Jennifer Mason
May 6, 2011
History 608

Lesson Plan: The Roosevelt Corollary and U.S. Imperialism in the Caribbean

After completing this lesson and corresponding activities, students will be able to:
  • Identify and describe the historical context of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, its authors, goals, and outcomes. Students will have a firm grasp of the impact Latin American independence movements had on U.S.-Europe and U.S.-Latin America relations including economic, political and military intervention, the desire for separate "spheres of influence", non-colonization and non-intervention.
  • Identify and describe the time frame, relevance and key developments of the "Gilded Age" and apply what they know about industrialization to what they are learning about shifts in U.S. foreign policy in Central America and the Caribbean.
  • Draw parallels between President Theodore Roosevelt's "Big Stick" rhetoric and his foreign policy.
  • Identify and describe key antecedents (Venezuela Border Dispute, Spanish-American War, Platt Amendment, 1902/03 Venezuelan Crisis, U.S. acquisition of Panama Canal Zone) and specifications of Roosevelt's Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.
  • Efficiently interpret Presidential policy and other primary source documents and will be able to compare and contrast the Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt's Corollary and Taft's policy of Dollar Diplomacy.
  • Define imperialism and identify the political, economic, military and cultural influence of the United States.
  • Explain the causes and outcomes of U.S. intervention in the Dominican Republic and beyond, including fiscal and social motivations.
  • Define Social Darwinism, analyze its influence and restate the claims of its critics.
  • Read closely and improve their research skills by completing the primary source document based Key-Terms homework.
  • Listen critically lecture materials, question prior and new knowledge and be able to and evaluate historical information and to navigate subjective disciplines.
  • Interpret attitudes, cultural assumptions, political messages and key trends present in political cartoons. They will become skilled visual readers who are also able to transform a political standpoint into a complex visual commentary.
  • Research the history, culture and politics of foreign nations and theorize alternative perspectives based on their research.

Methods and Procedures:
Due to the nature of this assignment, specific classroom procedures will not be exact, but can be roughly described as follows:
  • Students will complete the Key Terms worksheet for homework prior to the start of the lesson.
  • The lecture outlined in the power-point and corresponding discussion would probably occur over a two day period, allowing time for questions and debate.
  • The political cartoon worksheet will be completed in-class either individually or with partners, following a short introduction to the history and methodology of reading and creating political cartoons.
  • The Unit Assessment will be introduced after the political cartoon activity. Students will review research techniques and will have time to begin researching in class. Assessments will be completed outside of class.
  • The Unit Quiz will be the final activity in the unit and will take place the day that the Unit Assessment is due.

  • Homework Completion: Key Terms
  • Participation in class discussion based on Power-point Questioning Prompt
  • "Theodore Roosevelt and his Big Stick in the Caribbean" Political Cartoon Worksheet
  • Unit Quiz
  • Unit Assessment: Three-Part Assignment including a P.O.V. paper, a political cartoon and a personal response/reflection.

Resources and Materials:

Key Terms Sheet
Political Cartoon Worksheet
Primary Sources: Monroe Doctrine and Roosevelt CorollaryUnit Quiz
Unit Assessment Assignment



  • Victor Bulmer-Thomas, The Economic History of Latin America Since Independence, (London: Cambridge, 1995), 2, 234-235.
  • Matthias Maass, “Catalyst for the Roosevelt Corollary: Arbitrating the 1902-1903 Venezuela Crisis and Its Impact on the Development of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine,” Diplomacy & Statecraft, Vol. 20, No. 3 (2009); 383 - 402.
  • Kris James Mitchener and Marc Weidenmier, “Empire, Public Goods, and the Roosevelt Corollary,” The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Sep.. 2005) ;658- 692.
  • Serge Ricard, “The Roosevelt Corollary,” Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol.36, No.1, Presidential Doctrines (Mar., 2006); 17-26.
  • J. Fred Rippy, “Antecedents of the Roosevelt Corollary of the Monroe Doctrine,” Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 9, No.3 (Sep., 1940); 267-279.
  • Lars Scholutz, Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America. (Cambridge: Harvard, 1998).
  • Cyrus Veeser, A World Safe for Capitalism: Dollar Diplomacy and America’s Rise to Global Power, (New York: Columbia, 2002)

MA Curriculum Frameworks:
USII.6. Analyze the causes and course of America’s growing role in world affairs from the Civil War to World War I
A. the influence of the ideas associated with Social Darwinism
F. President Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
G. America’s role in the building of the Panama Canal
H. President Taft’s Dollar Diplomacy

WHII.16. Identify the major developments of Latin American history to the early 20th century
A. the wars for independence
D. the importance of trade
E. the growing influence of the United States as demonstrated by the Spanish American War and the building of the Panama Canal

Essential Questions:
  • What caused the U.S. to abandon its isolationist policies?
  • What were the goals and outcomes of Roosevelt's shift in U.S. foreign policy in Latin America?
  • How might U.S. foreign policy be interpreted from an international perspective?