Teddy Roosevelt

.. . If he sided with the coal miners, he could further alienate the big business men whom he would need to gain the presidency of his own accord in 1904. Yet, with coal being the main source of fuel in the nation at that time, to let it go on could shut down the nation economically and have many Americans suffering from the cold if the strike dragged on into the winter. Roosevelt decided to try to bring the two parties together, with himself being the mediator.

After this first meeting, Roosevelt quickly realized that John Mitchell was the level headed one, and that the coal operators were pig headed and arrogant. The talks quickly broke down, and Roosevelt knew that he must come up with an alternative plan to get the owners to come to their senses. As luck would have it, one of the operators wrote a letter, which was published, in which he described the operators of the mines as ordained by God to manage the mines in the way they saw fit. Being thus ordained by God, the miners should accept the terms of the operators as the very will of God. This letter which mysteriously came into print served to outrage the public against the operators. Roosevelt also laid plans with General J.M.

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Schofield to be prepared to take over and run the mines should the need arise. These plans were also mysteriously leaked to the operators, and they instantly became far more willing to negotiate. The operators of the mines thus agreed to binding arbitration by a panel of experts. Here also there was a sticking point. The operators wished to have the panel stacked in their favor. The minors as expected rejected the panel as presented by the operators, but came back with an alternative panel.

This offer the operators flatly refused. After pushing the operators very hard, Roosevelt finally got a panel, which was satisfactory to both sides and the crisis was averted. With the Congressional elections of 1902 quickly approaching Roosevelt would once again take to the stump to further the cause of the Republican Party. Not only would the election of Republicans make his work as President easier, it would also indirectly show if the people of the nation were behind his policies as President. A poor showing by Republicans would no doubt be construed as a vote against Roosevelt.

This campaign however almost proved to be fatal for the President. On September 3, 1902 while traveling in a carriage with the Governor of Massachusetts and his private secretary George Cortelyou, the carraige was struck by an out-of-control trolley car. The impact instantly killed on of Roosevelt’s bodyguards, and badly injured Roosevelt’s leg. After a short rest at Oyster Bay, he once again attempted to take to the campaign trail. The leg quickly became infected, and emergency surgery became necessary to save his leg, and possibly his life. After the surgery, Roosevelt was forced to rest and confined to a wheelchair for several weeks.

The Big Stick Before the end of 1902 another international crisis would face Roosevelt and the nation. Germany was a nation on the rise, and looking to expand their commercial base. Germany had thus opened a line of credit to several of the South American countries. The problem arose when Venezuela, under the leadership of Cipriano Castro, decided not to pay back the loans owed to Germany, using the loans as a rallying cry for national unity. The Germans wanting their money with the help of the British, who were also owed money, set up a blockade around Venezuela. Roosevelt believed that the rebellious South American country deserved a good spanking, but the thought of the Germans gaining a foothold in South America gave Roosevelt cause for alarm. Under the Monroe Doctrine, the United States had set the Americas off limits to the Europeans and Roosevelt with all of his national pride could not back down to the European intervention.

Kaiser Wilhelm III intended to send German troops ashore to occupy the land temporarily until the Venezuela came up with the money. Roosevelt did not trust the Kaiser and recommended that the Germans resolve the problem through arbitration. The Germans refused arbitration and insisted that the occupation would only be temporary. What temporary meant was any one’s guess, but Roosevelt didn’t intend to find out. Roosevelt sent word to Admiral Dewey to assemble the battle fleet for ‘maneuvers’ near Puerto Rico and to be ready at a moments notice for Venezuela.

Roosevelt then informed the German ambassador, Theodor von Hollenben, that if the Germans did not seek arbitration with Venezuela that he would send in the American fleet to insure that the Germans would not occupy Venezuela. The ambassador then asked Roosevelt if he were aware of the consequences of that move, with Roosevelt assuring him that he was. A week passed with no response. When finally the ambassador met again with Roosevelt their conversation came to a close with no comment on the response from Germany on Roosevelt’s statement. When Roosevelt asked the ambassador if he had a response from his government the von Hollenben said that he did not.

Roosevelt then informed him that in that case he would step up the time table twenty-four hours from his original schedule and occupy Venezuela with the American fleet. This certainly got the ambassador’s attention and shortly before the deadline a response came from the Kaiser that indeed they would seek arbitration in the Venezuela matter. The arbitration occurred at the Hague and once again a national conflict was avoided by Roosevelt’s use of the ‘Big Stick.’ Panama Canal In 1903 Roosevelt turned his attention to the Isthmian Canal. The main issue was which route would the canal take. One proposed route was through Panama and the other through Nicaragua. Panama at the time was under the government control of Colombia. Over the past several decades, however, the Panamanians had revolted scores of times seeking their independence from Colombia.

The Colombians over the last few years only maintained control through the help of the U.S. fleet. With the debate raging in the U.S. over which site to choose, both countries were courting the U.S. to choose their site. A volcano in Nicaragua may have been the final straw in making the choice for Panama.

