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Theodore Roosevelt’s most fatuous quote was to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” In 1.904 he also announced the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine to Congress, which stated that the United States had the right to intervene in any country in the Western Hemisphere that did things “harmful to the United States,” or if the threat of intervention by countries outside the hemisphere was present. The Roosevelt Corollary strengthened American control over Latin America, justified numerous American interventions in Latin American affairs in the twentieth century, and increased “Yankee go home” sentiment throughout the region. In Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic) the government went bankrupt and European countries threatened to intervene to collect their money; under the provisions of the Roosevelt Corollary, Roosevelt organized the American payment of Santo Domingan debt to keep the Europeans out.

In fairness, it should also be noted that Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation between the Japanese and the Russians after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904.

William Howard Taft, Roosevelt’s successor, was not as aggressive in foreign policy as Roosevelt. He favored “dollars over bullets” and instituted a policy labeled by his critics as “Dollar Diplomacy,” which stated that American investment abroad would ensure stability and good relations between America and nations abroad. This policy would also be hotly debated throughout the twentieth century.

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