Big Stick Ideology

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Big Stick ideology, Big Stick diplomacy, or Big Stick policy is a form of hegemony and was the slogan describing U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt’s corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. The term originated from the African proverb "Speak softly and carry a big stick". The idea of negotiating peacefully, simultaneously threatening with the "big stick", or the military, ties in heavily with the idea of Realpolitik, which implies an amoral pursuit of political power that resembles Machiavellian ideals.[1] Roosevelt first used the phrase in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair on September 2, 1901, twelve days before the assassination of President William McKinley, which subsequently thrust him into the Presidency. Roosevelt referred to the phrase earlier (January 26, 1900) in a letter to Henry W. Sprague of the Union League Club, mentioning his liking of the phrase in a bout of happiness after forcing New York's Republican committee to pull support away from a corrupt financial adviser. Roosevelt attributed the term as "a West African proverb", and was seen at the time as evidence of Roosevelt’s "prolific" reading habits.[2][3] Roosevelt described his style of foreign policy as "the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis".[4]



—1906 New York newspaper, [5]

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