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Woodrow Wilson vs. Theodore Roosevelt

By Kathrys2 Feb 27, 2014 903 Words
Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson went through trials pertaining to foreign affairs as president. Both Roosevelt and Wilson put forth significant efforts in their foreign policies. They were similar in some of their intentions and goals for the world, yet they differed in some of the ways they went about obtaining these goals; however, Roosevelt’s foreign policy was more effective than Wilson’s because of its lasting effects.

Some of the reasons why Roosevelt and Wilson were involved in foreign affairs are similar, if not the same. War caused a lot of tension between nations and was a major reason that Roosevelt and Wilson involved themselves in foreign affairs. Roosevelt stepped in to stop the Russo-Japanese war; he had Russia acknowledge the territorial gains of Japan and had Japan agree to end fighting as well as put a stop to their expansion. In the years that followed, Japan was becoming a naval power in the Pacific, therefore, Roosevelt sent the “Great White Fleet” to intimidate Japan and remind them of the power that America had. Wilson was a member of the Big Four that tried to find a perfect peace treaty for the end of World War 1. He began by promoting his Fourteen Points, and later presented the Treaty of Versailles. Another reason why both Roosevelt and Wilson were involved in foreign affairs was because they wanted America to increase their influence on surrounding nations. Roosevelt was looking for ways to help smaller countries because he believed America was a more civilized power while Wilson was working to help Nicaragua keep control over the area wanted for a canal. Also, both were involved in Caribbean politics. Roosevelt used the Roosevelt Corollary in the Dominican Republic as well as giving Cuba political independence after they agreed to the Platt Amendment. An example of Wilson’s connection to the Caribbean is provided when Wilson purchases the West Indies from Denmark because Wilson fears that Germany could gain control of them. Though their foreign policies contain many similarities, they have many differences as well. Most of the differences between Roosevelt and Wilson’s foreign policies pertained to the way they went about taking care of problems. For one, Roosevelt and Wilson had different views on secrecy. During a short time, Roosevelt had a secret agreement with Japan to make sure that trade for the United States would remain free in that area of the world; however, in Wilson’s Fourteen Points, he made a point against secret treaties. Another difference is clearly shown in their enthusiasm toward foreign affairs. Roosevelt enjoyed being involved with other nations because he felt that he was the one in control and that he didn’t have to worry about what Congress thought of his ideas. One the other hand, when Wilson entered office he had little interest in dealing with other nations. Throughout the first half of World War 1 this is shown in his struggle to remain neutral. The views of Roosevelt and Wilson differ once again between the views of military. In Roosevelt’s eyes, it was important to build up the military in preparation to fight. Wilson’s Fourteen Points, however, state that the world should proceed to reduce the size of armaments. Also, Roosevelt differed from Wilson in the way they thought conflict should be policed. Roosevelt liked to handle problems on his own, for example, the Russo-Japanese war. He personally went in and took care of the conflict, which reveals why he received a Nobel Peace Prize. Wilson, however, believed that multiple people, or nations, should take care of conflict, which motivated him to work towards creating the League of Nations during the peace conference in 1919. Although both foreign policies differ in many ways, Roosevelt’s policy was more effective. Roosevelt’s foreign policy was overall more effective than Wilson’s because he was able to successfully implement more of his policies. For one, very few of his plans were used in the peace conference. Also, Wilson couldn’t get support from the people for his Treat of Versailles because he was too stubborn to accept any compromise to his plans. Wilson worked so hard to try to gain support for his Treaty of Versailles that he became ill, yet his efforts still were not good enough. When Wilson tried to stabilize the relationship between the United States and Mexico, but it just caused more tension and conflict between the two countries in the late 1910s. On the other hand, Roosevelt was able to obtain the Roosevelt Corollary, which allowed the military to step in when it needed to help the smaller, neighboring nations. Under Roosevelt’s control the nation was able to grant Cuba political independence by having them agree to the Platt Amendment, which gave the US the right to prevent any other nations from attacking Cuba. Not to mention that Roosevelt was able to gain the Panama Canal and also help Panama become an independent nation. Overall, Roosevelt clearly was able to help the United States with its foreign affairs more than Wilson was able to.

Though Roosevelt and Wilson had similarities between their foreign policies, they had many differences as well. Both wanted what was best for the world and they both believed that they were obtaining that through their foreign policies. However, they went about this in different ways. Roosevelt obtained higher excellence regarding his foreign policies with other nations.

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