How Important was Theodore Roosevelt to the development of US Imperialism 1900-1914

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How important was Theodore Roosevelt to the development of US Imperialism 1900-1914?

There were many factors which influenced the development of US imperialism after the 1980s. There was the open-door policy which allowed free trading with China. Also, the Spanish-American war led started by President McKinley and the Dollar diplomacy designed by Taft which was an economic form of imperialism. Before the 1980’s America was far from being a world power. Its foreign policy was essentially isolationist, seeking to steer clear from wars and diplomatic entangles. The majority of Americans were hostile to the idea of Imperialism and were not really keen on forging international alliances. However, due to the events which occurred in the 1980s, America was pushed into a rapid naval expansion; a war against Spain and the annexation of territories in the Pacific Ocean. Expansionist ideas were now more welcomed due to the realisation that America needed to control foreign markets overseas due do the rapid growth of their economy. This period was a great age of European Imperialism. Imperialist ideologies influenced many Americans who wished to promote expansionism and a more forward American foreign policy based on naval power. These men had a great influence on American foreign policy and the promotion of Imperialism. One of these men was Theodore Roosevelt.

Theodore Roosevelt was pivotal in the development of US imperialism. Roosevelt's speeches fundamentally transformed popular opinion in the U.S. He equated imperialism with masculinity and ambition while denouncing isolationism as lazy and cowardly. Roosevelt argued that imperialists were not greedy but courageous instead. He claimed that "we do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort." Early in his political career, Roosevelt was ridiculed as weak and effeminate. He knew that a masculine image was essential to political success, so he overcompensated himself by trying to brand himself as a warrior. Roosevelt vehemently supported a war with Spain and when it finally broke out; he saw it as a great political opportunity. He resigned from his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and formed a highly publicized cavalry regiment that embodied the masculinity of the American West. Roosevelt returned from Cuba with this heroic warrior image he had craved and used it to his advantage by promoting his imperialist views and ideologies. By using his newly-found warrior image he had managed to transform public opinion by promoting imperialism as a ‘masculine and ethical’ ideology and owing to his popular war-hero identity he subsequently succeeded in gaining the approval of the American public for his imperialist policies.

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Another event where Roosevelt advanced imperialism was through the creation of the Panama Canal. Roosevelt was responsible for instigating a separatist movement in Columbia and subsequently creating Panama so that he could push through his Panama Canal Project which was finally completed in 1914. This was viewed as arguably his most significant achievement. "The canal," Roosevelt said, "was by far the most important action I took in foreign affairs during the time I was President. When nobody could or would exercise efficient authority, I exercised it."

Panama was now in effect, an American puppet state which negotiated the terms ...

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