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and European Studies
Social History and Government of the United States of America
Teacher: Charles D. HARRIS
American Fulbright Fellow in Romania
Submitted by Bartok Andrea-Eva (RISE, an III, gr.3)
James Monroe, fifth U.S. president, fought in the American Revolution. He served in the Virginia Assembly, the Congress of Confederation, and the U.S. Senate and served concurrently as secretary of state and secretary of war. He helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase, but he is best known as the author of the Monroe Doctrine, which warned the countries of Europe against interfering with the affairs of nations in the western hemisphere. Monroe Doctrine, statement of United States policy on the activities and rights of European powers in the western hemisphere. It was made by President James Monroe in his seventh annual address to the Congress of the United States on December 2, 1823; it eventually became one of the foundations of U.S. policy in Latin America. Because it was not supported by congressional legislation or affirmed in international law, Monroe's statement initially remained only a declaration of policy; its increasing use and popularity elevated it to a principle, specifically termed the Monroe Doctrine after the mid-1840s. The Monroe Doctrine asserted that the Western Hemisphere was not to be further colonized by European countries, but also that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies nor in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued at the time when many Latin American countries were on the verge of becoming independent from Spain and the United States hoped to avoid having any European power take Spain's colonies. Declaring that the Old World and New World had different systems and must remain distinct spheres, Monroe made four basic points: (1) The United States would not interfere in the internal affairs of or the wars between European powers; (2) the United States recognized and would not interfere with existing colonies and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere; (3) the Western Hemisphere was closed to future colonization; and (4) any attempt by a European power to oppress or control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act against the United States.
The Monroe Doctrine was developed because the United States and Britain were concerned over the possibility of European colonial expansion in the Americas. Britain feared that Spain would attempt to reclaim its former colonies, which had recently gained independence. This would have caused Britain's trade with these new nations to decline. The United States wanted to ensure that no European nations would attempt further colonialization in the western hemisphere. The British foreign minister George Canning suggested a joint venture with the United States to preserve the interests of both nations. However, John Quincy Adams, the secretary of state, convinced President Monroe that the United States should develop its own policy which would safeguard U.S. interests independent of Britain. Why, Adams asked, should the United States appear “as a cockboat in the wake of a British man-of-war?” In his two most notable pronouncements, Monroe asserted that European powers could no longer colonize the American continents and that they should not interfere with the newly independent Spanish American republics. He specifically warned Europeans against attempting to impose monarchy on independent American nations but added that the United States would not interfere in existing European colonies or in Europe itself. The last point reaffirmed George Washington's Farewell Address in 1796, in which he urged the United States to avoid entangling alliances; however, the Monroe Doctrine did not represent an isolationist policy. By thus separating Europe from America, Monroe emphasized the existence of distinct American, and specifically U.S., interests. He rejected the European political system of monarchy, believing that no American nation would adopt it and that its presence anywhere in the western hemisphere endangered the peace and safety of the young United States. He also implied that the United States alone should complete the remaining settlement of North America. Despite the boldness of his assertions, Monroe provided no means to ensure the enforcement of his ideas. The United States alone would not have been able to uphold this policy,
but Monroe knew that Britain, with its powerful navy, also opposed European intervention in Spain's struggle to restore its colonies. It became a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States and one of its longest-standing tenets, invoked by U.S. presidents, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, and others. As far as the United States was concerned, the Monroe Doctrine meant little until the 1840s, when Presidents John Tyler and then James Polk used it to justify U.S. expansion. In 1845 Polk invoked the doctrine against British threats in California and Oregon, as Tyler had done in 1842 against French and British efforts to prevent the U.S. annexation of Texas. In 1848 Polk warned that European involvement in the Yucatán could cause the United States to take control of the region. Despite Polk's use of the doctrine and its increasing popularity in the 1850s, the American Civil War greatly reduced its effectiveness during the 1860s; hence, Spain's reacquisition of the Dominican Republic (1861) and France's intervention in Mexico (1862-1867) went largely unopposed. During the 1870s and 1880s the Monroe Doctrine took on new meaning. The United States began to interpret it both as prohibiting the transfer of American territory from one European power to another, and as granting the United States exclusive control over any canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through Central America. The latter claim was recognized by Britain in the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty in 1901. The United States continued to expand the meaning of the doctrine when President Grover Cleveland successfully pressured Britain in 1895 to submit its boundary dispute with Venezuela to arbitration. In 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt claimed, in what became known as the Roosevelt Corollary, that the United States could intervene in any Latin American nation guilty of internal or external misconduct. Roosevelt's statement was precipitated by Germany, Britain, and Italy, which
