Was Roosevelt's foreign policy a success or failure
Was Roosevelt’s foreign policy a success or failure?
Roosevelt did many things in his foreign policy including: the building of the Panama Canal, the Spanish – American war. In this essay I will explain the failures and successes and then come up with a conclusion as to whether or not Roosevelt’s foreign policy was a success or failure.
After Japan showed its strength against Russia the US became distrusting of them; as they were worried about the threat in which Japan showed to the Philippines. However the distrust was mutual and was widened by racial ammonites on the west coast of America. A San Francisco school board ordered that students of oriental descent were to attend a separate school. This ‘yellow peril’ as it was known in 1906 caused relations between US and Japan to become sour. Japanese government protested and eventually Roosevelt managed to change the school boards mind. However this was only after ensuring that Japanese would not issue passports for its labourers. The gentlemen’s agreement between Roosevelt and the Japanese government halted the influx of Japanese immigrants. “Yellow Peril” is another situation which Roosevelt demonstrated his ability to protect foreign relations and at the same time get what he wanted in terms of what was best for America and himself. However even though Roosevelt dealt with the problem it was still an extremely unsuccessful aspect of foreign policy.
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One success of Roosevelt’s was the ‘Spanish – American’ war. America defeated a weakening Spanish army fairly easily after 10 undefeated battles and this gave them a strong reputation.
Furthermore, in getting the Spanish out of Cuba they gained themselves the control of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and trade with South America. This gave them added influence in the Atlantic. They had large investments in Cuba: 50 million pound, 80% Cuban exports of sugar and tabocoo. Moreover, they gained Guantanmo Bay as a permanent American Naval base and later on they gained Pearl Harbour: this gave them safe sea routes and a safe place to keep their navy, as all world power needed a large navy. As well as gaining ports and harbours American also gained the Philippians which they bought for $20 million and then a further 7 million people to their population. This event is therefore seen as a strength as they gained influence, a greater population and harbours.
Another failure of Roosevelt’s foreign policy is the building of the Panama Canal. Negotiations for a canal began in 1815 between Britain and America. The canal would be beneficial to America as it would allow them to travel from the East to the West coast without having to go around South America. However Britain pulled out on he grounds that it forbade fortification.
After all negotiations and meetings Roosevelt still faced many obstacles. Between 1881-87 a French company, led by Ferdinand De Lesseps had spent nearly $300 million and 20,000 lives to dig less than a third of the canal through panama. The French company now demanded $ 109 million for work to continue. Yet when the House of Representatives passed the go ahead for the construction of the canal in Nicaragua, where it would be cheaper, the French company lowered its price to $40 million. Though to have built the canal in Nicaragua would have been a disadvantage due to it being in an earthquake zone as well as this it would have made the canal longer. During this time of negotiations Secretary Hay had been discussing with Thomas Herran of Colombia and in return for a canal 6 miles wide agreed to pay 10 million, $250,000 a year. However the Colombian senate held out for 25 million after hay Herran treaty of 1903 angered Roosevelt. Meanwhile in panama tensions were high at Colombia’s rejection of the terms especially as they had been in a long dispute with the Columbian authorities in Bogotá. Manuel Amador an employee of the company began a secrete plot with the companies representative Philippe Bunua-Varilla. Both visited Roosevelt informing them with apparent inside information and informed the conspirators that the U.S.S Nashville would arrive at Colon in Panama on November 2. The next day Amador staged a revolt and Colombian troops found American troops blocking the sea lanes. Roosevelt appointed Philippe as ambassador of Panama and sealed the deal. This could be seen as a failure as Roosevelt committed one of the greatest offences in foreign policy. America helped spark a spontaneous revolution to get what they wanted. It is morally wrong to meddle in other countries affairs.
Finally a second success of Roosevelt’s foreign policy was the role America played as an international policeman in Morocco. In March 1905 the French and British were criticised by the German Kaiser which aroused a diplomatic storm of dangerous proportions. Roosevelt felt that America could be affected in any sort of way, and so decided to intervene. He then called an international conference this was when The Act of Algeciras was signed in 1906, which was a way of ensuring independence for Morocco and the Americans managed to benefit as they were guaranteed open door for trade there. The Act of Algeciras provided training and control of Moroccan police by France and Spain. The United States senate ratified the agreement as one that may well have prevented a general war. This event was seen as a success because Roosevelt was appraised for avoiding a world war, and plus he rewarded morocco with independence.
Overall Roosevelt’s foreign policy was just as successful as unsuccessful. However during numerous situations such as the Columbian revolution Roosevelt made very serious mistakes which in turn resulted in America later on had to face grave dangers such as the attack at Pearl Harbour.
Here's what a star student thought of this essay
Quality of writing
On the whole, spelling, grammar and punctuation are good, but there are some mistakes - "tabocoo" should be "tobacco", for example. It is better for you if the examiner spends time marking you on the quality of your knowledge rather than working out what you are trying to say, so always proof-read. The essay makes good use of words such as "however", which are useful because they leave the examiner in no doubt that the student fully understands the need to consider alternative views. They also help the student to organise their information, which stops the essay from appearing confused.
Level of analysis
The main problem with this essay is the lack of analysis - it describes what happened but it doesn't do much to explain why or what the effects were. Almost all of the sixth paragraph describes events that happened, and the student makes it sound as though they are telling a story. Most people would be able to do this, but students stand out when they can explain why it happened and what the effects were, because that shows they have thought about what other events caused it. When the student says "Meanwhile in panama tensions were high...", it sounds like a story, and they spend several sentences talking about details. They could improve by devoting one or two sentences to getting some facts in, then using the next two or three sentences talking about the causes and the effects. However, the student uses statistics well, such as "spent nearly $300 million", which is better than if they had said "spent a lot of money" because it shows they understand what makes a figure large or small. The conclusion does not give both sides of the argument, which is necessary all the way through (see section 1). It isn't enough for the student to say "Overall RooseveltÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s foreign policy was just as successful as unsuccessful." because they haven't said why they think there was an equal split between success and failure. Anyone can make a statement but without evidence there is no point. This sentence also seems pointless because in the next sentence the student argues the opposite by suggesting it was mostly a failure. Always leave a minute at the end to re-read and make sure you aren't arguing one thing then arguing the opposite.
Response to question
This essay answers the question quite well (before the conclusion) by dealing with several examples of successes and failures: this is necessary because it shows the student is thinking widely and understanding that historians have developed different views on Roosevelt's foreign policy. The student could improve by grouping together all of their arguments that his foreign policy was a success, then grouping all their arguments that it was a failure together as well. This would create a clear contrast between the two interpretations, showing they understand the need to point out both sides of the argument. Most of the introduction is unnecessary: there is no need to say exactly what you are going to do because you will not be marked for it - you will be marked for actually doing it rather than saying you will. It would be better to give an example of one of the failures and one of the successes you will use, because that immediately shows the examiner you can organise your knowledge. That way, if at any point in the essay you're not sure what to write next, you can glance back at your introduction as a guide.