Taking Back Our Stolen History
The Monroe Doctrine was Expressed during President Monroe’s 7th Annual Message to Congress
The Monroe Doctrine was Expressed during President Monroe’s 7th Annual Message to Congress

The Monroe Doctrine was Expressed during President Monroe’s 7th Annual Message to Congress

The Monroe Doctrine was a declaration made by President James Monroe to Congress on December 2, 1823, claiming that the Western Hemisphere was now “off limits” to European powers by saying that no new colonies could be established in the Americas. It also stated that the US would remain neutral in affairs between these powers and their existing colonies, unless these conflicts occurred in the Americas.

Background

After the Napoleonic wars (which ended in 1815), almost all of Latin America revolted against Spanish or Portuguese rule and declared independence.[1] Americans welcomed this development as a validation of the spirit of Republicanism. Adams suggested delay in formal recognition until Florida was secured in in 1819. The whole problem of imperial invasion was intensified by a Russian claim to the Pacific coast down to the fifty-first parallel and simultaneous European pressure to have all of Latin America returned to its colonial status. In March 1822 Monroe informed Congress that permanent stable governments had been established in the United Provinces of La Plata (present-day Argentina), Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico. Adams, under Monroe’s careful supervision, wrote the instructions for the ministers (ambassadors) to these new countries. They declared that the policy of the United States was to uphold republican institutions and to seek treaties of commerce on a most-favored-nation basis. The United States would support inter-American congresses dedicated to the development of economic and political institutions fundamentally differing from those prevailing in Europe. The articulation of an “American system” distinct from that of Europe was a basic tenet of Monroe’s policy toward Latin America. Monroe took pride as the United States was the first nation to extend recognition and to set an example to the rest of the world for its support of the “cause of liberty and humanity.”

Formulation

Monroe and Adams realized that American recognition would not protect the new countries against military intervention to restore Spain’s power. In October 1823 Richard Rush, the American minister in London, advised that Foreign Secretary George Canning was proposing that the U.S. and Britain jointly declare their opposition to European intervention. Galvanized by the British initiative, Monroe consulted with American leaders and then formulated a plan with Adams and incorporated it in his annual message to Congress in December 1823. The principles that have become known as the Monroe Doctrine.

The Monroe Doctrine, which followed up George Washington’s admonitions against foreign entanglements, was the work of British Foreign Minister George Canning and Monroe’s Secretary of State John Quincy Adams more than of Monroe. At the time it pertained more to the Russians in North America than to the former Spanish colonies in South America. The result was a system of American isolationism under the sponsorship of the British navy.

The Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine held that the United States considered the Western Hemisphere as no longer a place for European colonization; that any future effort to gain further political control in the hemisphere or to violate the independence of existing states would be treated as an act of hostility; and finally that there existed two different and incompatible political systems in the world. Therefore, the United States promised to refrain from intervention in European affairs and demanded Europe to abstain from interfering with American matters. In the event there were few serious European attempts at intervention.

By the time James Polk was elected president in 1844, the Monroe Doctrine was regarded abroad not so much as a shining white sword to debar evil European nations from despoiling South America, but as a handy all-purpose weapon, by means of which the United States could carve out vast tracts of territory for itself in the northern hemisphere. It did not become relevant to South America until the Venezuela-British Guiana dispute of 1895. Its prestige reached its zenith under Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), who interpreted it to give the United States police powers. Since that time it has been known as the Roosevelt Corollary.

The most important violation was the French takeover of Mexico during the American Civil War; at war’s end the U.S. sent a combat army to the border and the French went home.

Source: Conservapedia

Excerpts of the Monroe Doctrine

. . . 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. . . .

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