Lead: The construction of the Panama Canal was as much a triumph of manipulative diplomacy as it was the result of engineering genius. It took nearly a century to be set right.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: At the end of the nineteenth century the great powers of Europe were scrambling to absorb the few remaining parts of the world free of empire. In 1898 they were joined by the United States which in that imperial summer in short order had come to control Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Hawaii. However reluctant, the United States now was a colonial power with holdings in two oceans, and desired, needed and planned a canal to shorten the travel time between them.