempted to forcibly collect debts owed to them by Latin American nations like Venezuela in 1902; the country was receiving messages from Britain and Germany to pay off long-standing debts. British and German forces took naval action with a blockade on Venezuela, Roosevelt denounced the blockade. The blockade began the basis of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine and in 1904 Roosevelt officially issued the “corollary”, stating that the United States would prohibit any intervention from foreign countries. Roosevelt called this “Dollar Diplomacy,” arguing that if any nation in the Western Hemisphere appeared politically and ...

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