Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography

By Henry F. Pringle | Go to book overview

Chapter X
THE JAPANESE MENACE

THEODORE ROOSEVELT'S jingoism faded when the responsibility for war became his own. It is true that he talked of enforcing America's claims in the Alaska boundary dispute with the bayonet, but he knew that a serious rupture with Great Britain on this issue was impossible. When, in the fall of 1906, the yellow peril appeared over the horizon of the Far East, the President made energetic efforts to conciliate Japan. His wrath toward American and Japanese jingoes in the last three years of his administration was as bitter as that of Charles W. Eliot and Carl Schurz, in 1898, toward the advocates of war with Spain.

President Roosevelt had been disturbed by the Pacific coast anti-Japanese agitation since June of 1905, when he had been apprehensive that it would block his efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War. The California legislature, he wrote Lodge that year, could not behave worse; the attitude in California was "as foolish as if conceived by the mind of a Hottentot."1 To his son Kermit, Roosevelt complained in February, 1907, that "the San Franciscans are howling and whooping and embarrassing me in every way and their manners are simply inexcusable. . . . We may have serious trouble ahead."2

Japanese hostility toward the United States developed before the California trouble became acute. It is unjust that Roosevelt, whose friendship for Japan had been profound, should have been criticized in 1905 for his part in settling the Russo-Japanese War. It is now agreed, although the facts were not clear at the time, that Japan had been worn to exhaustion by the struggle and grasped the opportunity when the chance of peace came. Her financial situation was desperate.3 She had destroyed the Russian navy, but the overwhelming man-power of her foe must in the end have thrown Japan back. When at the Portsmouth

____________________
1
Lodge, H. C., Op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 134-35.
2
Roosevelt to Kermit Roosevelt, Feb. 4, 1907.
3
Dennett, Tyler, Op. cit., pp. 297-98.

-398-

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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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