Theodore Roosevelt on horseback in the Dakota Territory in the 1880's, when he had moved west to live as a cattle rancher. (Library of Congress.)
Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life • POINT 1: DO NOT LIVE A LIFE OF IDELNESS; A STRENUOUS LIFE IS MUCH MORE REWARDING AND NOBLE. • I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph. • We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. • A mere life of ease is not in the end a very satisfactory life, and, above all, it is a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it for serious work in the world. • The man must be glad to do a man's work, to dare and endure and to labor; to keep himself, and those dependent on him. The woman must be the housewife, the helpmeet of the homemaker, the wise and fearless mother of many healthy children.
POINT 2: ONLY THROUGH STRIFE AND STRENUOUS AND DARING EFFORT WILL WE ACHIEVE NATIONAL GREATNESS. • …it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness.
Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life • POINT 3: WEAKNESS IS THE GREATEST OF CRIMES.OUR NATION HAS A RESPONSIBILTY TO BRING THE HALF-CAST NATIONS OF THE WORLD GOOD GOVERNMENT. IF WE DO THIS WE WILL BE GREAT, AND IF WE DO NOT WE WILL CEDE THE OPPORTUNITY TO “BOLDER AND STRONGER PEOPLES.” • We cannot, if we would, play the part of China, and be content to rot by inches in ignoble ease within our borders, taking no interest in what goes on beyond them, sunk in scrambling commercialism; heedless of higher life, the life of aspiration, of toil and risk, busying ourselves only with the wants of our bodies for the day, until suddenly we should find, beyond a shadow of question, what China has already found, that in this world the nation that has trained itself into a career of unwarlike and isolated ease is bound, in the end, to go down before other nations which have not lost the manly and adventurous qualities. If we are to be a really great people, we must strive in good faith to play a great part in the world. • The guns that thundered off Manila and Santiago left us echoes of glory, but they also left us a legacy of duty. If we drove out a mediaeval tyranny only to make room for savage anarchy, we had better not begun the task at all. It is worse than idle to say that we have no duty to perform, and can leave to their fates the islands we have conquered. Such a course would be a course of infamy. It would be followed at once by utter chaos in the wretched islands themselves. Some stronger, manlier power would have to step in and do the work, and we would have shown ourselves weaklings, unable to carry to successful completion the labors that great and high-spirited nations are eager to undertake.
Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life • POINT 3 (CONTINUED): WEAKNESS IS THE GREATEST OF CRIMES.OUR NATION HAS A RESPONSIBILTY TO BRING THE HALF-CAST NATIONS OF THE WORLD GOOD GOVERNMENT. IF WE DO THIS WE WILL BE GREAT, AND IF WE DO NOT WE WILL CEDE THE OPPORTUNITY TO “BOLDER AND STRONGER PEOPLES.” • The Philippines offer a yet graver problem. Their population includes half-caste and native Christians, warlike Moslems, and wild pagans. Many of their people are utterly unfit for self-government and show no signs of becoming fit. • Resistance [in the Philippines] must be stamped out. The first and all-important work to be done is to establish the supremacy of our flag. We must put down armed resistance before we can accomplish anything else, and there should be no parleying, no faltering, in dealing with our foe. As for those in our own country who encourage the foe, we can afford contemptuously to disregard them; but it must be remembered that their utterances are not saved from being treasonable merely by the fact that they are despicable. • [We must send out there only good and able men.... [They] must show the utmost tact and firmness, remembering that, we such people as those with whom we are to deal, weakness is the greatest of crimes, and that next to weakness comes lace of consideration for their principles and prejudices.
A history of U.S. intervention in Latin America by each of the major occurrences: 1823: The Monroe Doctrine declares Latin America to be in the United States' "sphere of influence." 1846: The U.S. causes war with Mexico and acquires half of its territory, including Texas and California. 1855: U.S. adventurer William Walker invades Nicaragua with a private army, declares himself president, and rules for 2 years. 1898: The U.S. declares war on Spain beginning the Spanish-American War, and as a result it gets Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Hawaii. 1901: With the Platt Amendment, the U.S. declares its rights to intervene in Cuban affairs. 1903: The U.S. encourages Panama's independence from Colombia in order to acquire the Panama Canal rights. 1905: The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declares the U.S. to be the policeman of the Caribbean; the Dominican Republic is placed under a customs receivership. 1912: U.S. Marines invade Nicaragua and occupy the country almost continuously until 1933. 1914: Mexican refusal to salute the U.S. flag provokes the shelling of Veracruz by a U.S. battleship and the capture of parts of the city by U.S. Marines. 1933: U.S. Marines finally leave Nicaragua, but are replaced by a well-trained and well-armed National Guard under the control of Anastasio Somoza. 1954: The CIA engineers the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Guatemala; 30 years of military dictatorship, repression, and violence follow. 1961: The U.S. attempts to overthrow the revolutionary Cuban government at the Bay of Pigs. 1965: Johnson sends 22,000 troops to the Dominican Republic to combat the constitutional forces trying to regain power. 1973: The CIA helps overthrow the democratic government of Allende in Chile in favor of a bloody dictatorship. 1981: The Reagan Administration begins the war against Nicaragua. 1983: The U.S. invades Grenada to take over a popular government. 1989: The U.S. invades Panama to arrest accused drug dealer Manual Noriega. 1990: The U.S. intervenes in the Nicaraguan election process through covert and overt means.
