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Panama Congress - History

Panama Congress - History

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Simon Bolivar

President John Quincy Adams supported the participation of the United States in the Panama Congress. The purpose of this convention, called by Simon Bolivar, was to promote unity among the countries of the Americas. Opposition from Southern Conservatives delayed confirmation of the US delegates so long that it was impossible for them to attend.

President Adams announced in his inaugural address that new free republics of South America had invited the United States to send a representative to a meeting of a Congress for consultations and action as to objects of common interests.

Adams announced that he had accepted the invitation, on the stipulation that the delegates would not do anything that will violate the neutrality of the United States. Adams then sent a message to the Congress that he had accepted the invitation, and he thought that this was within the competency of the executive to do. Adams however, requested the Congress opinion as well the confirmation of the commissioners.

The Pacific Ocean in History

The attitude of the Russian government toward Alaska, by F. A. Golder The fur trade in northwestern development, by F. W. Howay The western ocean as a determinant in Oregon history, by J. Schafer The waterways of the Pacific northwest, by C. B. Bagley. The monarchical plans of General San Martin, by Larrabure y Unanue The early exploratioins of Father Garcés on the Pacific slope, by H. E. Bolton British influence in Mexico, 1822-1826, by W. R. Manning The reforms of Joseph Gálvez in New Spain, by H. I. Priestly. The "home guard" of 1861, by H. Davis The founding of San Francisco, by C. E. Chapman

French intrusion into New Mexico, 1749-1752, by H. E. Bolton Speech mixture in New Mexico, by A. M. Espinosa St. Vrain's expedition in the Gila in 1826, by T. M. Marshall The causes for the failure of Otermin's attempt to reconquer New Mexico, 1681-1682, by C. W. Hackett The ancestry and family of Juan de Oñate, by Beatrice Q Cornish. Japan's early attempts to establish commercial relations with Mexico, by K Asakawa New Zealand and the Pacific Ocean, by J. M. Brown

Addresses delivered at the general sessions: The conflict of European nations in the Pacific, by H. M. Stephens The share of Spain in the history of the Pacific Ocean, by R. Altamira y Crevea The history of California, by J. F. Davis The American inter-oceanic canal, an historical sketch of the canal idea, by R. J. Taussig The Panama canal, by T. Roosevelt. -- Papers read at the special sessions: Opening address, by L. M. Guerrero The soical structure of, and ideas of law among, early Philippine peoples and a recently-discovered pre-Hispanic criminal code of the Philippine Islands, by J. A. Robertson Troubles of an English governor of the Philippine Islands, by K. C. Leebrick The Chinese in the Philippines, by C. H. Cunningham The governor-general of the Phillipines under Spain and the United States, by D. P. Barrows

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Linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

The idea of creating a water passage across the isthmus of Panama to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans dates back to at least the 1500s, when King Charles I of Spain tapped his regional governor to survey a route along the Chagres River. The realization of such a route across the mountainous, jungle terrain was deemed impossible at the time, although the idea remained tantalizing as a potential shortcut from Europe to eastern Asia.

France was ultimately the first country to attempt the task. Led by Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, the builder of the Suez Canal in Egypt, the construction team broke ground on a planned sea-level canal in 1880. The French soon comprehended the monumental challenge ahead of them: Along with the incessant rains that caused heavy landslides, there was no effective means for combating the spread of yellow fever and malaria. De Lesseps belatedly realized that a sea-level canal was too difficult and reorganized efforts toward a lock canal, but funding was pulled from the project in 1888.

The Panama Canal and Other World Events

The greatest single achievement of President Roosevelt was the Panama Canal. One hundred or five hundred years hence when most of his other acts are forgotten, they will say of him, "He was the man who dug the Panama Canal."

Behind the opening of this great waterway from ocean to ocean lies a tangle of diplomacy and international politics such as only a Roosevelt could solve. He cut the Gordian knot.

In a speech at the University of California, in 1911, while the Canal was yet in the building, he said:

"I am interested in the Panama Canal because I started it. If I had followed traditional, conservative methods, I should have submitted a dignified state paper of probably two hundred pages to Congress, and the debate would have been going on yet. But I took the Canal Zone, and let Congress debate, and while the debate goes on, the Canal does also!"

Let us see, briefly, the situation which confronted him in 1904.

Down on the Isthmus of Panama a French company had spent hundreds of millions in trying to "dig the ditch," only to abandon the task. De Lesseps, who made his reputation in opening the Suez Canal, lost it again at Panama. But the French company still held the franchise under treaty with Colombia, which then owned Panama.

