Hay-Pauncefote Treaty:
Named after Secretary of State John Hay and British Ambassador to the U.S. Lord Julian Paunceforte, the treaty authorized the United States to build, manage, and ensure the neutrality of an interoceanic canal in Central America.

Platt Amendment:
After the Spanish-American War of 1898, Cuba came under the authority of the United States.  The amendment, sponsored by Senator Orville Platt of Connecticut, was added on March 2 to the constitution of the newly independent Cuba.  It gave the U.S. government broad powers to intervene in Cuban affairs in order to maintain its independence, secure law and order, or ensure the fulfillment of its treaty obligations.

McKinley Assassinated:
While attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, on September 6, President William McKinley was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz.  A surgical operation failed to locate the bullet, and McKinley lingered until dying on September 14.  Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as the nation’s youngest president (42 years old).  Czolgosz was tried, convicted, and executed by electric chair on October 29, 1901.


Northern Securities Case:
On February 19, the Justice Department sued in federal court under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 to break up J. P. Morgan’s railroad trust, the Northern Securities Company.  It was the first of 45 antitrust suits filed under President Theodore Roosevelt, earning him the nickname, “the Trustbuster.”  In March 1904, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Northern Securities had violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Anthracite Coal Strike:
In the spring, 150,000 Pennsylvania coalminers walked off the job.  President Theodore Roosevelt threatened a government takeover of the mines if owners did not negotiate with employees.  In October, an arbitration panel settled the dispute largely in favor of the strikers, though stopping short of formal union recognition.  The precedent-setting executive action was the first time a president had intervened on the side of workers in a labor dispute.

Crater Lake National Park:
In May, Congress passed an act designating Crater Lake, Oregon, a national park, the first of five created during the Roosevelt administration.

Newlands Reclamation Act:
Named after its sponsor, Senator Francis Newlands of Nevada, the law (passed in June) allocated federal money for irrigation projects to transform arid land in 16 Western states and territories into farmland for sale.  It was the first of 21 federal irrigation projects during the Roosevelt administration.


Hay-Herrán Treaty:
In January Secretary of State John Hay and Columbian diplomat Tomás Herrán agreed to a treaty granting the United States in perpetuity a 6-mile wide tract of land across the Columbian province of Panama for construction of an interoceanic canal.  In return the U.S. would give Columbia $10 million and an annual rent of $250,000 beginning in the ninth year.  The United States Senate approved the treaty, but the Columbian Senate rejected it.

Elkins Act:
Sponsored by Senator Stephen Elkins of West Virginia, a railroad owner, the federal law outlawed freight rebates for shippers involved in interstate commerce by mandating that companies could not deviate from published rates.  Under its rules both railroad companies and their officers were liable in cases of rebate violations.  The law was an effort to strengthen the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887.

Pelican Island and Luquillo:
The Roosevelt administration designated the first of 51 federal bird reservations at Pelican Island, Florida, and the first of 150 national forests at Luquillo, Puerto Rico, which remains the only tropical forest protected by the federal government.

Post Office Scandal:
In 1902, an interior probe of the U.S. Post Office uncovered numerous incidents of blackmail, bribery, extortion, overcharging, and other illegal activities.  In 1903, the press broke the story, comparing it to the Whiskey Ring and Star Route scandals.  Two special prosecutors were appointed in early July, and indictments were returned against 30 Post Office officials and private contractors in September.

Rich Man’s Panic:
A relatively mild economic downturn lasted from September 1902 until August 1904, centered mainly in New York and other Mid-Atlantic States.  In 1903, the stock market average dropped 15.3% from July 8 to July 25 and another 11.5% from September 24 to October 15, and was collectively called the “Rich Man’s Panic.”  Although some financial firms went bankrupt, it did not produce a banking panic or a national depression.

Hay—Bunau-Varilla Treaty:
In early November, Philippe Bunau-Varilla led a successful revolt for Panamanian independence from Colombian rule.  On November 18, he and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay signed a treaty giving the United States sovereignty over a canal zone in return for $10 million and $250,000 annual rent (which was raised over the years).  The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty on February 23, 1904, and construction began that year.  The Panama Canal opened in 1914.


The Perdicaris Incident:
In May, a Moroccan rebel named Ahmad ibn Muhammad Raisuli kidnapped Ion Perdicaris, who was believed to be an American citizen.  President Roosevelt ordered seven battleships of the Atlantic Fleet to Morocco.  On June 22, Secretary of State John Hay cabled the American consul general there, “This Government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.”  However, he also cautioned against landing marines or seizing customs without direct orders from the State Department.  Three days later, the Sultan of Morocco paid a ransom of $70,000 in gold and freed some political prisoners in return for Perdicaris’s release. It was not revealed until the 1930s that Perdicaris had renounced his U.S. citizenship during the American Civil War.

Republican National Convention:
Meeting in Chicago on June 21-23, delegates nominated President Theodore Roosevelt for his first full term and selected Senator Charles W. Fairbanks of Indiana as his vice-presidential running mate.

Democratic National Convention:
Meeting in St. Louis on July 6-9, delegates nominated Judge Alton B. Parker of New York for president on the first ballot over publisher William Randolph Hearst, 679-181.  Henry G. Davis, a prosperous railroad owner and former U.S. senator from West Virginia, was nominated for vice president.

Presidential Election:
On November 8, President Theodore Roosevelt defeated Democratic challenger Alton B. Parker 336-140 in the Electoral College and 56%-38% in the popular vote.  It was the largest popular margin of victory in American history until Republican Warren Harding defeated Democrat James Cox in 1920 (61%-34%).  Roosevelt captured majorities in 32 states, while Parker only won the 11 southern states and the two border states of Maryland (by 53 votes) and Kentucky.  Parker’s defeat returned power in the Democratic Party to William Jennings Bryan and the Populist/Progressive wing.  Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress, increasing their majority in the House of Representatives to over 100 for the first time.

Roosevelt Corollary:
In December, President Roosevelt’s annual report to Congress defined what became known as the “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine.  Under the Monroe Doctrine, the United States assumed the right of intervention to keep foreign colonialism out of the Western Hemisphere.  The Roosevelt Corollary argued that the U.S. had the additional right of international police power to intervene in cases of “chronic wrongdoing” in any nation in the Western Hemisphere.  The immediate provocation for the policy was the bankrupt Dominican Republic’s inability to repay its foreign debt.  At the invitation of the Dominican Republic, the United States assumed that country’s customs collection to pay off its debt.

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