Kenneth (kensmind) wrote in potus_geeks,

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Theodore Roosevelt and the Nobel Peace Prize

On December 10, 1906 (106 years ago today) President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the first American to ever win the award. He received the award for his part in negotiating a peace in the Russo-Japanese War.


The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 was fought between Russia and Japan. Russia was considered to be an international power with one of the largest armies in the world. Japan was a nation which had only recently emerged onto the world stage following two and a half centuries of isolation. The main issue in the war was rival imperial ambitions between the two nations over Manchuria and Korea.

Throughout 1905, the Imperial Russian government had to address growing feelings of revolution at home. The population was against escalation of the war. The Empire was certainly capable of sending more troops, but the poor state of the economy, the embarrassing defeats of the Russian army and navy by the Japanese, and the relative unimportance of the disputed land to Russia made the war unpopular at home. These factors and some unexpected naval defeats made Tsar Nicholas II open to negotiating peace so he could concentrate on domestic matters.

President Theodore Roosevelt offered to mediate a peace between the two nations. The negotiations began at Sagamore Hill when Roosevelt invited diplomats on both sides to his home in Oyster Bay. After meeting with all of them, he sent the diplomats out on board the presidential yacht Mayflower. Negotiations continued at and near a naval base at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, because it was federal property and cool in the summer. Delegates also went back and forth to Oyster Bay to confer with Roosevelt. Roosevelt set up the final settlement, and the treaty was signed at the US Navy base in Portsmouth on September 5, 1905.

Roosevelt wrote to the Nobel Prize Committee on January 8, 1907, stating:

"The medal and diploma will be prized by me throughout my life, and by my children after my death. I have turned over the money to a committee, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce and Labor, in trust, to be used as a foundation for promoting the cause of industrial peace in this country. In our modern civilization it is as essential to secure a righteous peace based upon sympathy and fair dealing between the different classes of society as it is to secure such a peace among the nations of the earth; and therefore I have felt that the use I have made of the amount of the Nobel Prize was one peculiarly in accordance with the spirit of the gift."
Tags: theodore roosevelt

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