Learn American History through 50 pop songs

Teddy Had a Little Canal

Synopsis

The Panama Canal is a 48mile ship canal that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. President Theodore Roosevelt secured the rights to build the canal after Panama won their independence from Columbia. The canal was completed in 1914.

Lyrics

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

Teddy Roosevelt wanted to dig a canal
Dig a canal, dig a canal
Teddy Roosevelt wanted to dig a canal
Right through the Isthmus of Panama

He knew this canal would connect
Canal would connect, canal would connect
He knew that this canal would connect
The Caribbean Sea and the Pacific

A boat ride from New York to San Francisco
New York to San Francisco, New York to San Francisco
A boat ride from New York to San Francisco
Would be reduced by 8000 miles

And this would surely save America
Surely save America, surely save America
And this would surely save America
Millions of dollars every year

So we let the Panamanians revolt
Panamanians revolt, Panamanians revolt
So we let the Panamanians revolt
And break away from Columbia

Then those nice folks in Panama allowed us
Panama allowed us, Panama allowed us
And then those nice folks in Panama allowed us
To build the Panama Canal

It took 40,000 workers ten whole years to build
Ten whole years to build, ten whole years to build
It took 40,000 workers ten whole years to build
But then Roosevelt had his canal

Because he spoke softly, and carried… a big stick!

Vocabulary

Teddy Roosevelt— Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was the 26th President of the United States. He was the president who had the Panama Canal built.

Isthmus of Panama— An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas usually with water on either side. The Isthmus of Panama is where the Panama Canal is located.

Panamanians Revolt— Panama gained their independence from Columbia in 1903.

Panama Canal— The Panama Canal is a 48mile ship canal that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and a key conduit for international trade.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

What is the Panama Canal? Under which president’s administration was the Panama Canal built?

Tier 2 Questions

Why was the Panama Canal an important accomplishment? How did the US benefit from it?

Tier 3 Questions

Besides the economic advantage the Panama Canal would give to the US, can you think of another reason that Roosevelt felt it was important for to build the canal and have a US controlled location in Central America? Explain thoroughly your thoughts on this.

Test Prep Questions

1) As a result of the Spanish-American War, the United States saw the need to build the Panama Canal because

  • (1) new colonies had been acquired in Africa
  • (2) Spanish opposition to the canal had ended
  • (3) the United States navy could then move more quickly between oceans
  • (4) United States railroads could not transport enough manufactured goods

2) The chief reason the United States built the Panama Canal was to

  • (1) close the Western Hemisphere to new European colonization
  • (2) reduce travel time for commercial and military shipping
  • (3) promote an isolationist foreign policy
  • (4) prevent the spread of communism

DBQ 1

Historical Context: During the 19th and 20th centuries, geography influenced many of the actions taken by the United States to expand its territory or to protect its national interests.

Task: Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document.

  • Discuss the influence of geography on actions that supported the territorial expansion and/or the protection of United States national interests during the 19th and 20th centuries

According to this map, how did the location of these possessions promote or protect United States interests?

Thematic Essay 1

Theme: Foreign Policy
During the course of its history, the United States has taken foreign policy actions that have been consistent with the national interest.

Task: Identify two events in United States history that demonstrate how the United States has promoted the national interest by taking foreign policy actions and for each event:

  • Discuss the historical circumstances that led the United States to take that action
  • Evaluate the success or failure of that foreign policy action in promoting the national interest of the United States

You may use any events from your study of United States history. Some suggestions you wish to consider include President George Washington’s Proclamation of Neutrality (1793), congressional declaration of war against Mexico (1846), acquisition of the rights to build the Panama Canal (1901), United States entry into World War I (1917), implementation of the Marshall Plan (1947), United States entry into the Korean War (1950), escalation of the Vietnam War beginning in 1964, and President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to negotiate the Camp David Accords (1978).