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Monroe Doctrine declared

Monroe Doctrine declared



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During his annual address to Congress, President James Monroe proclaims a new U.S. foreign policy initiative that becomes known as the “Monroe Doctrine.” Primarily the work of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the Monroe Doctrine forbade European interference in the American hemisphere but also asserted U.S. neutrality in regard to future European conflicts.

The origins of the Monroe Doctrine stem from attempts by several European powers to reassert their influence in the Americas in the early 1820s. In North America, Russia had attempted to expand its influence in the Alaska territory, and in Central and South America the U.S. government feared a Spanish colonial resurgence. Britain too was actively seeking a major role in the political and economic future of the Americas, and Adams feared a subservient role for the United States in an Anglo-American alliance.

The United States invoked the Monroe Doctrine to defend its increasingly imperialistic role in the Americas in the mid-19th century, but it was not until the Spanish-American War in 1898 that the United States declared war against a European power over its interference in the American hemisphere. The isolationist position of the Monroe Doctrine was also a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in the 19th century, and it took the two world wars of the 20th century to draw a hesitant America into its new role as a major global power.


The Monroe Doctrine, 1823

President James Monroe’s 1823 annual message to Congress included a warning to European powers not to interfere in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere. This portion of the address is known as the Monroe Doctrine.

The United States was wary of European intervention in Florida, the Pacific Northwest, and Latin America. In 1821, Russia claimed control of the entire Pacific coast from Alaska to Oregon and closed the area to foreign shipping. This development coincided with rumors that Spain, with the help of European allies, was planning to reconquer its former Latin American colonies.

European intervention threatened British as well as American interests. Britain had a flourishing trade with Latin America, which would decline if Spain regained its New World colonies, and had claims to territory in the Oregon country of the Pacific Northwest. In 1823, British Foreign Minister George Canning proposed that the United States and Britain jointly announce their opposition to further European intervention in the Americas.

Secretary of State John Quincy Adams opposed a joint declaration. He convinced President Monroe to make a unilateral declaration of American policy—known as the Monroe Doctrine. Monroe announced that the Western Hemisphere was henceforth closed to further European colonization or puppet monarchs. He also said that the United States would not interfere in internal European affairs.

For much of the nineteenth century, the United States lacked the military strength to prevent European intervention in the New World. But since European meddling threatened British as well as American interests, the Monroe Doctrine was enforced by the Royal Navy. Nevertheless, for the American people, the Monroe Doctrine was the proud symbol of American hegemony in the Western Hemisphere. Unilaterally, the United States had defined its rights and interests in the New World.

An image of the portion of the address known as the Monroe Doctrine is available here.A transcript of the Doctrine excerpted from the newspaper printing is available.

Excerpt

Our policy, in regard to Europe, which was adopted at an early stage of the wars which have so long agitated that quarter of the globe, nevertheless remains the same, which is, not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers to consider the government de facto as the legitimate government for us to cultivate friendly relations with it, and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy, meeting, in all instances, the just claims of every power submitting to injuries from none. But, in regard to those continents, circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different.

It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent, without endangering our peace and happiness nor can any one believe that our Southern Brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interposition, in any form, with indifference. If we look to the comparative strength and resources of Spain and those new governments, and their distance from each other, it must be obvious that she can never subdue them. It is still the true policy of the United States, to leave the parties to themselves, in the hope that other powers will pursue the same course.


Monroe Doctrine, 1823

In his December 2, 1823, address to Congress, President James Monroe articulated United States’ policy on the new political order developing in the rest of the Americas and the role of Europe in the Western Hemisphere.