were trying to force Venezuela to repay debts to those countries. Roosevelt involved the United States in settling the matter. The corollary was part of President Roosevelt's address to Congress that year. Roosevelt's corollary to the Monroe Doctrine set a precedent and therefore justified subsequent U.S. intervention in Caribbean states during the administrations of Presidents William Taft and Woodrow Wilson. By the 1920s Latin American countries were protesting U.S. involvement. In the 1920s and the 1930s, the United States reduced the doctrine's scope by favoring action in concert with the other American republics. The Platt Amendment, which was part of the U.S. treaty with Cuba in 1903 and which provided for U.S. involvement in the rule of Cuba, was revoked in 1934. This emphasis on acting with other nations, or Pan-Americanism, continued during and after World War II with the Act of Chapultepec (1945) and the Rio Pact (1947), which declared that an attack on one American nation was an attack on all. The formation of the Organization of American States in 1948 was designed to achieve the aims of the Monroe Doctrine through Pan-Americanism. Subsequently, however, fear of Communism in Latin America prompted the United States to return to unilateral actions against Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1961), and the Dominican Republic (1965), without consulting its Latin American allies. The administration of U.S. President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) openly espoused the Monroe Doctrine once again as it resisted Communism in the Americas. This reaffirmed the original intent of the Monroe Doctrine to prevent European expansion in the Americas. Despite this position, Reagan supported Britain's claim to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) off the coast of Argentina in 1982. It would have been nearly impossible for Monroe to envision that its intent and impact would persist with minor variations for almost two centuries. Its primary objective was to free the newly independent colonies of Latin America from European intervention and control. The doctrine
advocated that the New World and the Old World were to remain distinctly separate spheres of influence, for they were comprised of entirely separate and independent nations. Basically, the doctrine warned the European powers “to leave America for the Americans.” Because the U.S. lacked both a credible navy and army at the time, the doctrine was largely disregarded internationally. However, the Doctrine met with tacit British approval, and the Royal Navy mostly enforced it tacitly, as part of the wider Pax Britannica, which enforced the neutrality of the seas. As a component of foreign policy, the Monroe Doctrine has had considerable effect and has had strong support in the United States, in part because it has promoted U.S. interests. The doctrine has served other American nations, too, particularly because it asserts their right to independence. Because the doctrine as originally formulated made no clear distinction between the interests of the United States and those of its neighbours, however, the United States has used it to justify intervention in the internal affairs of other American nations. Given growing U.S. anxiety about the unstable politics of Latin American countries, intervention has been especially prevalent and controversial in the 20th century. The Monroe Doctrine can be also seen as a declaration of hegemony and a right of unilateral intervention over the Western Hemisphere – limited only by prudence, as in the case of British military. This doctrine was a political rule, used by the United States whenever it was necessary. Had the Monroe Doctrine not been adopted, Latin American as well as world history would have been very different from what it is now. The situation may have been similar to Africa in that Latin America would have been carved up by the European powers into small holdings causing many short and long term results. For example, Spanish would not be the main language spoken; there would also be German, French, English, and others. The current borders would also be very different. They would be divided according to the colonies that had been staked out. In conclusion, the Monroe Doctrine had effects on many countries when it was formed, but the
greatest consequences took part in Latin America because this doctrine allowed it to develop without many foreign influences as the US played more of a protector role. This doctrine was one of the most important policies issued by the United States. They started to mark their ruling place in international relations scenery and let the Europeans know about this thing. This document can be seen as proof of the American policy to follow their own interests and to always find a solution to get whatever they want. The United States is an individual state who can deal with it’s affairs and it is disliked when somebody tries to interfere into their plans. It would be accurate to say that the Monroe Doctrine has changed the course of American and even world history. Declaring that Europe and the Holy Alliance could no longer interfere with the Latin countries allowed these new countries the time they needed to develop their countries, their business, and their trade and shipping markets. Since commerce and shipping was no longer dominated by the larger countries, this allowed the States an opportunity to grow and develop in the trade market also. This time and confidence allowed them to develop their own naval military powers also. The initiation and implementation of such a wise first move in foreign policy was one of many that helped to build the United States into a forceful power.
WORKS CITED http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroe_Doctrine; 07.04.2009 "Monroe Doctrine." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2009 Student and Home Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009 “Monroe Doctrine.", Randall Shrock, Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
Speech by President James Monroe to Congress, December 2, 1823.
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 [capital of Russia] 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 discussion 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 power. It was then 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 result has 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 favour 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 so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparations for our defence. 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 defence 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 maintained 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 judgment 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 [wars against French domination of both countries] show 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 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 these 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 the hope that other powers will pursue the same course.…