Further to complicate the situation, England and America had a joint agreement to construct a canal across the Isthmus. And as if all this were not enough, another route was under active consideration across Nicaragua.

Fortunately, Roosevelt had an exceedingly able Secretary of State in John Hay, who burned much midnight oil in getting treaties straightened out. The Nicaragua route was finally given up England waived her treaty rights in Panama and France agreed to sell her concessions and machinery for $40,000,000. There remained only the matter of making a satisfactory treaty with Colombia. This was easier said than done, however, as that country had a notoriously unstable government, and a Dictator was even then in power.

"You could no more make an agreement with Colombia," said Roosevelt later, "than you could nail currant jelly to the wall and the failure is not due to the nail, it is due to the jelly."

Maroquin, the Colombian Dictator, had accepted a new agreement with the United States, in place of the old one with France, but later believing he could "hold us up," he sent word to his Senate to reject the treaty. Our country then turned again to a consideration of a canal across Nicaragua.

At this juncture another of the sporadic revolutions occurred to the south. Roosevelt himself somewhat humorously lists fifty such outbreaks which occurred in and around Colombia in the same number of years. This time it was Panama throwing off the Colombian yoke.

Roosevelt saw in this revolution an opportunity to get his canal. He ordered the cruiser Nashville to proceed to Panama to safeguard our interests. Colombia sent an army of 450 men, under four generals, to quell the revolution, and during the firing which followed, one Chinaman was killed. Thanks to our moral backing, the revolution was successful, and two days later the Republic of Panama was recognized by the United States. Two weeks later a treaty was drafted with the new Republic enabling us to dig the canal.

Naturally there was a good deal of opposition, especially on the part of Roosevelt's enemies, to this procedure. They said it was high-handed and unconstitutional. But as a matter of fact, it was probably the only way in which the Canal could have been gotten under way.

"The people of Panama were a unit in desiring the Canal," said Roosevelt later, "and in wishing to overthrow the rule of Colombia. . . . When they revolted I promptly used the navy to prevent the bandits, who had tried to hold us up, from spending months of futile bloodshed in conquering the Isthmus, to the lasting damage of the Isthmus, of us, and of the world."

Years after, under another administration, a new treaty was concluded with Colombia, and $25,000,000 offered as a salve to her official dignity.

Meanwhile, although the international pot continued to boil and seethe, Roosevelt went vigorously ahead with his ditch digging. He was fortunate in getting two able men as his chief assistants—Dr. Gorgas, a sanitary engineer who changed the Canal Zone from a mosquito-infested, yellow-fever district to one of cleanliness and health and Colonel Goethals, an eminent civil engineer in the army, who carried the construction work through to triumphant completion.

Some months after the work was started, Roosevelt himself went to Panama to see how the work was getting along. Arrived there, he refused invitations to wine and dine, and instead spent three days in the tropic rain and mud inspecting everything. He climbed up in the monster steam shovels. He tramped miles with Goethals. He had another of his "bully" times, and he came back to Washington satisfied that the work was in competent hands.

While he was still wrestling with the Panama question, another great international problem arose demanding solution.

The war between Russia and Japan had come to an inglorious close, so far as Russia was concerned. Her land forces had been no match for the Japanese while her fleet which sailed away around the coasts of India, thousands of miles from home waters, had been sunk or scattered in the memorable battle of the Sea of Japan.

In the summer of 1905 Roosevelt tendered his offices as mediator in the war, and both parties accepted. They sent representatives to this country, who met in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

From the first, however, it looked like a deadlock. The Japanese, claiming the victory, demanded an indemnity. The Russians, pointing to their vastly superior resources, said they had only begun to fight and that the fight should go on, if a cent of indemnity were exacted.

All summer they wrangled, and everybody concerned gave it up as a bad job—that is, all except Theodore Roosevelt. He only set his jaws firmly together and kept trying. He had the commissioners meet him singly and collectively at his home at Sagamore Hill, and on the Presidential yacht, Mayflower .

At last his efforts were crowned with success. The Japanese receded from their position with regard to an indemnity, and a treaty was signed, in September.

This event added immensely not only to Roosevelt's prestige abroad, but also to that of the United States. Up to this time we had held aloof from Old World affairs, and were therefore not considered a "world power."

Roosevelt now took still another step to impress this new position upon the rest of the world. He decided, in 1907, to send a fleet of battleships around the world.