The statement, known as the Monroe Doctrine, was little noted by the Great Powers of Europe, but eventually became a longstanding tenet of U.S. foreign policy. Monroe and his Secretary of State John Quincy Adams drew upon a foundation of American diplomatic ideals such as disentanglement from European affairs and defense of neutral rights as expressed in Washington’s Farewell Address and Madison’s stated rationale for waging the War of 1812. The three main concepts of the doctrine—separate spheres of influence for the Americas and Europe, non-colonization, and non-intervention—were designed to signify a clear break between the New World and the autocratic realm of Europe. Monroe’s administration forewarned the imperial European powers against interfering in the affairs of the newly independent Latin American states or potential United States territories. While Americans generally objected to European colonies in the New World, they also desired to increase United States influence and trading ties throughout the region to their south. European mercantilism posed the greatest obstacle to economic expansion. In particular, Americans feared that Spain and France might reassert colonialism over the Latin American peoples who had just overthrown European rule. Signs that Russia was expanding its presence southward from Alaska toward the Oregon Territory were also disconcerting.

For their part, the British also had a strong interest in ensuring the demise of Spanish colonialism, with all the trade restrictions mercantilism imposed. Earlier in 1823 British Foreign Minister George Canning suggested to Americans that two nations issue a joint declaration to deter any other power from intervening in Central and South America. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, however, vigorously opposed cooperation with Great Britain, contending that a statement of bilateral nature could limit United States expansion in the future. He also argued that the British were not committed to recognizing the Latin American republics and must have had imperial motivations themselves.

The bilateral statement proposed by the British thereby became a unilateral declaration by the United States. As Monroe stated: “The American continents … are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.” Monroe outlined two separate spheres of influence: the Americas and Europe. The independent lands of the Western Hemisphere would be solely the United States’ domain. In exchange, the United States pledged to avoid involvement in the political affairs of Europe, such as the ongoing Greek struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire, and not to interfere in the existing European colonies already in the Americas.


How Many Presidential Doctrines Have There Been?

Moving to protect American hegemony in the Western Hemisphere, President James Monroe declared that henceforth the U.S. would stop any European nation from interfering in the affairs of any country not already colonized.

Fearing France would attempt to develop colonies in Latin America, Britain asked the U.S. to join the empire in publicly denouncing French ambitions. While siding with Britain in the matter, the Monroe Administration decided to issue its own statement, sending a clear signal to European powers that any interference in the Western Hemisphere would be considered an act of hostility. Ironically, the United States depended on the British navy to enforce the policy, which didn’t become known as the Monroe Doctrine, until some time later.

Polk Doctrine

A reiteration of the Monroe Doctrine, warning European powers that any encroachment on the North American continent would be met with resistance.

After Texas won its independence from Mexico, French parliamentary deputies publicly stated it was desirable that Texas remain independent. President Polk, in response, declared that the fate of the North America continent would be decided by Americans, not Europeans.

Roosevelt Corollary

The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declared that the United States would act as the policeman of the Western hemisphere if a country doing business with Europe was guilty of" chronic wrongdoing or impotence."

European countries seeking to collect back payments from small states in the Caribbean led Roosevelt to fear that Europeans would begin intervening in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere. To make sure this didn’t happen, TR announced that the United States would force the countries to repay their debts, thereby preserving the Monroe Doctrine.

Truman Doctrine

To suppress the possibility of a communist insurgency in Greece and Turkey, President Truman lobbied congress to provide military and economic aid which amounted to $400 million.

Weakened by two world wars, England had relinquished its commitment to Greece and Turkey and urged the U.S. to step in to save them from communist subversion. In 1947 President Truman asked Congress for $400 million in aid for the two Mediterranean countries. Truman told Congress it"must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressure."

Eisenhower Doctrine

Expanding on the Truman Doctrine, the Eisenhower Doctrine declares it is the policy of the United States to intervene militarily in the Middle East to protect legitimate governments from communist subversion.

In 1958 the Lebanese government requested help when pan-Arab nationalists threatened to stage a coup. President Eisenhower, fearful the Soviet Union would exploit the situation to obtain a foothold in the Middle East, and worried about American dependence on Middle East oil, deployed the Marines to save the existing government. The coup was never attempted and the Marines were withdrawn in October.

Nixon Doctrine

The Nixon Doctrine encouraged Asian allies to slowly wean themselves off U.S. military aid in the war on communism.

