How did Roosevelt's ideas in "big stick" ideology reflect United States foreign policy toward Latin America?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea of the "big stick" ideology helped to reflect foreign policy in the region in suggesting that American interests have to be protected through military action, as opposed to saber- rattling bluster.  Roosevelt understood in the clearest of senses that foreign policy can only be conducted through actions, and not through rhetoric.  The idea of "speaking softly" reflects a very pragmatic end towards foreign policy, something that was seen in how he dealt with Latin America.  Roosevelt understood that the time period was one of expansionism and imperialism on the part of European nations.  These nations would not be deterred from coveting lands in Latin America without a sense of "the big stick" present.  Roosevelt understood that American interests in Latin America could not be protected through isolationism or bluster that did little in the final analysis.  Rather, he favored a position that suggested the need to keep armed forces in a vigilant state of ready, and even use them to occupy land in Latin America in order to deter European nations from trying to overtake them on their own.  The ideology reflected Roosevelt's willingness to seize initiative to use military force in the region and also displayed how Roosevelt saw the region in geopolitical terms.

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