In reading this simple sentence the reader can have no idea of the furor it caused. Timid folk at home said that he would stir up war with Japan. Others said that he was exceeding his constitutional rights, as at Panama. Congress said that it would cost too much money. Abroad, naval critics scoffed at the idea, saying that half our ships would be laid up for repairs before the voyage was half completed.

Roosevelt calmly went ahead, assuming full responsibility for the cruise. He admitted that he had not even consulted his Cabinet.

"In a crisis," he contended, "the duty of a leader is to lead, and not to take refuge behind the generally timid wisdom of a multitude of councillors."

Roosevelt was, in fact, our first great apostle of preparedness. It was one of the ruling doctrines of his life. He insisted that the nation which did not show herself ready invited attack, while the one that was armed remained at peace. Regarding the cruise of the fleet, he said:

"My prime purpose was to impress the American people and this purpose was fully achieved. The cruise did make a very deep impression abroad boasting about what we have done does not impress foreign nations at all, except unfavorably, but positive achievement does and the two American achievements that really impressed foreign peoples during the first dozen years of this century were the digging of the Panama Canal and the cruise of the battle fleet round the world."

The fleet set sail in November, 1907, a squadron of sixteen battleships and a flotilla of torpedo-boats. They were sent around to the Pacific by way of the Straits of Magellan (the Canal was not then finished), thence to Sand Francisco, and across to New Zealand and Australia.

From Australia the fleet proceeded to the Philippines, and thence to China and Japan. The "Jingoes" who had been trying to trouble between Japan and America were bitterly disappointed at the result of our visit there. The Japanese were courtesy itself, and our naval officers left there highly delighted.

The fleet came home by way of the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean Sea. Here they stopped long enough to help the sufferers from the earthquake at Messina, which they did most effectively. Thence they proceeded across the Atlantic to home ports, where they were accorded a royal welcome.

"Not a ship was left in any port," says Roosevelt proudly, "and there was hardly a desertion. The fleet practiced incessantly during the voyage, both with guns and in battle tactics, and came home a much more efficient fighting instrument than when it started, sixteen months before."

President Roosevelt Decides to Build the Panama Canal

THE MAKING OF A NATION – a program in Special English by the Voice of America.

Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States in 1901. He firmly believed in expanding American power in the world. To do this, he wanted a strong navy. And he wanted a way for the navy to sail quickly between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Roosevelt decided to build that waterway.

I'm Maurice Joyce. Today, Richard Rael and I tell the story of the Panama Canal.For many years, people had dreamed of building a canal across central America to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The most likely place was at the thinnest point of land: Panama. Another possible place was to the north: Nicaragua. President Roosevelt appointed a committee to decide which place would be better.

Engineers said it would cost less to complete a canal that had been started in the 1880s in Panama. But the United States would have to buy the land and building rights from a French company. The price was high: more than one hundred million dollars.

So, the committee decided it would be less costly, overall, to build a canal in Nicaragua. The proposal went to the United States Congress for approval.The House of Representatives quickly passed a bill to build the Nicaragua canal. Then the French company reduced its price for the land and building rights in Panama. It decided some money was better than no money at all.

President Roosevelt was pleased. He gave his support to the Panama plan. When the Senate began debate, however, it appeared the Nicaragua plan would win.

Then a volcano exploded in the caribbean area. A city was destroyed. Thirty-thousand people were killed. Soon, reports said another volcano had become active and was threatening a town. The volcano was in Nicaragua. Nicaragua's president denied there were any active volcanoes in his country. But one of Nicaragua's postal stamps showed a picture of an exploding volcano.

That little stamp weakened support for the Nicaragua canal. The Senate passed a bill for a Panama canal, instead. The House of Representatives changed its earlier decision. It approved the Senate bill.At that time, Panama was a state of Colombia. Canal negotiations between America and Colombia did not go smoothly. After nine months, the United States threatened to end the talks and begin negotiations with Nicaragua. The threat worked.

In January, 1903, Colombia signed a treaty to permit the United States to build the Panama Canal. The treaty gave the United States a canal zone. This was a piece of land ten kilometers wide across Panama. The United States could use the canal zone for one hundred years. In exchange, it would pay Colombia ten million dollars, plus two hundred fifty thousand dollars a year.

