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The Roosevelt Corollary

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 4, 2012

Promoting Economic Growth

In order to gain economic control over various Latin American nations, the United States frequently intervened in their affairs. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt issued the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, outlining U.S. policy toward Latin America:

The Roosevelt Corollary

. . under no circumstances will the United States use the Monroe Doctrine as a cloak for territorial aggression. We desire peace with all the world, but . . . There are, of course, limits to the wrongs which any self- respecting nation can endure. It is always possible that wrong actions toward this Nation, or toward citizens of this Nation . . . may result in our having to take action to protect our rights; but such action will not be taken with a view to territorial aggression, and it will be taken at all only with extreme reluctance and when it has become evident that every other resource has been exhausted.

Latin American nations frequently failed to repay bank loans to Europe. This gave the United States the excuse to send in troops to “protect” the Latin American nations against potential European military retaliation for nonpayment. These American armies of occupation, which were sent south without invitations or permission from the nations concerned, usually stayed in place for some years.

When Taft succeeded Roosevelt, U.S. policy shifted. Taft believed in so- called dollar diplomacy—in investing U.S. money in Latin American nations. This way, these nations would owe money to the United States, not to Europe. They would have trade relations with the United States. The United States would build businesses in these nations, and would hire workers there. Taft acted in the hope that such a policy would create greater trust and friendship between the Western nations.

Woodrow Wilson, who succeeded Taft, felt that politics, not economics, was the way to gain influence over Latin America. He used military force to aid rebellions and establish constitutional governments throughout Latin America.

Practice questions for these concepts can be found at: The US Becomes a World Power Practice Test

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