Skip to main content
This program is over. Hope you didn't miss it!

Building the Panama Canal: A Controversial Symbol of American Might

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0718
Select your Tickets
Powered by Zoom

SS Ancon entering the Mira Flores lower locks, Panama Canal, 1914 (Library of Congress)

Building the Panama Canal early in the 20th century was either a bold, decisive diplomatic stroke that claimed America’s rightful place on the world stage or a crude display of arrogance and corruption. Either way, it was a project tailor-made for the take-charge mindset of Teddy Roosevelt who viewed its construction as the centerpiece of America’s growing global power. It remained controversial for three-quarters of a century, unleashing one of the most contentious foreign-policy debates in American history over ceding the canal to Panama.

Historian Ralph Nurnberger, who served on the staff of the Senate Committee that oversaw the Panama Canal treaties, examines the sweep of the canal saga and addresses such problematic issues as why the U.S. claimed the right to build a canal in another country, and why Panama was chosen.

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for online programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our online programs presented on Zoom.
This online program is presented on Zoom.