Today, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential One Dollar Coin remembers his visit to view the work on the Panama Canal and his speech 111 years ago.
From the Works: Presidential addresses and state papers, Dec. 3, 1901, June 1910, and European addresses of Theodore Roosevelt, published in 1910:
At Panama, November 15, 1906.
Mr. President, Senora Amador, and you, Citizens of Panama:
For the first time in the history of the United States it has become advisable for a President of the United States to step on territory not beneath the flag of the United States, and it is on the territory of Panama that this occurred, a symbol and proof of the closeness of the ties that unite the two countries, because of their peculiar relations to the gigantic enterprise of digging the Panama Canal.
In the admirable address of President Amador to which we have just listened, the President rightly said that the United States and Panama are partners in the great work which is now being done here on this isthmus.
We are joint trustees for all the world in doing that work; and, President Amador, I hereby pledge on behalf of my country to you and your people the assurance of the heartiest support and of treatment on a basis of a full and complete and generous equality between the two Republics.
Nowhere else in the world at this moment is a work of such importance taking place as here on the Isthmus of Panama, for here is being performed the giant engineering feat of the ages; and it is a matter for deep gratitude that I am able to say that it is being well and worthily performed.
It is but a few weeks since the Secretary of State of the American Republic, Secretary Root, was your guest here in this city, he having at that time finished a tour of South America which in its interest and in its far-reaching importance dwarfed anything of the kind that had ever hitherto been done by a secretary of state of the American Republic.
Mr. Root, President Amador, at that time spoke to you and your people, giving his assurance of the hearty friendliness of spirit of the Republic of the North in its relations toward you and your people; and I wish here with all the emphasis possible to make Mr. Root’s words mine and to reiterate what he has said to you already — that the sole desire of the United States as regards the Republic of Panama is to see it increase in wealth, in numbers, in importance, until it becomes, as I so earnestly hope it will become, one of the republics whose history reflects honor upon the entire western world.
Such progress and prosperity, Mr. President, can come only through the preservation of both order and liberty; through the observance by those in power of all their rights, obligations, and duties to their fellow-citizens, and through the realization of those out of power that the insurrectionary habit, the habit of civil war, ultimately means destruction to the republic.
I now wish to thank you, President Amador, and all your people for the reception that has been accorded us.
Not only have I been immensely impressed with the tremendous work being done so successfully on this isthmus, but I have also been immensely impressed with the beauty and fertility of your country; and I prophesy for it a great future — a future which when the canal is completed will be of such a kind and will attain such dimensions as to make it indeed a proud boast to claim citizenship in Panama.
And now, Mr. President, in closing, I have but to say that not only do our people heartily wish well to Panama, but that we shall never interfere with her save to give her our aid in the attainment of her future.
The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential One Dollar Coin shows with an image of the president at the event for speeches in Panama on November 15, 1906.