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Throughout most of the 's Nicaragua was the chief center of efforts to build such a canal because a large lake was located in the center of the country. In Congress authorized a Commission to survey possible canal routes. A Nicaraguan route was recommended but turned down. In , Congress gave Roosevelt permission to accept the French offer to purchase the rights to a canal through Panama, but only if Colombia would be willing to give the United States permanent use of the canal. Agreement could not be reached between the Colombian legislature and the United States over financial remuneration. By prospects for a canal seemed especially dim.

Then in November of that year Panamanian rebels, prodded by French and American offers of help, declared independence from Colombia. Three days later the United States recognized the Republic of Panama and the dream of an isthmian canal became a reality. In , Roosevelt became the first president to travel outside of the United States while in office.

He journeyed to Panama to inspect the progress and even worked a steam shovel to dig part of the canal. The official opening of the canal occurred on August 15, , over five years after TR had left office. During his first administration Roosevelt made notable contributions to conservation. He told congress that, "the forest and water problems are perhaps the most vital internal problems of the United States. Fifty-one bird sanctuaries were also established during his presidency.

Roosevelt won by the largest popular vote majority ever received by any presidential candidate.

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Friction between Russia and Japan had been escalating for decades. In it erupted into all-out war. Roosevelt watched the developments very closely, knowing that a continuation of the hostilities could jeopardize the balance of power in the Pacific and bring other nations into the conflict. While speaking to John Hay, then Secretary of State, Roosevelt remarked, "It's bad enough that the Russians and Japanese are slaughtering each other, but we can't stand aside when a continuation of the war might involve every other major country.

Afterward, the delegates sailed in separate ships to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to hammer out the treaty details.

The Debate Behind U.S. Intervention in World War II

TR remained at Sagamore Hill and stayed in touch with negotiations via the telephone. In , for his actions, Roosevelt became the first American president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Although Roosevelt had helped end the war, not all involved were satisfied. Native Japanese and Japanese-Americans were unhappy with the outcome of the war. Resentment grew stronger when the San Francisco School Board decided to segregate children of Japanese descent. Fearing the outcome of the segregation, Roosevelt acted to avert further strain by convincing the San Francisco School Board to end its segregation.

A "Gentlemen's Agreement" with Japan followed. In essence, Roosevelt promised that the segregation would end if Japan agreed to severely limit emigration to the United States. The two nations also pledged not to seek future territorial gains in the Pacific. Theodore Roosevelt's second administration was also marked by political, social and industrial reforms.

In he demanded that Congress pass the Hepburn Railway Act in the hope that it would end railway rebates which had been putting competitive shippers out of business. Although the act did not end rebates, it was a step in the right direction. In , Upton Sinclair's The Jungle , a descriptive novel of unsanitary conditions in meatpacking houses, stirred Roosevelt to order an investigation of that industry. The shocking report that he received moved him to threaten Congress. He warned congress that he would publish the report unless Congress took immediate action.

Recalling the experiences of his term as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt felt it wise to create a strong Navy. In his pride in the Navy and his concern about the balance of power between nations prompted him to send a fleet of sixteen warships on a world tour. The ships were painted white to symbolize peace, and eventually they became known as the "Great White Fleet. During his two terms as president, Roosevelt had a Republican Congress. For the most part the representatives were old-line conservatives who were not strongly in favor of Roosevelt's reformist ideas.

However, because Roosevelt was a popular President with the people, they were often compelled to do as he wished. In most cases TR got what he wanted. After his election in , Roosevelt had declared that "under no circumstances" would he run for President in a statement he later regretted. Roosevelt's statement gave conservative Republicans further incentive to resist Roosevelt's progressive policies. Roosevelt was undaunted. He fought even harder for his reforms, but received little congressional support.

In Roosevelt selected William Howard Taft to be his successor. He believed Taft would continue his reform policies. During the years following the presidency, Roosevelt returned to his childhood passion for natural history. In March of , Theodore and his son Kermit sailed for Africa to go on a hunting safari of scientific exploration and study. He and his party successfully brought back hundreds of specimens and trophies for museums and for himself. Upon his return to the United States in , Roosevelt became dissatisfied with Taft's policies. Like Roosevelt in , Taft had promised to continue his predecessor's policies, but also like Roosevelt, Taft was his own man and had his own ideas.

The progressive branch of the Republican Party felt betrayed by Taft and sought out Roosevelt as a mediator.

Theodore Roosevelt | Roosevelt

Roosevelt felt compelled to heal the rift, but he was too closely identified with the progressives to gain support of the conservatives. In true Roosevelt fashion, he led the progressives on a "bull moose" campaign under the policy of "New Nationalism. Roosevelt was nominated as the presidential candidate for the new party. During the presidential campaign, Roosevelt was the target of an attempted assassination on October 14, Roosevelt's spectacle case and folded speech located in his vest pocket deflected the bullet and probably saved his life.

In spite of the bullet lodged in his chest, he went ahead with his speech. In only two weeks Roosevelt was fully recovered from the wound. Roosevelt's popularity and the headlines he made did not help his party. In the polls, Roosevelt finished second and Taft a distant third.

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In Roosevelt and Kermit took part in an exploratory mission into the interior of Brazil to explore an uncharted river. While in Brazil, TR contracted jungle fever, injured his leg and lost sixty pounds. He returned weak and looking much older than his fifty-six years. Yet Roosevelt was undaunted. The arrival of World War I found Roosevelt calling for America to prepare itself against a "strong, ruthless, ambitious, militaristic Germany.

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Roosevelt even offered to raise a division of volunteer troops to fight in France as he had done in Wilson refused the request. Theodore Roosevelt's four sons served in Europe. On July 16, , his youngest son, Quentin, was killed in an air battle over France with a German pilot. Two other sons were wounded in battle.

Though Roosevelt had stressed upon his sons the importance of fighting for one's country, he himself never fully recovered from Quentin's death. Early in , TR underwent an operation to remove abscesses from his thigh and ears, and as a result he lost the hearing in his left ear. At that time Roosevelt revealed that he had been blind in his left eye since He lost the sight in that eye while boxing with a military aide in the White House.

On January 6, , Theodore Roosevelt died from a blood clot that had lodged in his heart. As he had requested, Roosevelt was buried in Oyster Bay without any fanfare or eulogy. The Culture of Defeat. Wolfgang Schivelbusch. The Politics of History. Howard Zinn. Over Here. David M. Elizabeth Borgwardt. Interpretations of American History, 6th Ed, Vol. Gerald N. America, Empire of Liberty.

David Reynolds. On Dupont Circle. James Srodes. The Palmer Raids and the Red Scare: Nick Shepley. Brian E. David Fromkin. The Revolution of Andre M. Alexander Berkman. The American Way of Strategy. Michael Lind.