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Foreign Principals of Theodore Roosevelt

United States of America has gone a number of transformations and revolutions to be where it is today. Some of these were brought about by the 26th president of the United States, Theodore D. Roosevelt who took power after the assassination of President McKinley. Theodore also known to others as T. R. was the leader of the republican and the progressive party. He was famous due to his diverse personality, interest and achievements. He was a historian, soldier, author, naturalist, hunter among others.

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The foreign policy which can be termed as the goals that the officials of the nation seek to obtain abroad, the values that give rise to those objectives as well as ways used to attain them were some of the achievements of Theodore D. Roosevelt. He was an imperialist who to him meant national power and viewed it as an accelerator to civilization and a tool to better human condition. He believed having destroyed the sovereignty of the Spanish; they needed to ensure protection of them was guaranteed. President Roosevelt’s foreign policy aspirations included building and bringing together between British Empire and United States, establishing supremacy in the Caribbean region, expanding international role played by United States, contribution to peaceful and stable co-existence among great powers of the world and contributing towards civilization (Harmatta 2004, 501).1

As note by Harmattan (2004 pg 615)1 the building and intensification of Anglo-American exceptional affiliation was a cornerstone of Rooseveltian leadership. His democratic leadership style led to resolution of the complicated Alaskan boundary dispute. This helped settle the major trouble between United States and the British Empire that had lasted for many years. The U.S.-British Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of November 1901 cleared and enabled United States to construct the trans-isthmian canal. The United States and Great Britain agreed to maintain free and uninterrupted passage across the Isthmus, and, further, that neither country should “obtain or maintain to itself any control over the said ship-canal. Sensitive of the intentional call for a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific, Roosevelt ensured the building of the Panama Canal. To further extend his policies, around 1905 president Roosevelt established United States custom receivership with Dominican Republic and agreed the terms of protocol. It worked very well, enabling the Caribbean nation to pay back amount outstanding owed to foreigners and to finance operations of the government (Lewis, 1991 pg 192).2

President Roosevelt worked towards civilization which he achieved through encouraging orderly development, though questionable on how the United States acquired the Panama Canal Zone. His goals to expand international role was exhibited though contributions towards peaceful and good/ stable relations between the countries of great powers. This can be well illustrated through his mediation between he Russo-Japanese War which lead to the formation of treaty and which restored Asian balance of power, earning him the Nobel peace prize. He also helped resolve the Moroccan crisis between French and Germany. (Lewis 1991, 435-453).2

The work of Theodore Roosevelt as a mediator helped to strengthen the Anglo-American relationships. He managed to achieve most of the aforementioned foreign policy through reasoned persuasion, political skills and intelligence coupled with persistence among others. Indeed he brought a number of changes during his tenure which some are being used up to today with a number of people describing his leadership to be good and with a realistic approach.


  1. Harmattan, lewa Saul. Roosevelt’s Foreign Policy.Indianapolis, IN: QUE, 2004.
  2. Lewis, James Donald.Theodore Roosevelt’s Latin American Policy. New York: Macmillan, 1991.

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