American Minute for February 23
Planned by President William McKinley, construction on the canal began under President Theodore Roosevelt.
President William Taft stated in his Address to Congress, December 6, 1912:
"Our defense of the Panama Canal, together with our enormous world trade and our missionary outposts on the frontiers of civilization, require us to recognize our position as one of the foremost in the family of nations, and to clothe ourselves with sufficient naval power to give force to our reasonable demands, and to give weight to our influence in those directions of progress that a powerful Christian nation should advocate."
President Woodrow Wilson, in his Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 23, 1913, stated:
"We have seen the practical completion of a great work at the Isthmus of Panama which not only exemplifies the nation's abundant capacity of its public servants but also promises the beginning of a new age of co-operation and peace. 'Righteousness exalteth a nation' and 'peace on earth, good will towards men' furnish the only foundation upon which can be built the lasting achievements of the human spirit."
On March 31, 1976, California Governor Ronald Reagan stated:
"Well, the Canal Zone is not a colonial possession. It is not a long-term lease. It is sovereign United States Territory every bit the same as Alaska and all the states that were carved from the Louisiana Purchase. . . We bought it, we paid for it, we built it, and we intend to keep it."
President Jimmy Carter gave away the Panama Canal in 1977. Passage through the ports at either end, Balboa and Cristobal, is now effectively controlled by China's Huchinson Whampoa's Panama Ports Company, a situation similar to the U.S. Government restricting oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, only to have Cuba consider letting China to drill there.
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