U.S. Intervention in the Middle East 1947-48: U.S. backs Palestine partition plan. Israel established. U.S. declines to press Israel to allow expelled Palestinians to return. 1949: CIA backs military coup deposing elected government of Syria. 1953: CIA helps overthrow the democratically‑elected Mossadeq government in Iran (which had nationalized the British oil company) leading to a quarter‑century of repressive and dictatorial rule by the Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi. 1956: U.S. cuts off promised funding for Aswan Dam in Egypt after Egypt receives Eastern bloc arms. 1956: Israel, Britain, and France invade Egypt. U.S. does not support invasion, but the involvement of its NATO allies severely diminishes Washington's reputation in the region. 1958: U.S. troops land in Lebanon to preserve "stability". early 1960s: U.S. unsuccessfully attempts assassination of Iraqi leader, Abdul Karim Qassim. 1963: U.S. supports coup by Iraqi Ba'ath party (soon to be headed by Saddam Hussein) and reportedly gives them names of communists to murder, which they do with vigor. 1967‑: U.S. blocks any effort in the Security Council to enforce SC Resolution 242, calling for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 war. 1970: Civil war between Jordan and PLO. Israel and U.S. discuss intervening on side of Jordan if Syria backs PLO. 1972: U.S. blocks Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat's efforts to reach a peace agreement with Israel. 1973: Airlifted U.S. military aid enables Israel to turn the tide in war with Syria and Egypt. 1973‑75: U.S. supports Kurdish rebels in Iraq. When Iran reaches an agreement with Iraq in 1975 and seals the border, Iraq slaughters Kurds and U.S. denies them refuge. Kissinger secretly explains that "covert action should not be confused with missionary work." 1975: U.S. vetoes Security Council resolution condemning Israeli attacks on Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.5 1978‑79: Iranians begin demonstrations against the Shah. U.S. tells Shah it supports him "without reservation" and urges him to act forcefully. Until the last minute, U.S. tries to organize military coup to save the Shah, but to no avail.6 1979‑88: U.S. begins covert aid to Mujahideen in Afghanistan six months before Soviet invasion in Dec. 1979.7 Over the next decade U.S. provides training and more than $3 billion in arms and aid. 1980‑88: Iran‑Iraq war. When Iraq invades Iran, the U.S. opposes any Security Council action to condemn the invasion. U.S. soon removes Iraq from its list of nations supporting terrorism and allows U.S. arms to be transferred to Iraq. At the same time, U.S. lets Israel provide arms to Iran and in 1985 U.S. provides arms directly (though secretly) to Iran. U.S. provides intelligence information to Iraq. Iraq uses chemical weapons in 1984; U.S. restores diplomatic relations with Iraq. 1987 U.S. sends its navy into the Persian Gulf, taking Iraq's side; an overly‑aggressive U.S. ship shoots down an Iranian civilian airliner, killing 290. 1981, 1986: U.S. holds military maneuvers off the coast of Libya in waters claimed by Libya with the clear purpose of provoking Qaddafi. In 1981, a Libyan plane fires a missile and U.S. shoots down two Libyan planes. In 1986, Libya fires missiles that land far from any target and U.S. attacks Libyan patrol boats, killing 72, and shore installations. When a bomb goes off in a Berlin nightclub, killing three, the U.S. charges that Qaddafi was behind it (possibly true) and conducts major bombing raids in Libya, killing dozens of civilians, including Qaddafi's adopted daughter.8 1982: U.S. gives "green light" to Israeli invasion of Lebanon,9 killing some 17 thousand civilians.10 U.S. chooses not to invoke its laws prohibiting Israeli use of U.S. weapons except in self‑defense. U.S. vetoes several Security Council resolutions condemning the invasion. 1983: U.S. troops sent to Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping force; intervene on one side of a civil war, including bombardment by USS New Jersey. Withdraw after suicide bombing of marine barracks. 1984: U.S.‑backed rebels in Afghanistan fire on civilian airliner.11 1987-92: U.S. arms used by Israel to repress first Palestinian Intifada. U.S. vetoes five Security Council resolution condemning Israeli repression. 1988: Saddam Hussein kills many thousands of his own Kurdish population and uses chemical weapons against them. The U.S. increases its economic ties to Iraq. 1988: U.S. vetoes 3 Security Council resolutions condemning continuing Israeli occupation of and repression in Lebanon. 