Spooner Act

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Spooner Act

Spooner Act, a decree that authorized the president of the United States to conduct negotiations for the Panama Canal route. In early 1902, when the U.S. government appeared ready to select a transisthmian route in Nicaragua, the French-owned New Panama Canal Company lowered the asking price for its Panamanian rights to $40 million, an act that persuaded the Interoceanic Canal Commission (popularly known as the Walker Commission) to reverse its original recommendation and favor the Panama route. This action prompted the Senate to amend the Hepburn Bill, which had authorized the Nicaraguan site, with a proposal made by John C. Spooner (Republican of Wisconsin) that directed President Theodore Roosevelt to first pursue the Panamanian option. Roosevelt signed the revised bill on 28 June 1902.

See alsoPanama Canal .


Dwight Carroll Miner, The Fight for the Panama Route: The Story of the Spooner Act and the Hay-Herrán Treaty (1940).

Charles D. Ameringer, "The Panama Canal Lobby of Philippe Bunau-Varilla and William Nelson Cromwell," in American Historical Review 68 (1963): 346-363.

David McCullough, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870–1914 (1977).

Additional Bibliography

Diaz Espino, Ovidio. How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2001.

Tack, Juan Antonio. El Canal de Panamá. Panamá: Universidad de Panamá: Editorial Universitaria Carlos Manuel Gasteazoro: Instituto del Canal de la Universidad de Panamá, 1999.

                                   Thomas M. Leonard