Concerned that Asian countries were relying too heavily on the United States for protection against communist subversion, President Nixon casually mentioned during a press conference in 1969 that they should gradually assume more responsibility for their own survival. Over time he used the doctrine to justify the sale of major weapons to the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and other countries in Asia and the Middle East. President Nixon insisted the United States would stick with Vietnam until a just peace was arranged. But he was determined to slowly reduce American involvement in the war through a process known as Vietnamization. By requiring the Vietnamese to slowly take over their own defense, he was able to withdraw hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops during his first term.

Carter Doctrine 1980

The Carter Doctrine committed the United States to protect the countries of the Persian Gulf from outside interference.

Responding to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, President Carter warned that the United States would regard a Soviet attack on the Persian Gulf states as an"assault on the vital interests of the United States." He added:"such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Weinberger Doctrine

The Weinberger Doctrine, named in honor of Reagan’s Secretary of Defense, declares it is the policy of the United States to use its military forces only in the defense of American vital interests.

Concerned about the overextension of American military forces, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger argued during the Reagan administration that force should be used only when American vital interests are directly threatened. He opposed the use of the military as peacemakers in Lebanon in the early 1980s. Shortly after their deployment they came under attack.

Powell Doctrine

The Powell Doctrine states that military force should only be used to win an overwhelming victory in a short period of time.

Shaken by the disaster of the Vietnam War, Colin Powell, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the administration of George H.W. Bush, was determined never to commit U.S. troops to another war unless all-out victory was the goal. Like his colleague, Caspar Weinberger, he opposed the use of force unless American vital interests were involved. In the weeks following Iraq’s attack on Kuwait, Powell waffled when asked if the United States should try to force Saddam Hussein to withdraw. President Bush alone decided to confront Saddam, announcing his policy during a televised press conference, to the astonishment of Colin Powell, who had not been informed in advance.

Clinton Doctrine

This informal doctrine, never officially articulated by the administration, argued that the best way to ensure stability in regions of interest to the United States was to combat instability wherever it may occur. Reasoning that no matter how seemingly insignificant the areas where instability may arise, violence and disorder can intensify and spread, ultimately threatening United States interests at home and abroad. To stymie potential problems, regional and ethnic conflicts must be addressed as early as possible.

Often accused of not having a comprehensive stance on the use of military power, or if so, criticized for involving the United States in potential quagmires such as the Balkans, the Middle East, and Ireland, President Clinton argued that military intervention was justified"where our values and our interests are at stake, and when we can make a difference." His secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, dismissed the qualms of military experts who believed in the Powell Doctrine. What’s a big military for, she would ask, if it’s not to be used?

Bush Doctrine

The Bush Doctrine declares it is the policy of the United States government to go after all terrorists with a global reach and the states which harbor them. A key element is the right of the United States to preempt an attack on the United States in order to" confront the worst threats before they emerge."

After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress. During his speech he committed the United States to a global war on terrorism. Using moralistic language, he declared that the countries of the world had to decide if they were for us or the terrorists. See: Daniel Pipes: The Bush Doctrine .


History Lessons: Five Myths about America’s Rise

Beijing assumes that America’s rise in its hemisphere was assured, and uses such as model to claim dominance over East Asia. It ignores the complicated history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Chinese officials are increasingly invoking examples from American history to justify their efforts to dominate the South China Sea and establish a broader sphere of influence throughout the Indo-Pacific theater. Beijing, they contend, is merely following America’s model as it rose to power in the nineteenth century. There is little difference, Chinese leaders argue, between China’s assertion of the nine-dash line and the President James Monroe's proclamation of his eponymous doctrine which in 1823 warned Europe not to interfere in the Western Hemisphere, with some American scholars in agreement, warning that the rejection of a similar Chinese sphere of influence by the United States could be considered hypocritical.

These assertions, shared by both Chinese and Americans are based, however, on a series of historical myths that have long misrepresented the impact of the Monroe Doctrine on the creation of an independent Latin America, the nature of American power and influence in the Western Hemisphere, the ambitions of its national objectives throughout the nineteenth century, and most important of all, its relationship with Great Britain. Their acceptance has allowed China to ignore the truly salient lessons it should take from America’s experience facing Great Britain, namely that rising powers must walk a dangerous tightrope as they ascend in a world already dominated by a great power.

