Roosevelt Corollary

Political cartoon depicting Theodore Roosevelt using the Monroe Doctrine to keep European powers out of the Dominican Republic.

The Roosevelt Corollary was an addition to the Monroe Doctrine articulated by President Theodore Roosevelt in his State of the Union address in 1904 after the Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903. The corollary states that the United States will intervene in conflicts between the European countries and Latin American countries to enforce legitimate claims of the European powers, rather than having the Europeans press their claims directly.

Roosevelt tied his policy to the Monroe Doctrine, and it was also consistent with his foreign policy included in his Big Stick Diplomacy. Roosevelt stated that in keeping with the Monroe Doctrine, the United States was justified in exercising "international police power" to put an end to chronic unrest or wrongdoing in the Western Hemisphere. While the Monroe Doctrine had sought to prevent European intervention, the Roosevelt Corollary was used to justify US intervention throughout the hemisphere. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt renounced interventionism and established his Good Neighbor policy for the Western Hemisphere.


The Roosevelt Corollary was articulated in the aftermath of the Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903. In late 1902, Britain, Germany, and Italy imposed a naval blockade of several months against Venezuela after President Cipriano Castro refused to pay foreign debts and damages suffered by European people in a recent Venezuelan civil war.[1] The dispute was referred to an international court for arbitration, which concluded on 22 February 1904 that the blockading powers involved in the Venezuela Crisis were entitled to preferential treatment in the payment of their claims.[1] This left a number of other countries which did not take military action, including the United States, with no recourse. The U.S. disagreed with the outcome in principle, and feared it would encourage future European intervention to gain such advantage.[1] To preclude European intervention, in December the Roosevelt Corollary asserted a right of the United States to intervene in order to "stabilize" the economic affairs of small states in the Caribbean and Central America if they were unable to pay their international debts.