Theodore Roosevelt and the Special Relationship with Britain

D.H. Burton writes that Roosevelt was one of the chief architects of an Anglo-American understanding that survived many diplomatic crises.

The Anglo-American rapprochement that coincided with the onset of the twentieth century hardly could have succeeded from the American side without the support of Theodore Roosevelt. Before Roosevelt came to the Presidency in September 1901, he had recognized the value of British friendship. 1898 was annus mirabilis; the occasion, Britain’s cordial attitude at the time of the Spanish-American War.

Though in the first of Roosevelt’s White House years some stormy times lay ahead in Anglo-American diplomacy about the Alaskan boundary dispute and United States intentions at Panama, the lessons of the Spanish War remained fresh in Roosevelt’s mind.

With much of Europe hostile to America as trouble brewed in the Caribbean, Britain’s neutrality easily verged upon friendship. In October 1897, Lord Salisbury had assured the American Secretary of State, John Hay, that British commitments in Cuba were purely commercial and that Her Majesty’s Government would favour any American policy aimed at regularizing matters in the Antilles.

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