1990‑91: U.S. rejects any diplomatic settlement of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (for example, rebuffing any attempt to link the two regional occupations, of Kuwait and of Palestine). U.S. leads international coalition in war against Iraq. Civilian infrastructure targeted.12 To promote "stability" U.S. refuses to aid post‑war uprisings by Shi'ites in the south and Kurds in the north, denying the rebels access to captured Iraqi weapons and refusing to prohibit Iraqi helicopter flights.13 1991‑: Devastating economic sanctions are imposed on Iraq. U.S. and Britain block all attempts to lift them. Hundreds of thousands die. Though Security Council had stated that sanctions were to be lifted once Saddam Hussein's programs to develop weapons of mass destruction were ended, Washington makes it known that the sanctions would remain as long as Saddam remains in power. Sanctions in fact strengthen Saddam's position. Asked about the horrendous human consequences of the sanctions, Madeleine Albright (U.S. ambassador to the UN and later Secretary of State) declares that "the price is worth it."14 1991-: U.S. forces permanently based in Saudi Arabia. 1993‑: U.S. launches missile attack on Iraq, claiming self‑defense against an alleged assassination attempt on former president Bush two months earlier.15 1998: U.S. and U.K. bomb Iraq over the issue of weapons inspections, even though Security Council is just then meeting to discuss the matter. 1998: U.S. destroys factory producing half of Sudan's pharmaceutical supply, claiming retaliation for attacks on U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and that factory was involved in chemical warfare. Evidence for the chemical warfare charge widely disputed.16 2000-: Israel uses U.S. arms in attempt to crush Palestinian uprising, killing hundreds of civilians.
The English philosopher Herbert Spencer relied on the theories of evolution to explain differences between the strong and the weak: successful individuals and races had competed better in the natural world and consequently evolved to higher states than did other less fit peoples. On the basis of this reasoning, Spencer and others justified the domination of European imperialists over subject peoples as the inevitable result of natural scientific principles. (B & Z, p. 960.) Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
The first step towards lightening the White Man’s Burden is through teaching the virtues of cleanliness. Pears’ Soap is a potent factor in brightening the dark corners of the earth as civilization advances, while amongst the cultured of all nations it holds the highest place--it is the ideal toilet soap.
The U.S.S. Maine Teddy Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill
Steam shovels digging the Panama Canal In 1878 Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French engineer who built the Suez Canal, began to dig a canal across the Isthmus of Panama, which was then part of Colombia. Tropical disease and engineering problems halted construction on the canal, but a French business (the New Panama Canal Company) still held the rights to the project. Roosevelt agreed to pay $40 million for the rights, and he began to negotiate with Colombia for control of the land. He offered $10 million for a fifty-mile strip across the isthmus. Colombia refused. "We were dealing with a government of irresponsible bandits," Roosevelt stormed. "I was prepared to . . . at once occupy the Isthmus anyhow, and proceed to dig the canal. But I deemed it likely that there would be a revolution in Panama soon." Teddy was right. The chief engineer of the New Panama Canal Company organized a local revolt. Roosevelt immediately sent the battleship Nashville and a detachment of marines to Panama to support the new government. The rebels gladly accepted Roosevelt's $10 million offer, and they gave the United States complete control of a ten-mile wide canal zone. Panama Canal: Culebra Cut, c. 1910-1920
Emilio Aguinaldo My nation cannot remain indifferent in view of such violent and aggressive seizure of a portion of its territory by a nation which has arrogated to itself the title: champion of oppressed nations. -- Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, 1898
Philippine insurgents were mostly from the Tagalo race which inhabited northern Luzon
Insurgent army surrendering to General Frederick D. Grant in the Philippine Islands
"War Photography." U.S. troops and Filipino women. The Philippine War was one of the nation's first conflicts covered by photo-journalists, who published their pictures in daily newspapers and sold them to the public as souvenirs.
American troops on the ramparts at Manila, c. 1898-1901
The U.S.-Filipino War claimed the lives of 4,200 American soldiers, fifteen thousand rebel troops, and some two hundred thousand Filipino civilians.
Night Clubs Prostitution
On January 1, 1959, abandoned by his American allies, Batista and his closest aids fled the country. Soon thereafter, Castro enters Havana victoriously.