U.S. Imperialism at the Beginning of the 20th Century

Big Stick During America’s big development in the course of the 20th century, as the U.S. became a greater, more aggressive world power, especially in the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” was the favorite motto of Roosevelt, especially in the Caribbean disputes involving creating a canal in Panama.

One of the primary reasons why U.S. imperialism was so effective against foreign forces was its robust military, which was out into effect as a revenge mechanism, which eventually won the full sovereignty of the Canal Zone and strategic and commercial advantages. Open door “American policy in Asia reflected the Open Door Policy formulated by the Secretary of State John Hay in 1899”- Out of Many. After a series of diplomatic tactics, Hay was able to gain approval for the Open Door policy that allowed all imperial powers access to trading and developing rights in China. With this policy, John Hay was able to open a passageway into China’s trading market.

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Dollar Diplomacy “Substitute dollars for bullets”- Out of Many. President William Taft, Roosevelt’s successor believed in his ability to replace Roosevelt’s tactic of heavy military involvement with a more subtle and efficient method of business investment. The primary belief held that political influence would also lead to U.S. trade and investment.

However, when the good intentions weren’t strong enough to produce effective result in the Caribbean and Asia, and required military support. The U.S. military was able to keep control on sections, such as Honduras and Nicaragua with their Marines, using both dollars and bullets. Later on when Taft gained more investment opportunities in China, in an attempt to “neutralize” Chinese industry, lead to the closed door in China and strained relations in Japan that would later break into a war thirty years later.

It seemed that only effective method that the U.S. could use to demonstrate their supremacy as a world power was through an aggressive imperialism through military aid and economic connections.