Myth No.1: The United States Was the Rising Power in the Nineteenth Century

To most Americans, the rise of the United States had to have been the central story of the nineteenth century. However, this belief is incorrect. While the rise of the United States was obviously important, it played a secondary role in the emergence of Great Britain with its expanding commercial empire laying the foundations for the global economic system until World War II.

In 1815 the Duke of Wellington led an allied army to victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, ending 125 years of warfare between Britain and France. The new era of peace enabled Great Britain to become the first global superpower. Over the next hundred years, Britain would use its vast naval power to establish the world’s first global economy and a worldwide system of bases and “choke points” to control international trade. During the 1840s Britain began its experiment in free trade with the repeal of the “corn laws”—a series of tariffs designed to protect British agricultural production—unlocking enormous economic benefits to the British economy and allowing British commerce to dominate the world.

Britain would soon develop a global commercial and financial network that brought both Latin America and East Asia into its “informal empire.” The switch from sail to steam power in the mid nineteenth century further enhanced Britain’s global dominance as the great maritime powers became dependent on Welsh anthracite, the highest-grade coal for maritime use in the world. Britain sparked the first global telecommunications revolution by connecting the world with a network of undersea telegraph cables encased in a rubbery, waterproof substance called gutta percha, which Britain held the monopoly.

Far from a state in decline as many argue, Great Britain at the turn of the twentieth century would remain the world’s leading power with the Royal Navy and the city of London its most powerful instruments. British bankers financed 75 percent of the world’s investments, 50 percent of the world’s trade flowed on British ships, and 80 percent of its global communications on British cables. It would take two world wars to shake the foundation of British power and open the door for the United States.

Myth No. 2: The Atlantic Ocean Protected a Young United States from Europe’s Great Powers

One of the most enduring—and peculiar—myths in American history is that the “United States is the luckiest great power in history” with a geographical location that has enabled it to remain secure throughout much of its history. This argument is often supported by a quote from Jean-Jules Jusserand, France’s ambassador to the United States from 1902–1924, who enviously explained, “on the north, she has a weak neighbor on the south, another weak neighbor on the east fish, and the west fish.” In fact, the ambassador’s history was astonishingly wrong, an artifact of early twentieth-century European insecurities regarding America’s emergence as a great power and an effort to dismiss America’s rise as a consequence of providence.

Instead, a young United States faced hostile European powers eager to limit the nation’s expansion. British North America (later known as Canada) bordered it to the north and the Spanish Empire to its west and south. Along with France, both nations maintained naval bases only a few hundred miles from America’s shoreline with the easy ability to blockade American commerce and attack U.S. coastal cities. The Royal Navy’s powerful North American squadron operated out of Halifax, Bermuda, and Jamaica, the French maintained naval stations on the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and the Spanish kept bases in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

America’s strategic predicament only worsened as the century progressed. A U.S. military delegation observing the Crimean War (1853–1855) warned that British and French militaries had become so advanced that they could devastate American coastal defenses with floating “ironclad” batteries armed with massive guns, blockade the United States with powerful fleets, and land tens of thousands of troops at strategic points along the East coast, which the United States would be unable to repel. It would not be until the early twentieth century before President Theodore Roosevelt would build a navy that could credibly protect America’s shoreline from possible attack.

Myth No. 3: The Monroe Doctrine Established American Dominance over the Western Hemisphere in the Early Nineteenth Century

On December 2, 1823, President James Monroe transmitted his annual message to Congress, including four paragraphs warning European powers not to interfere in the Western Hemisphere. Monroe offered a deal the United States would leave Europe to the Europeans if Europe did not intervene against the newly established republics in the Western Hemisphere. He warned that the United States would consider any European effort to restore Spanish power or claim new colonies in the Western Hemisphere “a hostile act against the United States.” The Monroe Doctrine quickly secured its place in American lore as the moment the United States declared the “New World” its sphere of influence ending centuries of European dominance.

