Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Differences between Taft and Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt's "Big Stick" policy was defined by the growing military might in America. Roosevelt increased the use of American military forces throughout the world to "police...surrounding premises" (Davidson 663). In contrast to the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, the Big Stick policy held that "across the globe, great powers would...check each other, much as big government held business in check at home" (Davidson 663). Roosevelt used military might to display the increased responsibilities of the American government. In 1907, Roosevelt sent the "Great White Fleet" on a world tour (Davidson 664).

William Taft's "Dollar Diplomacy" amounted to "substituting dollars for bullets" (Davidson 664). Taft advocated the use of private funds to promote economic stability. He believed that a robust world economy would mean peace for all nations involved. Unfortunately, Taft's efforts of Dollar Diplomacy came with a great deal of corruption and led to increased rivalries between nations.

They were both effective, I suppose, in the fact that the American economy would grow profoundly during the first few decades of the 1900s. Personally, however, I believe both policies were ineffective as they had numerous unintended consequences. Roosevelt's Big Stick policy would lead to problems with Cuba and other Latin American nations. In addition, the "Great White Fleet" "spurred Japanese admirals to expand their own navy," which would lead to increased conflicts (Davidson 664). At the same time, Taft's Dollar Diplomacy only made America more reliant on other countries - this effect would be felt during the Great Depression. In addition, Taft's "efforts to strengthen China with investments and trade only intensified rivalry with Japan," contributing to further conflicts between the U.S. and Japan in the future (Davidson 664).

Davidson, James, Brian Delay, Christine Heyrman, Mark Lytle, and Michael Stoff, Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic Volume II: Since 1865. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

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