Roosevelt and the Caribbean

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Read Books, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 252 pages
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ROOSEVELT AND THE CARIBBEAN ROOSEVELT AND THE CARIBBEAN by HOWARD C. HILL, PhD. KfV The University of Chicago. PREFACE: THEODORE ROOSEVELT came to the presidency at a significant moment in the history of the United States. The old era of isolation, initiated in a sense by Monroe, was giving way to a new period of expansion, foreseen by discriminating students and defi nitely launched by the unanticipated results of the war with Spain. In the development of the movement the young President, with his vigor, ambition, and fearlessness, occupies an important place. Although he cannot be re garded as the initiator of the new epoch, he played an in fluential part in determining its character. Roosevelts relations with foreign countries may be viewed conveniently as falling into three aspects, each influenced by and intricately related to the others, but each possessing characteristics and peculiarities of its own. The aspects referred to are as follows first, relations with European countries second, dealings with the Far East and third, contacts in the New World, especially in the region of the Caribbean. It is to the last-named feature of Roose velts foreign policy that the present volume is devoted. I hope ultimately to treat the others also, especially the first. The student of recent history faces serious problems. Working at close range to the subject with which he deals, he finds it difficult to see details in their true perspective and proper relationships. He also discovers that it is hard to attain the objective attitude that is characteristic of his torical research at its best. In addition, the sources from which he draws and which alone can give validity to his conclusions and interpretations are in themselves causes of concern. On the one hand, he must sift a mass of materi al which, owing to modern stenography, typewriting, and printing, is enormous in extent and uneven in quality. On the other hand, he often faces serious, if not vital, gaps or omissions arising from an inability to gain access to impor tant sources of information or from restrictions on the utilization of material during the lifetime of those concerned. Not withstanding such obstacles, historians must deal with contemporary movements as well as with periods more remote. Each generation is concerned in the history of its own personages and its own times. For obvious reasons it cannot wait for the clearer perspective and the more complete information of a later day. It cannot take ad vantage of the research of posterity. Under the circumstances, therefore, the historical work er must do the best that conditions permit. He must investigate with diligence all available sources of information he must sift material with an eye single for the truth he must strive earnestly to interpret his findings with fidelity and impartiality. However imperfect the realiz tion, such have been the ideals and purposes that have guided the preparation of the present volume. In so far as the sources are concerned, I have been unusually fortunate. The writings and addresses of Roose velt are voluminous. The correspondence, papers, and autobiographies of his contemporaries are extensive, and, for the most part, open to examination. The official records are exceptionally complete, the world-war having brought to light material, such as is contained in Die grosse Politik, which before the great conflict was inaccessible. Of greatest importance in the present study are the extensive Roosevelt Papers deposited in the Library of Congress. This invaluable body of material, to which I was given free and unrestricted access, includes, in addition to the great bulk of Roosevelts public and private correspondence, copies of his speeches, significant memoranda, engagement books, confidential reports, and personal notes...

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