Big Stick Diplomacy

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cartoon
Big Stick Diplomacy - political cartoon
"the new diplomacy" is on Roosevelt's nightstick
He is depicted as a police officer excercising international police power

"Speak softly and carry a big stick,
you will go far"

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Part II

Later, the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declared that the United States would exercise "international police power" to get Latin American nations to honor their financial commitments. 

Americans began to be concerned when British, German, and Italian gunboats blockaded Venezuela’s ports in 1902 because the Venezuelan government defaulted on its debts to foreign bondholders. European intervention in Latin America would undermine America's dominance in the region.

As part of his annual address to Congress in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt stated that in keeping with the Monroe Doctrine the United States was justified in exercising "international police power" to put an end to chronic unrest or wrongdoing in the Western Hemisphere. This came to be called the Roosevelt Corollary. Ironically, the Monroe Doctrine's purpose had been to prevent intervention in the internal affairs of Latin American countries. The Roosevelt Corollary sought to justify such intervention whenever the American government thought it was necessary.

It wasn't long before the corollary was put into action. The Dominican Republic could not pay its debts and to protect American interests the United States took over the customs houses and established a customs receivership.

Roosevelt was fond of the African proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far." His foreign policy style has come to be called Big Stick diplomacy.

 

Part of Uncle Sam Plants the Flag: American Imperialism in Latin America exhibit