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American History Tellers

America’s Monuments | A Passage Through Panama | 2

For centuries, sailors and merchants dreamed of finding a passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans across the narrow isthmus of Central America. But no natural passage existed. To get ships across the fifty-mile stretch of land, someone would have to dig a canal.

The French tried first, and failed. Then, in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt and the U.S. took on the challenge. Struggling against harsh weather, forbidding terrain and political turmoil, the United States would endeavor not just to build a canal – but to establish itself as a formidable international power in the new century.

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