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Marcus A. Hanna, 1903

Senator Marcus Aurelius (Mark) Hanna of Ohio was so influential in the decision to construct the canal in Panama that other senators called it the “Hannama Canal.”

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Marcus A. Hanna, 1903

The Panama Canal

By the 1880s Congress considered a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans essential for commerce and defense, but disagreements about its location became a “Battle of the Routes.” Senator John Tyler Morgan of Alabama, head of the Committee on Inter-Oceanic Canals, wanted it in Nicaragua, near southern U.S. ports. Senator Mark Hanna of Ohio wanted to complete a canal in Panama begun by a French company. In 1904, after the U.S. militarily supported Panama’s independence from Colombia, the Senate approved a canal treaty with Panama.