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A political cartoonist's commentary on Roosevelt's "big stick" policy.

The Roosevelt Corollary was a substantial amendment to the Monroe Doctrine by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. Roosevelt's extension of the Monroe Doctrine asserted a right of the United States to intervene to "stabilize" the economic affairs of small states in the Caribbean and Central America if they were unable to pay their international debts. The alternative was intervention by European powers, especially Britain and Germany, which loaned money to the countries that did not repay. The catalyst of the new policy was Germany's aggressiveness in the Venezuela Affair of 1902-03. (Marks 1979)

Contents

Overview

Mitchener and Weidenmier (2006) show the economic benefits to the small countries. The average debt price for countries under the US "sphere of influence" rose by 74% in response to the pronouncement and actions to make it credible. That is, their bonds rose 74% because buyers now believed they would be repaid. The increase in financial stability reduced internal conflict because political factions could not count on winning control of the national treasury if they won a civil war. The program spurred export growth and better fiscal management, but debt settlements were driven primarily by gunboat diplomacy.

Roosevelt's December 1904 Annual message to Congress declared:

All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States. Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power.

Shift to the "Good Neighbor" policy

Presidents cited the Roosevelt Corollary as justification for U.S. intervention in Cuba (1906–1909), Nicaragua (1909–1910, 1912–1925 and 1926–1933), Haiti (1915–1934), and the Dominican Republic (1916–1924).

In 1928, under President Calvin Coolidge, the Clark Memorandum stated that the U.S. did not have the right to intervene unless there was a threat by European powers, reversing the Roosevelt Corollary. In 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt further renounced interventionism and established his "Good Neighbor policy," leaving unchallenged the emergence of dictatorships like that of Batista in Cuba or Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.

Criticism

The argument made by Mitchener and Weidenmier (2006) in support of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine has been criticized on the grounds that it "represent[s] the one-sided approach that some scholars bring to the study of imperialistic and hegemonic interventions and also highlight how arguments for the general utility of imperialism are increasingly made and accepted." Christopher Coyne and Stephen Davies, in their article "Nineteen Public Bads of Empire, Nation Building, and the Like", argue that a foreign policy modeled on the Roosevelt Corollary leads to negative consequences both in national security terms and in terms of its effect on domestic politics.

Critics such as Noam Chomsky have argued that the Roosevelt Corollary was merely a more explicit imperialist threat, building on the Monroe Doctrine, and indicating that the U.S. would intervene not only in defense of South American states in the face of European imperialism, but would also use its muscle to obtain concessions and privileges for American corporations.[1]

The American response to the British and German blockade of Venezuelan ports in 1902 is an example of this dual-use of the Roosevelt Corollary. The ports had been blockaded in response to alleged attacks on European vessels and defaulting on European debts, and international arbitration was only accepted when word that more than 50 American warships were en route from a US naval base in Puerto Rico.[2] However, the U.S. would profit from this situation, later supporting the dictator Juan Vicente Gomez and pressuring Venezuela to bar British concessions. When Venezuela became the world's leading oil exporter in 1928, its oil industry was effectively under the control of American companies.[3]

Serge Ricard of the University of Paris III goes even farther, stating that the Roosevelt Corollary was not merely an addendum to the earlier Monroe Doctrine, through which the U.S. pledged to protect the Americas from European imperialist interventions. Rather, the Roosevelt Corollary was "an entirely new diplomatic tenet which epitomized his 'big stick' approach to foreign policy".[4] In other words, while the Monroe Doctrine sought to bar entry to the European empires, the Roosevelt Corollary announced America's intention to take their place.

See also

Bibliography

  • Coyne, C.J., Davies, S. (2007). Empire: Public Goods and Bads. Econ Journal Watch, 4(1), 3-45.
  • Glickman, Robert Jay. Norteamérica vis-à-vis Hispanoamérica: ¿opposición o asociación? Toronto: Canadian Academy of the Arts, 2005. ISBN 0-921907-09-5.
  • Marks III, Frederick W. Velvet on Iron: The Diplomacy of Theodore Roosevelt (1979)
  • Meiertöns, Heiko (2010) The Doctrines of US Security Policy - An Evaluation under International Law, Cambridge University Press, ISBN-13: 9780521766487.
  • Mellander, Gustavo A.(1971) The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing Formative Years. Daville,Ill.:Interstate Publishers. OCLC 138568.
  • Mellander, Gustavo A.; Nelly Maldonado Mellander (1999). Charles Edward Magoon: The Panama Years. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial Plaza Mayor. ISBN 1563281554. OCLC 42970390.
  • Nancy Mitchell. The Danger of Dreams: German and American Imperialism in Latin America (1999),
  • Mitchener, Kris James and Weidenmier, Marc. "Empire, Public Goods, and the Roosevelt Corollary." Journal of Economic History, 2005 65(3): 658-692. Issn: 0022-0507 Fulltext: in Swetswise
  • Ricard, Serge. "The Roosevelt Corollary." Presidential Studies 2006 36(1): 17-26. ISSN: 0360-4918 Fulltext: in Swetswise and Ingenta