The story of the origins of the Monroe Doctrine, is just that, the story of how John Quincy Adams convinced President Monroe to include his famous warning to the European powers in his address to Congress. It is not, however, the story of how Spanish America became independent of Spain and how America established itself as the dominant power (or regional hegemon) over the Western Hemisphere. That tale begins and ends with Great Britain’s role in defining the future of Spanish America following the rebellions sparked by Napoleon’s overthrow of Spain’s King Ferdinand VII in 1808 and his replacement with Napoleon’s brother, Joseph.

Following Napoleon’s catastrophic retreat from Moscow in 1812 Britain’s foreign minister, the Viscount Castlereagh, laid out Britain’s strategy to its European partners: Europe’s powers would not intervene if Spain failed to regain control over its empire in the Americas, nor would they seek colonies of their own. Castlereagh achieved his objective by the 1818 conference at Aix la Chapel when he convinced Russia, Austria, France, and Prussia to reject a Spanish appeal for military assistance following a string of military defeats in the New World. Castlereagh implored Ferdinand VII to emulate Britain’s example following its defeat at Yorktown in 1781 and accept the loss of its colonies.

As only France had the naval power to assist Spain in retaking its lost empire Paris became the focus of Britain’s attention. Following Castlereagh’s death, the new Foreign Minister George Canning summoned the French Ambassador to London, Prince Jules de Polignac, for a series of “interviews” during which he convinced the Ambassador to accept a policy of non-intervention. In October of 1823 Canning and the Prince signed a memorandum of understanding known as the Polignac Memorandum where France declared that it would not intervene to restore Spanish power in the Western Hemisphere. This agreement freed Britain to begin recognition of the new countries following the announcement of the Monroe Doctrine two months later, Canning ordered lithographic copies of the memorandum distributed throughout Latin America to demonstrate Britain’s critical role in their independence.

With Latin America independent, British, French, and even German influence in the New World expanded by leaps and bounds. Both London and Paris had lusted after Spanish America’s wealth since the first galleons laden with gold and silver returned to Spain in the sixteenth century. Soon, the two capitols competed for influence among the new nations of South America building lucrative trade and investment ties throughout the region.

Britain and France quickly replaced Spain to become Latin America’s chief political and economic partner—all at the expense of America’s standing in the hemisphere. France appealed to a common “Latin” social, religious, linguistic, and cultural history while Britain used its vast financial and commercial power to tie the new states into its global economic system. During the 1820s alone the City of London approved massive investments in the region totaling twenty million pounds—resulting in Latin America’s first major debt crisis.


How Many Presidential Doctrines Have There Been?

Moving to protect American hegemony in the Western Hemisphere, President James Monroe declared that henceforth the U.S. would stop any European nation from interfering in the affairs of any country not already colonized.

Fearing France would attempt to develop colonies in Latin America, Britain asked the U.S. to join the empire in publicly denouncing French ambitions. While siding with Britain in the matter, the Monroe Administration decided to issue its own statement, sending a clear signal to European powers that any interference in the Western Hemisphere would be considered an act of hostility. Ironically, the United States depended on the British navy to enforce the policy, which didn’t become known as the Monroe Doctrine, until some time later.

Polk Doctrine

A reiteration of the Monroe Doctrine, warning European powers that any encroachment on the North American continent would be met with resistance.

After Texas won its independence from Mexico, French parliamentary deputies publicly stated it was desirable that Texas remain independent. President Polk, in response, declared that the fate of the North America continent would be decided by Americans, not Europeans.

Roosevelt Corollary

The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declared that the United States would act as the policeman of the Western hemisphere if a country doing business with Europe was guilty of" chronic wrongdoing or impotence."

European countries seeking to collect back payments from small states in the Caribbean led Roosevelt to fear that Europeans would begin intervening in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere. To make sure this didn’t happen, TR announced that the United States would force the countries to repay their debts, thereby preserving the Monroe Doctrine.

Truman Doctrine

To suppress the possibility of a communist insurgency in Greece and Turkey, President Truman lobbied congress to provide military and economic aid which amounted to $400 million.

