In 1904 the government of the Dominican Republic went bankrupt and
Theodore Roosevelt feared that Germany and other nations might intervene
forcibly to collect their debts. In response, Roosevelt issued the
Roosevelt Corollary (to the Monroe Doctrine) as part of an 1904 message
to Congress. Roosevelt and later U.S. presidents cited the corollary
to justify U.S. intervention in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua,
Mexico and Haiti. As you read, think about how this policy impacted
American relations with the nations of the Western Hemisphere. Also,
consider how this policy might be seen as an extension of the Monroe Doctrine.
It is not true that the United States feels any land hunger... as regards
the other nations of the Western Hemisphere save such as are for their
welfare. All that this country desires is to see the neighboring
countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people
conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. If
a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and
decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its
obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States.
Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening
of the ties of civilized society [however], may in America, as elsewhere,
ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western
Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may
force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such
wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power....
While [our Southern neighbors] obey the primary laws of civilized society
they may rest assured that they will be treated by us in a spirit of cordial
and helpful sympathy.... It is a mere truism to say that every nation,
whether in America or anywhere else, which desires to maintain its freedom,
its independence, must ultimately realize that the right of such independence
can not be separated from the responsibility of making good use of it.
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