References

  1. ^ Chomsky, Noam. Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004
  2. ^ Ferguson, Niall. Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire. New York: Penguin Publishing, 2004
  3. ^ Chomsky, Noam. Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004
  4. ^ Ricard, Serge. “The Roosevelt Corollary”. Presidential Studies Quarterly 36 (2006) 17-26 http://www.jstor.org/stable/27552743

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Message of the President of the United States communicated to the two houses of Congress at the beginning of the third session of the Fifty-eighth Congress.
by Theodore Roosevelt
Also known as "State of the Union Address". Given on 06 December 1904. (Full Text)

6 December 1904

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Nation continues to enjoy noteworthy prosperity. Such prosperity is of course primarily due to the high individual average of our citizenship, taken together with our great natural resources; but an important factor therein is the working of our long-continued governmental policies. The people have emphatically expressed their approval of the principles underlying these policies, and their desire that these principles be kept substantially unchanged, although of course applied in a progressive spirit to meet changing conditions.

....

Foreign Policy

In treating of our foreign policy and of the attitude that this great Nation should assume in the world at large, it is absolutely necessary to consider the Army and the Navy, and the Congress, through which the thought of the Nation finds its expression, should keep ever vividly in mind the fundamental fact that it is impossible to treat our foreign policy, whether this policy takes shape in the effort to secure justice for others or justice for ourselves, save as conditioned upon the attitude we are willing to take toward our Army, and especially toward our Navy. It is not merely unwise, it is contemptible, for a nation, as for an individual, to use high-sounding language to proclaim its purposes, or to take positions which are ridiculous if unsupported by potential force, and then to refuse to provide this force. If there is no intention of providing and keeping the force necessary to back up a strong attitude, then it is far better not to assume such an attitude.

The steady aim of this Nation, as of all enlightened nations, should be to strive to bring ever nearer the day when there shall prevail throughout the world the peace of justice. There are kinds of peace which are highly undesirable, which are in the long run as destructive as any war. Tyrants and oppressors have many times made a wilderness and called it peace. Many times peoples who were slothful or timid or shortsighted, who had been enervated by ease or by luxury, or misled by false teachings, have shrunk in unmanly fashion from doing duty that was stern and that needed self-sacrifice, and have sought to hide from their own minds their shortcomings, their ignoble motives, by calling them love of peace. The peace of tyrannous terror, the peace of craven weakness, the peace of injustice, all these should be shunned as we shun unrighteous war. The goal to set before us as a nation, the goal which should be set before all mankind, is the attainment of the peace of justice, of the peace which comes when each nation is not merely safe-guarded in its own rights, but scrupulously recognizes and performs its duty toward others. Generally peace tells for righteousness; but if there is conflict between the two, then our fealty is due first to the cause of righteousness. Unrighteous wars are common, and unrighteous peace is rare; but both should be shunned. The right of freedom and the responsibility for the exercise of that right can not be divorced. One of our great poets has well and finely said that freedom is not a gift that tarries long in the hands of cowards. Neither does it tarry long in the hands of those too slothful, too dishonest, or too unintelligent to exercise it. The eternal vigilance which is the price of liberty must be exercised, sometimes to guard against outside foes; although of course far more often to guard against our own selfish or thoughtless shortcomings.

If these self-evident truths are kept before us, and only if they are so kept before us, we shall have a clear idea of what our foreign policy in its larger aspects should be. It is our duty to remember that a nation has no more right to do injustice to another nation, strong or weak, than an individual has to do injustice to another individual; that the same moral law applies in one case as in the other. But we must also remember that it is as much the duty of the Nation to guard its own rights and its own interests as it is the duty of the individual so to do. Within the Nation the individual has now delegated this right to the State, that is, to the representative of all the individuals, and it is a maxim of the law that for every wrong there is a remedy. But in international law we have not advanced by any means as far as we have advanced in municipal law. There is as yet no judicial way of enforcing a right in international law. When one nation wrongs another or wrongs many others, there is no tribunal before which the wrongdoer can be brought. Either it is necessary supinely to acquiesce in the wrong, and thus put a premium upon brutality and aggression, or else it is necessary for the aggrieved nation valiantly to stand up for its rights. Until some method is devised by which there shall be a degree of international control over offending nations, it would be a wicked thing for the most civilized powers, for those with most sense of international obligations and with keenest and most generous appreciation of the difference between right and wrong, to disarm. If the great civilized nations of the present day should completely disarm, the result would mean an immediate recrudescence of barbarism in one form or another. Under any circumstances a sufficient armament would have to be kept up to serve the purposes of international police; and until international cohesion and the sense of international duties and rights are far more advanced than at present, a nation desirous both of securing respect for itself and of doing good to others must have a force adequate for the work which it feels is allotted to it as its part of the general world duty. Therefore it follows that a self-respecting, just, and far-seeing nation should on the one hand endeavor by every means to aid in the development of the various movements which tend to provide substitutes for war, which tend to render nations in their actions toward one another, and indeed toward their own peoples, more responsive to the general sentiment of humane and civilized mankind; and on the other hand that it should keep prepared, while scrupulously avoiding wrongdoing itself, to repel any wrong, and in exceptional cases to take action which in a more advanced stage of international relations would come under the head of the exercise of the international police. A great free people owes it to itself and to all mankind not to sink into helplessness before the powers of evil.

