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Chapter Seventeen. Theodore Roosevelt and Canada: Alaska, the “Big Stick” and the North Atlantic Triangle, 1901–1909

Tony McCulloch


When Theodore Roosevelt came to write his autobiography after his audacious bid to recapture the Presidency in 1912 had failed, he said very little about Canada or the Alaska boundary dispute that had been such a controversial issue only a few years before. In contrast, he devoted a whole chapter to the Monroe Doctrine and the Panama Canal. In the foreword to his autobiography he wrote: “Justice among the nations of mankind, and the uplifting of humanity, can be brought about only by those strong and daring men who with wisdom love peace, but who love righteousness more than peace” ( Roosevelt 1913 , v). There can be little doubt that TR was referring here to his own outlook as President and, certainly, in his conduct during the Alaska boundary dispute as much as in regard to the Panama Canal, the President gave every indication of believing in the righteousness of the American position and in the need to back it up by force, if necessary. The significance of the Alaska boundary dispute that culminated in the settlement of October 1903 can easily be overlooked because of the drama of the Panama Canal issue that unfolded at about the same time. However, the two issues had much in common. Firstly, they were of great strategic importance to the United States, especially in terms of its position as both a Pacific and an Atlantic power. Secondly, they were both related to the Monroe ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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