What did Roosevelt mean by "Speak softly and carry a big stick"?"There is a homely old adage which runs: Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
Pres. Theodore Roosevelt used the adage to illustrate his approach to dealing with the countries of Latin America in the early years of the 1900s. Sometimes called the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, the phrase meant that the United States wanted the best for the countries of Latin America and would support them so long as the interests of the United States were not threatened. However, the United States was ready to intervene with military power if necessary to protect and advance its concerns and preserve what it considered its rights in the area, tracing that concept back to the Monroe Doctrine.