Weakened by two world wars, England had relinquished its commitment to Greece and Turkey and urged the U.S. to step in to save them from communist subversion. In 1947 President Truman asked Congress for $400 million in aid for the two Mediterranean countries. Truman told Congress it"must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressure."

Eisenhower Doctrine

Expanding on the Truman Doctrine, the Eisenhower Doctrine declares it is the policy of the United States to intervene militarily in the Middle East to protect legitimate governments from communist subversion.

In 1958 the Lebanese government requested help when pan-Arab nationalists threatened to stage a coup. President Eisenhower, fearful the Soviet Union would exploit the situation to obtain a foothold in the Middle East, and worried about American dependence on Middle East oil, deployed the Marines to save the existing government. The coup was never attempted and the Marines were withdrawn in October.

Nixon Doctrine

The Nixon Doctrine encouraged Asian allies to slowly wean themselves off U.S. military aid in the war on communism.

Concerned that Asian countries were relying too heavily on the United States for protection against communist subversion, President Nixon casually mentioned during a press conference in 1969 that they should gradually assume more responsibility for their own survival. Over time he used the doctrine to justify the sale of major weapons to the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and other countries in Asia and the Middle East. President Nixon insisted the United States would stick with Vietnam until a just peace was arranged. But he was determined to slowly reduce American involvement in the war through a process known as Vietnamization. By requiring the Vietnamese to slowly take over their own defense, he was able to withdraw hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops during his first term.

Carter Doctrine 1980

The Carter Doctrine committed the United States to protect the countries of the Persian Gulf from outside interference.

Responding to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, President Carter warned that the United States would regard a Soviet attack on the Persian Gulf states as an"assault on the vital interests of the United States." He added:"such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Weinberger Doctrine

The Weinberger Doctrine, named in honor of Reagan’s Secretary of Defense, declares it is the policy of the United States to use its military forces only in the defense of American vital interests.

Concerned about the overextension of American military forces, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger argued during the Reagan administration that force should be used only when American vital interests are directly threatened. He opposed the use of the military as peacemakers in Lebanon in the early 1980s. Shortly after their deployment they came under attack.

Powell Doctrine

The Powell Doctrine states that military force should only be used to win an overwhelming victory in a short period of time.

Shaken by the disaster of the Vietnam War, Colin Powell, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the administration of George H.W. Bush, was determined never to commit U.S. troops to another war unless all-out victory was the goal. Like his colleague, Caspar Weinberger, he opposed the use of force unless American vital interests were involved. In the weeks following Iraq’s attack on Kuwait, Powell waffled when asked if the United States should try to force Saddam Hussein to withdraw. President Bush alone decided to confront Saddam, announcing his policy during a televised press conference, to the astonishment of Colin Powell, who had not been informed in advance.

Clinton Doctrine

This informal doctrine, never officially articulated by the administration, argued that the best way to ensure stability in regions of interest to the United States was to combat instability wherever it may occur. Reasoning that no matter how seemingly insignificant the areas where instability may arise, violence and disorder can intensify and spread, ultimately threatening United States interests at home and abroad. To stymie potential problems, regional and ethnic conflicts must be addressed as early as possible.

Often accused of not having a comprehensive stance on the use of military power, or if so, criticized for involving the United States in potential quagmires such as the Balkans, the Middle East, and Ireland, President Clinton argued that military intervention was justified"where our values and our interests are at stake, and when we can make a difference." His secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, dismissed the qualms of military experts who believed in the Powell Doctrine. What’s a big military for, she would ask, if it’s not to be used?

Bush Doctrine

The Bush Doctrine declares it is the policy of the United States government to go after all terrorists with a global reach and the states which harbor them. A key element is the right of the United States to preempt an attack on the United States in order to" confront the worst threats before they emerge."

After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress. During his speech he committed the United States to a global war on terrorism. Using moralistic language, he declared that the countries of the world had to decide if they were for us or the terrorists. See: Daniel Pipes: The Bush Doctrine .


Monroe Doctrine (1823)

The Monroe Doctrine was articulated in President James Monroe's seventh annual message to Congress on December 2, 1823. The European powers, according to Monroe, were obligated to respect the Western Hemisphere as the United States' sphere of interest.

