What was the intent of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine? What was its impact on the role of the US in the Western Hemisphere?
The Monroe Doctrine, named after President James Monroe, was implemented in order to continue to keep free the newly independent areas of Latin America from European interference. The Monroe Doctrine allowed the United States to maintain its own influence in the area and stated that any acts of aggression in North or South America by European powers would be grounds for intervention by the United States.
The United States was seeking power in the Caribbean in order to have rapid access to anywhere in the world via the ocean, as part of Roosevelt’s “speak softly and carry a big stick” persona of the United States Navy. To achieve this, Roosevelt had Congress approve an agreement to purchase a the Panama Canal for 10 million dollars and future payments of 250,000 dollars per year, however, this deal was graciously rejected by the Colombian government.
The rejection did not sit well with Roosevelt, who felt the Panama Canal was essential to future operations of the United States (Henretta, Edwards, & Self, 2012 p. 640).
Roosevelt initially thought about a military operation to seize Panama from the government, but thought this action would be looked at as unfavorable by many parties; Roosevelt would instead use a more subtle method of aggression. The United States covertly funded and supported an independent movement against the Colombian government, which would prove to be successful.
After the Colombian government was overthrown, the United States officially recognized the government of Panama. Roosevelt would use the regions instability to enact and enforce the Roosevelt Corollary (Henretta, Edwards, & Self, 2012 p. 640).
Roosevelt’s Corollary took the notion that the United States would protect Latin American countries and their independence from European aggression and dropped it in favor for a policy that allowed the United States to regulate affairs throughout the Caribbean. The Roosevelt Corollary was in no way considered a treaty, but an act of aggression that allowed the United States to intervene in affairs whenever they saw fit. These acts allows the United States to fortify its military position in might in the western hemisphere (Henretta, Edwards, & Self, 2012 p. 640).