Arbitration Treaties--Second Hague Conference

We are in every way endeavoring to help on, with cordial good will, every movement which will tend to bring us into more friendly relations with the rest of mankind. In pursuance of this policy I shall shortly lay before the Senate treaties of arbitration with all powers which are willing to enter into these treaties with us. It is not possible at this period of the world’s development to agree to arbitrate all matters, but there are many matters of possible difference between us and other nations which can be thus arbitrated. Furthermore, at the request of the Interparliamentary Union, an eminent body composed of practical statesmen from all countries, I have asked the Powers to join with this Government in a second Hague conference, at which it is hoped that the work already so happily begun at The Hague may be carried some steps further toward completion. This carries out the desire expressed by the first Hague conference itself.

Policy Toward Other Nations of the Western Hemisphere

It is not true that the United States feels any land hunger or entertains any projects as regards the other nations of the Western Hemisphere save such as are for their welfare. All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States. Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power. If every country washed by the Caribbean Sea would show the progress in stable and just civilization which with the aid of the Platt Amendment Cuba has shown since our troops left the island, and which so many of the republics in both Americas are constantly and brilliantly showing, all question of interference by this Nation with their affairs would be at an end. Our interests and those of our southern neighbors are in reality identical. They have great natural riches, and if within their borders the reign of law and justice obtains, prosperity is sure to come to them. While they thus obey the primary laws of civilized society they may rest assured that they will be treated by us in a spirit of cordial and helpful sympathy. We would interfere with them only in the last resort, and then only if it became evident that their inability or unwillingness to do justice at home and abroad had violated the rights of the United States or had invited foreign aggression to the detriment of the entire body of American nations. It is a mere truism to say that every nation, whether in America or anywhere else, which desires to maintain its freedom, its independence, must ultimately realize that the right of such independence can not be separated from the responsibility of making good use of it.

In asserting the Monroe Doctrine, in taking such steps as we have taken in regard to Cuba, Venezuela, and Panama, and in endeavoring to circumscribe the theater of war in the Far East, and to secure the open door in China, we have acted in our own interest as well as in the interest of humanity at large. There are, however, cases in which, while our own interests are not greatly involved, strong appeal is made to our sympathies. Ordinarily it is very much wiser and more useful for us to concern ourselves with striving for our own moral and material betterment here at home than to concern ourselves with trying to better the condition of things in other nations. We have plenty of sins of our own to war against, and under ordinary circumstances we can do more for the general uplifting of humanity by striving with heart and soul to put a stop to civic corruption, to brutal lawlessness and violent race prejudices here at home than by passing resolutions and wrongdoing elsewhere. Nevertheless there are occasional crimes committed on so vast a scale and of such peculiar horror as to make us doubt whether it is not our manifest duty to endeavor at least to show our disapproval of the deed and our sympathy with those who have suffered by it. The cases must be extreme in which such a course is justifiable. There must be no effort made to remove the mote from our brother’s eye if we refuse to remove the beam from our own. But in extreme cases action may be justifiable and proper. What form the action shall take must depend upon the circumstances of the case; that is, upon the degree of the atrocity and upon our power to remedy it. The cases in which we could interfere by force of arms as we interfered to put a stop to intolerable conditions in Cuba are necessarily very few. Yet it is not to be expected that a people like ours, which in spite of certain very obvious shortcomings, nevertheless as a whole shows by its consistent practice its belief in the principles of civil and religious liberty and of orderly freedom, a people among whom even the worst crime, like the crime of lynching, is never more than sporadic, so that individuals and not classes are molested in their fundamental rights--it is inevitable that such a nation should desire eagerly to give expression to its horror on an occasion like that of the massacre of the Jews in Kishenef, or when it witnesses such systematic and long-extended cruelty and oppression as the cruelty and oppression of which the Armenians have been the victims, and which have won for them the indignant pity of the civilized world.








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