At the Pan-American Congress in Mexico the Colombian delegate signed the Hay-Herran Treaty to insure that Panama would be the site. The Republic of Colombia was under the control of a dictator, J.M. Maroquin, who had seized power in July of 1900. At the time he had been elected Vice-President, but assumed office when he had the President M. A.

Sanclamente killed. In 1903 the French Panama Company had rights to build a canal through Panama. The U.S., however, prior to the Hay-Herran Treaty worked with the French Panama Company and signed the Hay-Pauncefote treaty in order to get rights to build the canal. The U.S. Hay-Herran treaty offered the payment of $250,000 a year plus a $10 million dollar signing bonus to give the U.S. control of a six mile wide strip of land for ninety-nine years.

This treaty would need to be ratified by both countries before the digging could begin. To Roosevelt’s surprise the Colombian government rejected the treaty. It was believed that Maroquin wanted to try to squeeze more money from the Americans and thus created a puppet Congress to reject the legislation. The puppet Congress suggested that the U.S. wait another year before the Congress would reconvene and possibly ratify the treaty.

The Colombians wanted to wait another year, because by that time the French Panama Company would have to forfeit its rights to build the canal, thus leaving more money for the government of Colombia. Roosevelt was outraged by this and began to think of other plans. The Panamanians still seeking there independence from Colombia saw a golden opportunity in the Colombian rejection of the treaty. Roosevelt received information that the Panamanians might again be ready to revolt. Once again U.S.

warships were sent to Panama only this time they were sent to protect the insurgents. Panama declared its independence and the United States immediately recognized their independence. A treaty was signed with Panama and the U.S. began construction of the Panama Canal. In November of 1906 Roosevelt would break precedence by going to Panama to inspect the work of the canal and thus become the first sitting President to leave American soil.

The 1904 election was very important to Roosevelt. His ascent to the Presidency was through the death of McKinley, and he desperately wanted to win the prize of his own accord. His Democratic counterpart was New York jurist Alton Parker. Parker and the Democrats attacked the Republicans saying that they were shaking down the large trusts to get the financial backing they needed to carry on the campaign. In the end the election did not wind up being close as Roosevelt received 7.6 million votes to Parker’s 5.1 million. In the electoral college Parker only received 140 votes to Roosevelt’s 336.

The most shocking thing about the entire election was TR’s statement on election night that he would not run for a third term. The statement would come back to haunt him in later years, but in 1908 he remained true to his promise. In 1904 a war broke out between Japan and Russia. The Japanese defeated the Russians early using a sneak attack (the same approach they would use years later against the Americans in World War II). The Japanese continued to win victory after victory, but the Russians were not seeking peace. They instead counted on their Baltic battle fleet to deliver a decisive blow to the Japanese fleet. A decisive blow was given, but not by the Russians.

The Japanese fleet annihilated this Russian force in May of 1905. The Japanese for their part had won significant gains and sought a quick peace so as not to bring on the ire of the rest of the European nations. The Russians after the defeat of their Baltic fleet understood they would not be able to win back what was already lost. Both sides looked for peace, but the terms of that peace would be the sticking point. The Japanese, not wanting to look like they were looking for peace, quietly came to Roosevelt asking him to approach the Russians about a peace. The czar also not wanting to appear to be seeking peace, also agreed to come to the table.

Both sides wanting the peace table to be in Washington and not at the Hague with Roosevelt himself as the mediator. Because of the heat in Washington during the summer months, Roosevelt had the negotiations moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The primary problem was that each side had over zealous expectations as to what to get out of the peace. The Russians for their part did not want to pay any indemnity to the Japanese even though a defeat of that nature would have required it. The Japanese had promised their people at home a large indemnity and it would be difficult for them to save face with their people returning home with less. Roosevelt worked both sides trying to get them closer together.

The Japanese accepted Roosevelt’s suggestion to change the terms of the agreement from indemnity to a payment for the transfer of control of lands to ease the language and help the czar safe face, but the Russians would have nothing to do with this. Nicolas had fears of revolution from his own people, and felt that showing any weakness toward the Japanese would push the revolutionaries over the edge. Roosevelt also worked on the Japanese by insisting that holding up the peace negotiations over an indemnity might cost them more in the long run due to the expense of the war. Roosevelt also appealed to the Japanese high moral standard in the advent of them being a world leader to bring peace. At the same time, Roosevelt appealed to the British, who had much closer ties to Japan, to put pressure on the Japanese. Roosevelt appealed to the German Kaiser to speak with the czar in order to get the czar to move on the issues.

Roosevelt hoped that the Kaiser, whom the czar trusted, would be far more convincing than anything which came from Washington, of whom the czar did not trust. Finally the Japanese agreed to drop all thoughts of receiving any indemnity, realizing that Roosevelt was right that it would in the long run cost them more to continue the war. In the end, Roosevelt persevered and brought peace to the region. For his part in the Russo-Japanese Treaty Roosevelt would win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1906, becoming the first American to win any Nobel Prize. American History Essays.