What did President Theodore Roosevelt do to secure the lower purchase price of the land to build the Panama Canal?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In order to get a lower price for the right to build the Panama Canal, President Theodore Roosevelt used American military power to help Panama break away from Colombia.

In those days, Panama was not an independent country.  Instead, it was a province of the country of Colombia.  Many Panamanians did want to become independent.  When the congress of Colombia refused to accept America’s offer to buy the land for the Panama Canal, Roosevelt decided to take action.  Panamanians rebelled against Colombia, pushed to some degree by the French company that owned the rights to the canal that the US was going to buy.  Roosevelt helped the rebellion.  He sent warships to Colombian ports to make sure that Colombia could not send troops by sea to put down the rebellion.  Since land travel to Panama was too difficult, this meant that the troops did not arrive and the rebellion succeeded.

With Panama gaining its independence, the US no longer had to deal with Colombia.  Instead, they were able to pay Panama the price that they had originally intended to pay Colombia.  Thus, Theodore Roosevelt used US military power to help Panama become independent so that the US could get a lower price for the land used in building the Panama Canal.


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