Theodore Roosevelt: Imperialist or Global Strategist in the New Expansionist Age?

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Abstract:

This article argues that as the first modern US president and an innovative shaper of American foreign relations, Theodore Roosevelt launched the rising United States on the world stage as a major actor in power politics, that American diplomacy came of age with him and not with Woodrow Wilson, and that the secular pragmatist who succeeded because he was abreast of the times should not be begrudged the laurels that are so often bestowed on the religious-minded visionary who failed because he was ahead of his time. In American historiography Wilson has often eclipsed—unfairly and erroneously—the geopolitical and diplomatic skills, professionalism and expertise in foreign policy of Roosevelt. Even as ex-president, Roosevelt would be a force to be reckoned with. The use and misuse of a misconstrued legacy that some have tried to confiscate for their own benefit is perhaps best illustrated by presidential candidate John McCain's reverential claim that he is “a Teddy Roosevelt Republican” rather than a neo-Wilsonian.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09592290802564379

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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