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Objectives • Explain why and how the United States built the Panama Canal. • Discuss how presidents expanded upon the Monroe Doctrine to intervene in the affairs of Caribbean nations. • Describe how relations between the United States and Mexico became strained under President Wilson.
Terms and People • isthmus– a narrow strip of land joining two larger areas of land • William C. Gorgas– American expert on tropical diseases who helped reduce outbreaks of yellow fever and malaria in Panama • corollary– a logical extension of a doctrine or proposition
Terms and People (continued) • dollar diplomacy– a policy based on the idea that economic ties were the best way to expand American influence • Francisco Villa– Mexican rebel general pursued unsuccessfully by the U.S. in 1916
How did the United States use the Monroe Doctrine to justify intervention in Latin America? By 1902, the United States was a world power with a strong economy and overseas colonies. The nation’s leaders were eager to extend American power and influence, especially in Latin America.
After the Spanish-American War, the U.S. wanted a faster route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The trip around South America was 14,000 miles and took 2 months. President Roosevelt wanted to solve the problem by building a canal in Panama.
The Isthmus of Panama was an ideal location for the canal. Panama was a province of Columbia. Roosevelt offered Columbia $10 million plus $250,000 yearly rent. Columbia’s government refused. They wanted more money.
Roosevelt made a secret deal with the Panamanian people. He told them the U.S. would support Panama if it claimed independence. The Panamanians rebelled in 1903. The U.S. military provided support and recognized Panama’s independence. The U.S. paid Panama for permanent use and control of part of the isthmus.
In 1904, the U.S. began to build a canal across Panama. Building could not begin until yellow feverand malaria were controlled. They were spread by mosquitoes. William C. Gorgas told workers to drain swamps where mosquitoes lived. By 1906, Gorgas had reduced the incidence of both diseases in Panama.
Construction of the canal involved three major tasks. Finally, they had to erect the canal’s giant locks. First, they had to cut through a mountain. Then they had to dam a river.
The most challenging job was digging the 9-mile ditch called the Gaillard Cut. Thousands of laborers faced harsh conditions. Tropical sun Heavy rains Mudslides Over 6,000 workers died building the canal.
The Panama Canal opened on August 15, 1914. The Atlantic and the Pacific were joined.
Roosevelt wanted the United States to be the leader in the Western Hemisphere. In 1904, Roosevelt announced that the U.S. had the right to act as an international police power. This policy of “carrying a big stick” became known as the RooseveltCorollaryto the Monroe Doctrine.
President William Howard Taft favored a policy known as dollar diplomacy. Taft urged the U.S. to invest heavily in Asia and Latin America. He used the military to protect these investments. Many Latin Americans resented U.S. interference.
U.S. foreign policy asserted U.S. power in the western hemisphere. Monroe Doctrine (1823) Monroe asserts that the United States will not permit European nations to interfere with the free nations of Latin America. Roosevelt Corollary (1904) Theodore Roosevelt reinforces the Monroe Doctrine by claiming the right to use force to prevent intervention in Latin America. Dollar Diplomacy (1909) Taft’s policy aims to protect U.S. economic investments in Latin America and in other regions.
President Woodrow Wilson believed the U.S. should nurture democracy in the world. Wilson hoped Mexico’s 1911 revolution would lead to democracy. Wilson said the U.S. should “watch and wait.” In 1914, Mexico arrested U.S. sailors in a minor incident. Wilson sent in the navy. Over 100 Mexicans were killed.
Mexican rebel general Francisco “Pancho” Villa also drew Wilson into Mexican affairs. In 1916, Villa’s rebels raided the town of Columbus, killing 18 Americans. Wilson sent General Pershing to capture Villa, but he was unsuccessful.
Between 1898 and 1916 the United States began to extend its sphere of influence in the Caribbean.
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