President James Monroe’s 1823 annual message to Congress contained the Monroe Doctrine, which warned European powers not to interfere in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere.

Understandably, the United States has always taken a particular interest in its closest neighbors – the nations of the Western Hemisphere. Equally understandably, expressions of this concern have not always been favorably regarded by other American nations.

The Monroe Doctrine is the best known U.S. policy toward the Western Hemisphere. Buried in a routine annual message delivered to Congress by President James Monroe in December 1823, the doctrine warns European nations that the United States would not tolerate further colonization or puppet monarchs. The doctrine was conceived to meet major concerns of the moment, but it soon became a watchword of U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere.

The Monroe Doctrine was invoked in 1865 when the U.S. government exerted diplomatic and military pressure in support of the Mexican President Benito Juárez. This support enabled Juárez to lead a successful revolt against the Emperor Maximilian, who had been placed on the throne by the French government.

Almost 40 years later, in 1904, European creditors of a number of Latin American countries threatened armed intervention to collect debts. President Theodore Roosevelt promptly proclaimed the right of the United States to exercise an “international police power” to curb such “chronic wrongdoing.” As a result, U. S. Marines were sent into Santo Domingo in 1904, Nicaragua in 1911, and Haiti in 1915, ostensibly to keep the Europeans out. Other Latin American nations viewed these interventions with misgiving, and relations between the “great Colossus of the North” and its southern neighbors remained strained for many years.

In 1962, the Monroe Doctrine was invoked symbolically when the Soviet Union began to build missile-launching sites in Cuba. With the support of the Organization of American States, President John F. Kennedy threw a naval and air quarantine around the island. After several tense days, the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw the missiles and dismantle the sites. Subsequently, the United States dismantled several of its obsolete air and missile bases in Turkey.

(Information excerpted from Milestone Documents [Washington, DC: The National Archives and Records Administration, 1995] pp. 26󈞉.)


Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was first set out in a speech by President James Monroe on December 2, 1823. The ideas are grounded in much earlier thinking, such as the "Farewell Address" of George Washington, in which he inveyed against close political association with European states, and in the first inaugural address of Thomas Jefferson. The idea of an exceptional status for the United States and for the Western Hemisphere had been launched before Monroe`s address to Congress. By 1822, only Bolivia remained as a Spanish colony in Latin America. All the others had declared independence. In the Caribbean, however, several islands remained under Spanish control, most notably Cuba and Puerto Rico. When European war clouds appeared in April 1823, the United States feared that Spain`s Caribbean colonies might be ceded to either France or Britain, which was a disturbing prospect. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams sent a letter to Hugh Nelson, the American minister to Spain, outlining his concerns:

  • The Western Hemisphere was no longer open for colonization
  • The political system of the Americas was different from Europe
  • The United States would regard any interference in Western hemispheric affairs as a threat to its security
  • The United States would refrain from participation in European wars and would not disturb existing colonies in the Western Hemisphere

A Nationalist Foreign Policy: The Monroe Doctrine

Part of President James Monroe’s State of the Union message to Congress on December 2, 1823, the “Monroe Doctrine” was the brainchild of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams. It was a response to the continued European intervention and interference in the affairs of newly independent nations in Central and South America. The Monroe Doctrine, with its stated desire of the United States to stay out of the affairs of Europe, and for Europe to stay out of the affairs of the Western Hemisphere, would be one of the driving forces of US foreign policy until the early 20th century.

. . . At the proposal of the Russian Imperial Government, made through the minister of the Emperor residing here, a full power and instructions have been transmitted to the minister of the United States at St. Petersburg to arrange by amicable negotiation the respective rights and interests of the two nations on the northwest coast of this continent. A similar proposal has been made by His Imperial Majesty to the Government of Great Britain, which has likewise been acceded to. The Government of the United States has been desirous by this friendly proceeding of manifesting the great value which they have invariably attached to the friendship of the Emperor and their solicitude to cultivate the best understanding with his Government. In the discussions to which this interest has given rise and in the arrangements by which they may terminate the occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers. . .

