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HISTORIC ARTICLE
HISTORIC ARTICLE

Sep 2, 1901 CE: Big Stick Diplomacy

Sep 2, 1901 CE: Big Stick Diplomacy

On September 2, 1901, Teddy Roosevelt used the phrase "speak softly, and carry a big stick" to describe his foreign policy. Big Stick diplomacy defined his presidency.

Grades

5 - 11

Subjects

Civics, Social Studies, U.S. History

On September 2, 1901, United States Vice President Theodore Roosevelt outlined his ideal foreign policy in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights, Minnesota: “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.” Two weeks later, Roosevelt became president and “Big Stick diplomacy” defined his leadership. Big Stick diplomacy is the policy of carefully mediated negotiation ("speaking softly") supported by the unspoken threat of a powerful military ("big stick"). The Great White Fleet, a group of American warships that toured the world in a show of peaceful strength, is the leading example of Big Stick diplomacy during Roosevelt’s presidency. President Roosevelt used Big Stick diplomacy in many foreign policy situations. He brokered an agreement for an American-led canal through Panama, expanded American influence in Cuba, and negotiated a peace treaty between Russia and Japan. For this, Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906.

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Writer
National Geographic Society
Producer
National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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