The United States Senate passed the treaty within two months. The Colombian Senate rejected it. The Colombian government demanded more money.President Roosevelt was furious. He saw the issue in terms of world politics. not simply Colombia's sovereignty. He said: "I do not think Colombia should be permitted to bar permanently one of the future highways of civilization." Roosevelt was ready to take over Panama to build the canal.

That was not necessary. A revolt was being planned in Panama to gain independence from Colombia. The United States made no promises to support the rebels. But it wanted the rebels to succeed.

Under an old treaty, Colombia had given the United States the right to prevent interference with travel across Panama. Now, the United States used the old treaty to prevent interference from Colombian troops. Several American warships were sent to Panama.The local leader of the Panamanian revolt was Manuel Amador. Amador had the support of the French company that still owned the rights to build the Panama Canal. The chief representative of the company was Philippe Bunau-Varilla. He worked closely with an American lawyer, William Cromwell.

Bunau-Varilla and Cromwell provided Manuel Amador with a declaration of independence, a constitution, and money. Amador used the money to buy the support of the Colombian military commander in Panama City, the capital. He also got the support of the governor, who agreed to let himself be arrested on the day of the revolt.

Amador formed a small army of railroad workers and fire fighters.

The rebel army planned to take over Panama City on November fourth, 1903. Just before that date, five hundred Colombian soldiers landed at Colon, eighty kilometers away.

The soldiers could not get to Panama City, however. All but one railroad car had been moved to the capital.Manuel Amador gave a signal. The revolution began. There was a little shooting, but no one was hurt. Most of the shots were fired into the air to celebrate the call for Panama's independence. Colombian officials were arrested quickly. Then Amador made a speech. He said:

"Yesterday, we were slaves of Colombia. Today, we are free. President Theodore Roosevelt has kept his word. Long live the Republic of Panama! long live President Roosevelt!"

Colombia asked the United States to help it re-gain control of Panama. The United States refused. It said it would oppose any attempt by Colombia to send more forces there. The United States also recognized Panama's independence. And, almost immediately, it started negotiations with the new government on a canal treaty.The two sides reached agreement quickly. The treaty was almost the same as the one the Colombian Senate had rejected earlier. This time, however, the canal zone would be 16 kilometers wide, instead of ten. And the United States would get permanent control of the canal zone.

The treaty was signed on November eighteenth, 1903. That was just 15 days after Panama declared its independence.Colombia protested. It said the United States had acted illegally in Panama. Many American citizens protested, too. They called President Roosevelt a pirate. They said he had acted shamefully. Some members of Congress questioned the administration's deal with the French canal company in Panama. Several investigations examined the deal.

Theodore Roosevelt did not care. He was proud of his success in getting the canal started. He said: "I took the canal zone and let Congress debate. And while the debate goes on. so does work on the canal."It took ten years for the United States to complete the Panama Canal. The first ship passed through it in August, 1914.

In that same year, the United States signed an agreement with Colombia. The agreement expressed America's regret for its part in the Panamanian revolution. And it provided a payment of twenty-five million dollars to Colombia. Theodore Roosevelt was no longer president when the agreement was signed. But he still had many friends in the Senate. He got them to reject it.

After Roosevelt's death, the United States signed another agreement with Colombia. The new agreement included the payment of twenty-five million dollars. It did not include the statement of regret. The Senate approved the new agreement.The issue of America's involvement in Panama caused much bitterness in other countries of Latin America. Some did not feel safe from American interference. President Roosevelt said the United States would not interfere with any nation that kept order and paid what it owed.

Roosevelt was worried because some Latin American countries were having difficulty re-paying loans from European banks. He did not want the issue of non-payment used as an excuse for European countries to seize new territory in the western hemisphere.

Roosevelt said the United States was responsible for making sure the debts were paid. His policy led to further United States involvement in Latin America.


During its first quarter century, the new United States government had to find its way in the world while attending to the nation’s business. Leaders met with Indian nations and faced often-hostile relations with European powers while coping with conflicts between emerging political parties and working out relationships among the three new branches of government.

The First Congress (1789–1791) laid the foundation built upon by future congresses: It inaugurated the president, created government departments, established a system of courts, passed the Bill of Rights, and enacted laws needed by the new country to raise money and provide for other essential needs. Meeting first in New York City and then in Philadelphia, legislators moved in 1800 to the new Capitol in the District of Columbia.

The founding era concluded with the War of 1812. As the nation fought to confirm its independence from Great Britain, British forces invaded Washington in the summer of 1814 and set fire to its public buildings, including the Capitol. Despite the turbulence and uncertainty of these times, the nation successfully developed a functioning government based on the principles of representation.

