Term Paper Resource Guide to Twentieth-Century United States History

By Robert Muccigrosso; Ron Blazek et al. | Go to book overview

4.

Panama Canal
A long-standing desire for an interoceanic canal accelerated when the United States expanded its territories and interests in the Pacific at the end of the nineteenth century. Two treaties with Great Britain gave the United States the exclusive right to build and fortify such a canal, and Panama, a province of Colombia, was selected over Nicaragua as the site. Colombia refused to ratify the necessary treaty, but Panamanians, with the approval and connivance of President Theodore Roosevelt, successfully rebelled in late 1903 and negotiated the treaty that the United States had sought. An extraordinary feat of engineering, the Panama Canal opened to commercial traffic in 1914.
Suggestions for Term Papers
1. Why was the United States interested in an interoceanic canal, and why did it choose Panama as its site?
2. Analyze President Roosevelt’s role in the acquisition of the canal.
3. Discuss the difficulties facing the builders of the canal.
4. Explain the long-range consequences of American acquisition and ownership of the canal on Panama.
5. Discuss the effects the canal had on U.S. military and strategic policies.

Suggested Sources: See entry 90 for related items.


GENERAL SOURCES

Collin, Richard H. Theodore Roosevelt’s Caribbean: The Panama Canal, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Latin American Context. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990. Thought-provoking examination of Roosevelt’s Latin American policies.

Lael, Richard L. Arrogant Diplomacy: U.S. Policy toward Colombia, 1903–1922. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1987. U.S. policy toward Colombia during and after the Panamanian crisis.

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