The Big Stick Policy

“Speak softly and carry a big stick,” this was the slogan that president Theodore Roosevelt Used to describe the Big Stick policy. This sentence led to the foreign policy that Roosevelt deployed during his presidency hence the name “Big Stick” Policy. This policy meant that the U.S. should be fair in its dealings with other countries but must always be ready to protect its own interests or in other word negotiating peacefully while simultaneously threatening with the “big stick”, or the military.

Roosevelt first used the phrase in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair on September 2, 1901, twelve days before the assassination of President William McKinley, which subsequently thrust him into the Presidency. Switching from vice president to president meant that he was now first incharge of all of America’s dealings, including the aftermath of the Spanish-American war and all other business with other nations. And a new president meant new policies. During his president, the foreign policy that Roosevelt used was the Big Stick policy, which he developed. A large part of it was the Roosevelt Corollary which he built off the Monroe Doctrine which stated that the United States reserved the right to stabilize the economies of Central American, South American and Caribbean nations who were unable to pay off their international debts.

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This was done to prevent European nations (many of whom made loans to such nations) from intervening in the United States’ “sphere of influence.” Roosevelt believed that peace should always be strived for and force should only be used if necessary, and he kept that in mind while creating and using the Big Stick policy . The U.S.’s first intent was always to help and keep the peace but Roosevelt always made sure to keep our military strong and other nations aware of its power. The military in fact was one of the stakeholders affected by the Big Stick policy. Roosevelt made the Navy a major sea power and made the army more modern and efficient. The Big Stick policy was used with the dealings of many other foreign countries, mainly ones south of the border such as Panama, Colombia, Cuba, and Dominican Republic. In 1903 the U.S. helped Panama with their revolution against Columbia.

The United States benefited from this because with Panama free from the control of Columbia they were free to make a treaty with Panama and make the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal was a big Geographical purpose for the U.S. With the Panama Canal built the trip from East to West was shortened from 14,000 miles to only 5,00 miles. This was important to Roosevelt because with acquiring Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam he wanted a shorter route for naval ships needing to pass between the two oceans. The canal is still used to this day for military water vessels.

Annotated Bibliography
Hart, Diane, et al. History Alive!: pursuing American ideals. Student ed. Palo Alto, CA: Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, 2008. Print.
This Source is a high school U.S. history textbook designed for use by 11th grade students. From this book i learned the basics of the Big Stick policy such as who created it and when it was created. I trust the information provided by this textbook because it was It produced and intended to be used across the nation by students and teachers. It is written from an american perspective by Diana Hart and many other scholars. “Roosevelt Theodore.” Britannica Elementary Encyclopedia. 2003. eLibrary. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.

“The Big Stick.” Boundless. Web. 18 Nov. 2013
This online History textbook book provides helpful and accurate information about American history. From this source i was able to acquire very useful information about the Big Stick policy. It provided information on the reasons it was created and the different foreign countries it was applied to. I trust this online textbook because it had several sources and helpful attachments on it like a study guide, practice quiz and digital flash cards. I also found it to be reliable because of how the information provided from it matched up with other reliable sources. It was produced to be on online textbook for the use of students and educators. Theodore Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. eLibrary. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

This website is a online replica of the Roosevelt Corollary written by President Roosevelt. I was able to learn the specifics of this corollary to the Monroe Doctrine and better understand the policy as a whole. The roosevelt corollary provided sections specifically on foreign policy, arbitration treaties, and policies toward other nations in the western hemisphere.

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