11/09 – Roosevelt’s Visit

Theodore Roosevelt at rest. (source: Wikimedia Commons)

On this day in 1906 Theodore Roosevelt made a trip to visit the construction site of the Panama Canal. The Canal, an 82 km (51 mile) long shipping waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, was an important part of US foreign policy and is still an integral part of international trade in the region. Roosevelt’s trip, however, was significant in he was the first sitting US president to travel outside the United States. Foreign travel was taboo till that point – Americans didn’t want their leaders mixing with foreign royalty and getting imperial ideas. After Roosevelt, however, every US president has made at least one trip outside of the country – and the frequency of trips increased as the country’s isolationist stance weakened and the “American 20th century” progressed.

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