It was stated at the commencement of the last session that a great effort was then making in Spain and Portugal to improve the condition of the people of those countries, and that it appeared to be conducted with extraordinary moderation. It need scarcely be remarked that the results have been so far very different from what was then anticipated. Of events in that quarter of the globe, with which we have so much intercourse and from which we derive our origin, we have always been anxious and interested spectators. The citizens of the United States cherish sentiments the most friendly in favor of the liberty and happiness of their fellow-men on that side of the Atlantic. In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Governments and to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintain it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. In the war between those new Governments and Spain we declared our neutrality at the time of their recognition, and to this we have adhered, and shall continue to adhere, provided no change shall occur which, in the judgement of the competent authorities of this Government, shall make a corresponding change on the part of the United States indispensable to their security.

The late events in Spain and Portugal shew that Europe is still unsettled. Of this important fact no stronger proof can be adduced than that the allied powers should have thought it proper, on any principle satisfactory to themselves, to have interposed by force in the internal concerns of Spain. To what extent such interposition may be carried, on the same principle, is a question in which all independent powers whose governments differ from theirs are interested, even those most remote, and surely none of them more so than the United States. Our policy in regard to Europe, which was adopted at an early stage of the wars which have so long agitated that quarter of the globe, nevertheless remains the same, which is, not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers to consider the government de facto as the legitimate government for us to cultivate friendly relations with it, and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy, meeting in all instances the just claims of every power, submitting to injuries from none. But in regard to those continents circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different.

It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness nor can anyone believe that our southern brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interposition in any form with indifference. If we look to the comparative strength and resources of Spain and those new Governments, and their distance from each other, it must be obvious that she can never subdue them. It is still the true policy of the United States to leave the parties to themselves, in hope that other powers will pursue the same course. . . .

Question for consideration:

How does the policy outlined by Monroe promise a different result than what occurred during the Washington, Adams, and Jefferson administrations?


Monroe Doctrine

On October 17, 1823, President James Monroe wrote a letter to his friend and Virginia neighbor Thomas Jefferson seeking advice on foreign policy. The issue at hand was whether to accept an offer from Great Britain to issue a joint declaration warning other powers such as Spain and France not to intervene in the affairs of Central and South America.

…shall we entangle ourselves at all, in European politicks, & wars, on the side of any power, against others…?

Letter, James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson Seeking Foreign Policy Advice, October 17, 1823. (Thomas Jefferson Papers). Manuscript Division

Both Jefferson and former president James Madison, whom Monroe also had consulted, recommended cooperation with Britain. However, Monroe’s Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, was more cautious, arguing instead for an independent denunciation of any further European colonization in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to the potential threat from Spain and France, Adams was also concerned about Russian encroachments on the west coast of North America. “It would be more candid,” Adams warned Monroe at a November 7, 1823, cabinet meeting, “as well as more dignified, to avow our principles explicitly to Russia and France, than to come in as a cockboat in the wake of the British man-of-war.”

Heeding Adams’s advice, Monroe chose to pursue a course independent of Great Britain. He outlined his policy, later known as the Monroe Doctrine, in an address to Congress on December 2, 1823. “We should consider any attempt [on the part of European nations],” Monroe declared, “to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.” Monroe also stated, “that the American continents…are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.” Although the United States initially lacked the power or influence to uphold the Monroe Doctrine, it remained in force largely because it was consistent with Great Britain’s interest in maintaining access to Latin American markets.

As the United States gained military and economic strength, American leaders began to interpret the Monroe Doctrine as justification for U.S. involvement in Latin America. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt, who had been an enthusiastic supporter of the Spanish-American War, added the “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine. In order to prevent European nations from involving themselves in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere, the Roosevelt Corollary proclaimed that if a Latin American country failed to maintain internal order or pay its international debts, the United States had the exclusive right to intervene with military force to rectify the situation.

Keep off! The Monroe Doctrine must be respected. Lithograph by Victor illustrated in Judge, February 15, 1896, p. 108-109. Prints & Photographs Division


Watch the video: Marilyn Monroe #MarilynMonroe Statue (August 2022).