NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
28th June, 1902 :The US Congress voted today to pass the Bill introduced by Senator Spooner. This authorises President Roosevelt to pay up to $40 million to build a canal across the Panama isthmus, between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In the recent years Congress has been the battleground for two rival groups: the French company, promoted by the engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps, and an American group who wanted to build a canal across Nicaragua, farther to the north. The Panama company is thought to have owed much of its success to the considerable lobbying skills of a New York lawyer, William Nelson Cromwell. He got the French company to drop its price to $40 million and shrewdly contributed $60,000 to Republican Party funds. President Roosevelt is enthusiastic about the canal, which will shorten the distance between the US coasts by 8,000 miles.