II Congress of Anthropology and History of Panama

From June 18 to 21, the II Congress of Anthropology and History of Panama: The transformation of Panama and America 500 years later, takes place at the City of Knowledge Convention Center.

On August 15, 1519 Pedrarias Dávila founded the city of Our Lady of the Assumption of Panama. Located on an indigenous fishing village, this was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. From there came expeditions of exploration and invasion that in one way or another were transforming the continent and then the entire world giving rise to the first globalization, a process that we still live. Shortly after its founding, the city acquired that cosmopolitan character that still distinguishes it, becoming both a crossroads, a home and a melting pot of cultures and ethnic groups from all over. A microcosm in this piece of land called Panama, destined to be a place of passage but also a meeting point for connections.

It is in this scenario and spirit of diversity, tolerance and interdisciplinarity that we celebrate the 5 centuries of foundation of our city with the II Congress of Anthropology and History of Panama: The transformation of Panama and America 500 years later. An academic, scientific and cultural celebration to commemorate the event that represented a fundamental moment in the historical evolution of our world.

Professor Jorge Arosemena, Executive President of the City of Knowledge Foundation, stressed that “at the City of Knowledge, we have activities that are so mature and deep that they lead us to the need that we have to reflect on our path as human beings. We are a diverse society and it is elementary that we celebrate that”.

During the celebration of the 500 years of foundation of the city of Panama sand its meaning, there was an academic-scientific forum that disseminated the collective effort of professionals in Anthropology and History and related disciplines applied to the American environment.

Also, the event laid the foundations for the creation of a network of multidisciplinary cooperation in the search for solutions and responses to the great challenges of national and continental cultural activities.

File:The Pacific Ocean in history - papers and addresses presented at the Panama-Pacific historical congress held at San Francisco, Berkeley and Palo Alto, California, July 19-23, 1915 (IA afj6028.0001.001.umich.edu).pdf

Click on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time.

current10:49, 5 October 20201,295 × 1,462, 556 pages (31.88 MB) Fæ (talk | contribs) University of Michigan afj6028.0001.001.umich.edu (User talk:Fæ/IA books#Fork19) (batch 1000-1924 #4458)

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Brown University

The Congress & History Conference was initially conceived by Professor Ira Katznelson (Columbia University) and Professor Gregory Wawro (Columbia University) as a way to bring scholars of Congress from different backgrounds, perspectives, and cohorts together to pose and answer key questions about the historical evolution and development of Congress. Participants are encouraged to use multiple methodological approaches in their research - from narrative case studies to quantitative analyses to formal models - and to expand the range of historical information that is available for scholarly use. The broad goal of the conference is to encourage discussion and debate among scholars that might not otherwise cross intellectual paths.

Since the first conference was held in 2002 at Columbia University, scholars in American Political Development, Congress, and History have been coming together to create a deeper understanding of the historical evolution of American politics through the lens of the American Congress. Over the past decade, conferences have been held at the following institutions: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2003), Stanford University (2004), Washington University at St. Louis (2005), Yale University (2006), Princeton University (2007), George Washington University (2008), the University of Virginia (2009), and the University of California at Berkeley (2010).

The Congress & History Conference at Brown University is supported by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, the Office of University Event & Conference Services, and Computing & Information Services.

Move toward militancy

In 1960 the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), which had broken away from the ANC in 1959, organized massive demonstrations against the pass laws during which police killed 69 unarmed demonstrators at Sharpeville (south of Johannesburg). At this point the National Party banned, or outlawed, both the ANC and the PAC. Denied legal avenues for political change, the ANC first turned to sabotage and then began to organize outside of South Africa for guerrilla warfare. In 1961 an ANC military organization, Umkhonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation"), with Mandela as its head, was formed to carry out acts of sabotage as part of its campaign against apartheid. Mandela and other ANC leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 (the Rivonia Trial). Although the ANC’s campaign of guerrilla warfare was basically ineffective because of stringent South African internal security measures, surviving ANC cadres kept the organization alive in Tanzania and Zambia under Tambo’s leadership. The ANC began to revive inside South Africa toward the end of the 1970s, following the Soweto uprising in 1976, when the police and army killed more than 600 people, many of them children. About 1980 the banned black, green, and gold tricolour flag of the ANC began to be seen inside South Africa, and the country descended into virtual civil war during the 1980s.

Watch the video: Η ιστορία της Αιγύπτου (June 2022).


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