Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography

By Henry F. Pringle | Go to book overview

Chapter V
SETTING FOR A MELODRAMA

THE story of Panama is replete with heroes and villains. A canal was to be built which would fulfill a dream of centuries and connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In due time it was finished and ships, by the grace of men with slide rules and logarithm tables, steamed from sea to sea. Every step toward realization, wrote Theodore Roosevelt "was taken with the utmost care . . . was carried out with the highest, finest, and nicest standards of public and governmental ethics."1M. Philippe Bunau-Varilla, who played an epic part, said that Reason struggled against Passion and finally triumphed in a mighty war for "Truth, Justice, and National Interest."2

Self-hypnosis had again distorted Roosevelt's memory when he praised the ethics whereby the United States effected the preliminaries of the Panama Canal. Hypnosis was all the easier because, as President, he viewed this project as justification for the new Monroe Doctrine. Its construction and defense dominated his Latin-American policy. Roosevelt's belief in the vital need for canal dated from his first interest in foreign affairs and grew stronger in direct proportion to his imperialistic convictions. "I do wish," he said in October, 1894, "our Republicans would . . . annex Hawaii and build an oceanic canal."3

His interest, like that of his fellow citizens, was greatly intensified by the hurried voyage of the U.S.S. Oregon around the Horn to join the fleet off Cuba in the Spanish War. Until then a canal had been commendable, but now it was essential. Roosevelt exiled from national affairs as governor of New York but nursing his hopes for greater glory, considered it in terms of national defense, not economic importance. He had opposed the first Hay-Pauncefote Treaty with Great Britain because it decreed that a canal built by the United States could not be fortified. This, Roosevelt declared, "strengthens against us every nation whose

____________________
1
Outlook, Oct. 7, 1911.
2
Bunau-Varilla Philippe, Panama, the Creation, Destruction, and Resurrection, pp. 93-94.
3
Lodge H. C., Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 139.

-301-

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Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Book I 1
  • Chapter I - Teedie 3
  • Chapter II - Growth 16
  • Chapter III - Thou Goddess, Indifference! 26
  • Chapter IV - Alice Lee 40
  • Chapter V - Butter and Jam 54
  • Chapter VI - I Rose like a Rocket 65
  • Chapter VII - Practical Politician 79
  • Chapter VIII - Gentleman Cowhand 92
  • Chapter IX - The Years Between 106
  • Chapter X - A Job Once More 120
  • Chapter XI - Sword of Righteousness 132
  • Chapter XII - The Nation in Peril 152
  • Chapter XIII - Lord of the Navy 165
  • Chapter XIV - A Bully Fight 181
  • Chapter XV - Reward for a Hero 201
  • Chapter XVI - Yearnings and Consummation 216
  • Book II 235
  • Chapter I - Middle of the Road 237
  • Chapter II - The First Attack 251
  • Chapter III - The Rights of Labor 264
  • Chapter IV - The Big Stick 279
  • Chapter V - Setting for a Melodrama 301
  • Chapter VI - I Took Panama 315
  • Chapter VII - Trimming Sail 339
  • Chapter VIII - The Imperial Years Begin 359
  • Chapter IX - Imperial Years 372
  • Chapter X - The Japanese Menace 398
  • Chapter XI - Malefactors of Great Wealth 413
  • Chapter XII - The Wicked Speculators 432
  • Chaper XIII - Substantial Justice 446
  • Chapter XIV - Handing Down the Law 465
  • Chapter XV - End of the Reign 476
  • Book III 495
  • Chapter I - The First Error 497
  • Chapter II - Among the Kings 508
  • Chapter III - Return Triumphant 525
  • Chapter IV - True Democracy 540
  • Chapter V - Battling for the Lord 553
  • Chapter VI - Drums of War 572
  • Chapter VII - The Final Blow 589
  • Appendix 605
  • Bibliography 607
  • Index 613
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