October 1960 | Volume 11, Issue 6
ROOSEVELT, Theodore (1858-1919), American statesman, President of the United States in 1901-09, belonged to the Republican party. He was Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897-98, and Governor of New York in 1899-1900. In 1901 he became Vice President of the United States and, after the assassination of President McKinley in September 1901, President of the United States. In 1904 he was elected to the Presidency. Roosevelt was one of the most influential representatives of the United States monopolies (primarily of the Morgan financial oligarchy), and one of the ideologists of American imperialism. He was one of those who were mostly responsible for the imperialistic Spanish-American War which the United States unleashed in 1898. He conducted an armament-race policy. While voicing antitrust slogans for demagogic reasons, Roosevelt in fact conducted a policy which made possible the expansion and enrichment of the monopolies.
In foreign affairs Roosevelt was actively guided by his proclaimed “bigstick” policy, especially in relation to South America. In 1902-03 the Roosevelt Administration intervened in the Venezuela Crisis ( q.v. ). In 1901 it imposed the so-called Platt Amendment ( q.v. ) on American-occupied Cuba. Further one-sided treaties were imposed on Cuba with the aim of transforming it into a virtual U.S. colony. In 1906 the United States suppressed the anti-American uprising in Cuba and occupied it in 1906-09. Roosevelt was the major instigator of the 1903 Panama revolution, as a result of which Panama broke away from Colombia and in effect fell under the rule of the United States, which seized the Panama Canal Zone. In 1904 Roosevelt broadened the interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine, according to which the United States had assumed the role of “policeman of the western hemisphere.” During the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), the Roosevelt Administration gave Japan substantial aid, supporting her against Russia. In order to strengthen her dominion over the Philippines, the United States in July 1905 agreed to the establishment of the Japanese protectorate over Korea ( see Katsura-Taft Agreement). In 1908 the Roosevelt Administration and Japan signed an agreement concerning China and the Pacific basin ( see Root-Takahira Agreement). During the 1912 presidential election Roosevelt emerged as one of the founders of the so-called Progressive party (which fell apart after Roosevelt’s defeat in the election) and promulgated a bourgeois-reform program which, as V. I. Lenin pointed out, was an attempt to save capitalism by means of bourgeois reforms. During World War I, Roosevelt urged the earliest entry of the U.S. in the war.