[Get Answer] roosevelts corollary to the monroe doctrine and big stick policy


As Latin American states gained independence from European countries in the 19th century, it became important for Unites States of America to protect the interests of these countries and hence prevent a future recolonization. American supremacy in the region was also needed for the economic growth of United States. Monroe Doctrine and Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine aimed at non-colonization and non-intervention by Europe in Americas. Monroe Doctrine was established by President Monroe to prevent European intervention in Latin America by the use of military force. President Roosevelt realized that America must also lend economic support to weak economies of Latin America that European nations may invade.

For this purpose he introduced amendments in Monroe Doctrine called Roosevelt’s Corollary to Monroe Doctrine and known by slogan ‘Big Stick Policy’. America extended its economic support and offered peace negotiations backed by its trained and sound Naval Fleet. America’s Big Stick Policy helped the country show its power and superiority to the world and played an important role in establishing relations with Latin America, Pacific and Asia. This paper discusses the Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt’s Corollary, Big Stick Policy and consequences of the same on American relations with the World and its foreign policies.

Monroe Doctrine

President James Monroe introduced historical Monroe Doctrine in his December 2, 1823 address to Congress. The purpose of Monroe Doctrine was to prevent the recolonization of recently independent Latin American states by European powers. Most of the countries of Central and South America gained freedom by the year 1822. America acknowledged the liberty and a desire of self-rule of these states. However, the Holy Alliance of Russia, Prussia, and Austria posed a danger to the independence of these countries. It was now the time for America to stand by and extend its support to these states (Westward Expansion and Regional Differences, 2005).

The Holy Alliance was in favor of helping Spain regain its colonies. On the other hand, Britain and America was ready to defend the interests of Latin America in order to protect their own trade interests. In order to take the lead President Monroe of United States announced Monroe Doctrine in 1823 to oppose the European colonization of Latin America (Westward Expansion and Regional Differences, 2005). The doctrine aimed at non-colonization and non-intervention by European nations in the region of influence of America. America also wanted to extend it trade ties with Latin America and reduce the share of European merchants. America declared that Europe and America must restrict their interference to their own regions which in other cases may lead to serious consequences. America will not interfere in European affairs and same is expected of Europe, not to interfere in Americas. Monroe Doctrine was an important step in the history of American foreign policy and aided in the expansion of American influence over the world (Monroe Doctrine, 1823).

Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine

President Theodore Roosevelt made some changes in the Monroe doctrine and this policy came to be known as Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. In a way, this policy allowed US to act as the regional ‘policeman of Americas’. Roosevelt was afraid that Europeans might try to intervene and establish their control over countries that had huge international debts on them and were not able to pay back. Economic instability might allow countries like Germany and Britain to colonize weaken economies of Latin America. In order to protect these countries and primarily its own trade and economic interests in these countries, America offered to help them pay their debts and not allow Europeans to exploit them. One of the major events that made Roosevelt amend Monroe doctrine was the Venezuela crisis. Venezuela was not able to pay their international debts to European nations. Germany, Great Britain and Italy threatened to attack the state. Fearing that Germany might try to acquire Venezuela as its colony, America warned to use its naval fleet to attack German fleet. German forces withdrew. Roosevelt announced Roosevelt Corollary in his December 6, 1904 address to Congress. According to which America had the right to interfere in the domestic affairs of the countries under his influence in case of a financial crisis or instability (NationMaster – Encyclopedia: Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine).

America’s Big Stick Policy

Big Stick Policy is a slogan used to explain the foreign policy of President Roosevelt i.e. Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. Roosevelt picked this slogan from a proverb “Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far”. America became the policeman of the region after Roosevelt’s Corollary was announced. Naval forces of America were increased and America became the savior of weak countries to protect them against Europe. Stability of the State of Panama, Cuba and Dominican Republic are some the occasions of America’s Big Stick Policy. By “Big Stick”, it meant that America can interfere in the domestic affairs of the countries if they is any instability and threat to the law and order of the country. Foreign policies and negotiations forcing the use of force came under Big stick Policy. Main aim of America was to protect its economic investments on foreign lands and establish its supremacy in the world. Big stick policy meant large and well trained US navy to back negotiations and peace process (NationMaster – Encyclopedia: Big Stick Policy).

Consequences of Big Stick Policy on relations with Latin America, Pacific and Asia

            The establishment and recognition of the state of Panama and Panama Canal was the first and important implementation of America’s Big Stick policy. As the US proposal of Panama Canal was rejected by Colombia, US backed the Panama freedom movement and Panama became free from Columbia in 1903. US naval fleet prevented Columbia from regaining the state. Panama allowed US to built Panama Canal and control the entire Canal Zone.

            Venezuela crisis was another case of America’s Big Stick Diplomacy to protect the interests of a Latin American state from European imperialists. As Germany threatened to attack Venezuela in order to collect its international debts, US backed Venezuela with its naval fleet and negotiated with Germany to back off. Germany was forced to back down and Venezuela protected. President Roosevelt used his Big Stick Diplomacy to resolve the Alaskan-British Columbian boundary dispute. He used his troops to suppress Canada and gain control over the border.

            America used its naval fleet and hence the Big Stick Policy to prevent immigration of Japanese laborers to its land. Even though America negotiated with Japanese officials to prevent the immigration of Japanese, it also demonstrated its naval power to Japan. US “Great White Fleet” was sent to a world cruise in 1907. However Japan welcomed this fleet but understood American warning that it can resort to extreme measures if peace talks won’t lead to a conclusion. “Gentlemen’s Agreement” was signed later with Japan that lead a way into the immigration problem.

US also helped Dominican Republic pay its international debts and avert European invasion. U.S. Customs Receivership was formulated in the state and helped the government stabilize its financial condition. Cuba faced revolution in 1906, the Cuban government asked US to help suppress this agitation by extending its military support. Roosevelt sent military help and American troops remained in Cuba for three years to establish and maintain peace.

The Russo-Japanese War and the Moroccan crisis also proved to be important milestones for Roosevelt’s Big Stick Diplomacy and extension of US power in the world. Roosevelt mediated in Russian Japanese conflict and even won Nobel Prize for his efforts to resort peace in Asia. Roosevelt also mediated dispute between France and Germany over Morocco in 1905 (Tilchin, 2007).


America has established its supremacy in the world by peace and power. Roosevelt’s Corollary to Monroe Doctrine and Big Stick Policy are implemented by American Presidents even today to protect peace and economic concerns of the world. Since 19th century America has always played an important role in peace negotiations around the world backed by its world class military. In addition to this USA has protected its economic investments on international lands, taking necessary measures to help countries fighting unstable economic conditions. Till date American foreign policy is based on the proverb “Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far”.


Monroe Doctrine, 1823. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/jd/16321.htm.

NationMaster – Encyclopedia: Big Stick Policy. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Big-Stick-Policy

NationMaster – Encyclopedia: Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Roosevelt-Corollary-to-the-Monroe-Doctrine.

Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, 1904. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/ip/17660.htm

Tilchin, W.N. (2007). Biography of Theodore Roosevelt by Theodore Roosevelt Association. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/life/TRforeignpol.htm.

Westward Expansion and Regional Differences (2005). In Outline of U.S. History. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from http://www.america.gov/st/educ-english/2008/April/20080407113634eaifas0.4282495.html

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