The doctrine declared against foreign colonization, or intervention in the Americas, and the intention of the United States to remain neutral in European wars.
What is a Doctrine?
A Doctrine is a set of beliefs, creed or ideology held by a political party and used as a statement of government policy, especially in relation to foreign affairs. The Monroe Doctrine reflected the views and beliefs of the Monroe administration. The Monroe Doctrine was first set out in a speech to Congress by President James Monroe on December 2, 1823.
Who wrote the Monroe Doctrine?
The question of "who wrote the Monroe Doctrine?" should be addressed as its very name indicates the author was James Monroe. Untrue. The main author of the Monroe Doctrine was John Quincy Adams, the future president. John Quincy Adams was member of Monroe's cabinet in the position of Secretary of State. As Secretary of State John Quincy Adams was responsible for foreign affairs during Monroe's administration, the U.S. government's equivalent of a Minister for Foreign Affairs. His tasks included developing and defining the United States foreign policy. James Monroe and the other members of his cabinet, including John C. Calhoun and William H. Crawford would also have had the opportunity for input. However, the main author of the Monroe Doctrine was John Quincy Adams.
When was the Monroe Doctrine delivered to Congress?
The Monroe Doctrine was first set out in a speech by President James Monroe in his annual message to Congress on December 2, 1823.
What did the Monroe Doctrine state?
The content of the Monroe Doctrine is as follows:
The Monroe Doctrine stated that efforts by European nations to colonize land in North or South America, would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention
The Monroe Doctrine stated that any interference by European nations with states in North or South America, would also be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention
The Monroe Doctrine stated that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies
The Monroe Doctrine stated that the United States would not interfere with the internal affairs of European countries
What was the Purpose of the Monroe Doctrine?
The purpose of the Monroe Doctrine was to declare the United States opposition to colonialism. (Colonialism is defined as the exploitation by a stronger country of weaker one. Colonialism is the use of the weaker country's resources to strengthen and enrich the 'mother country')
Why was the Monroe Doctrine issued? What was happening in the United States?
It was an exciting time for the United States, the new, expanding and independent nation was gaining power.
The U.S. had won the War of Independence and demonstrated its strength during the War of 1812.
The 1803 Louisiana Purchase had doubled the size of the United States.
It was the 'Era of Good Feelings'.
The economic policy called the 'American System' was enabling the nation to create new industries and build factories reducing dependence on foreign goods. A program was underway building new roads and canals to enable Americans to travel west.
The Rush-Bagot Treaty and the Convention of 1818 had signified a improvement of diplomatic relations between the US and Great Britain.
Then, in 1819 the U.S. had successfully negotiated the Adams Onis Treaty gaining Florida from Spain and setting out a boundary between the United States and New Spain (now Mexico) and the problems of Europe were highlighted.
The Monroe Doctrine was the communication vehicle used by President Monroe to convey to the American people, and foreign nations, the strength of the U.S. and its determination to remain independent and free of interference from any foreign nations.
Why was the Monroe Doctrine issued? What was happening in Europe?
Events in Europe had entered a highly dangerous and volatile era. The great European powers and their monarchies were experiencing revolutions and rebellions by the people. These events included:
The French Revolution
The Napoleonic Wars
Spanish colonies were rebelling and there was revolution in the homeland - Spain was losing its grip on its empire and its power had weakened in the New World
Rebellions in other European countries had led to Emperor Francis I of Austria, King Frederick William III of Prussia, and Csar Alexander I of Russia signing a treaty to form a union called the Holy Alliance
All the other monarchs of Europe, except King George IV of Great Britain, joined the Holy Alliance to put down rebellions
The Holy Alliance restored the Spanish king to his throne and there was a serious threat that the Holy Alliance would send warships and soldiers across the Atlantic to crush the rebellions in the Spanish colonies
The Czar of Russia was preparing to found colonies on the western coast of North America
The Monroe Doctrine was a strong message to European nations to keep out of the United States and that any attempts at colonization or interference with American affairs would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention. The Monroe Doctrine was received with enthusiasm by American citizens who hated Europeans interfering with their affairs and encroaching on their lands. The nationalist crry of "America for Americans" was encouraged by the Monroe Doctrine.
The Monroe Doctrine for kids: Diplomatic Relations with the British
King George IV Great Britain had declined to enter the Holy Alliance and had political motives and financial motives to support Americans in obtaining the freedom of the Spanish colonists. Spain had refused to allow Spanish colonists to buy British goods. But if they were free, the colonists could buy goods wherever they pleased. The British government had therefore proposed that the United States and Great Britain should join in a declaration that the Spanish colonies were independent states.
The Monroe Doctrine for kids: John Quincy Adams
As Secretary of State John Quincy Adams needed to steer a careful diplomatic course. He wanted to retain the good relations with the British but had no intention of allowing the British to influence American affairs. He wanted no European control of any kind. He was also anxious to prevent this type of political entanglement with the British, as he wanted a free hand to deal with the Czar of Russia who was preparing to found colonies on the western coast of North America. The content of the Monroe Doctrine made it clear that the United States was completely independent from any European nation. However, the British were the only European nation to agree with the content of the Monroe Doctrine and they contributed to its enforcement by using the British navy to keep foreign powers out of the New World (this was part of the Pax Britannica, which enforced the neutrality of the seas). The British government also informed the members of the Holy Alliance that their interference in American affairs would be resented.
The Significance of the Monroe Doctrine for kids: Why was the Monroe Doctrine important in 1823?
What was the significance of the Monroe Doctrine? The Monroe Doctrine sent clear message to Europe in 1823 stating that:
The United States was is closed to colonization by any European power
America had not interfered, nor would interfere in European affairs
It regarded the extension of the organization of the Holy Alliance to America as dangerous to the United States
United States of America would regard the interference of the Holy Alliance in American affairs as an "unfriendly act." that would lead to war
The Monroe Doctrine Achievements
The achievements of the Monroe Doctrine led to:
The Holy Alliance giving up all their plans to crush the Spanish colonists
The Czar of Russia agreed to found no colonies south of fifty-four degrees and forty minutes north latitude which was then the recognized southern boundary of Russian America (present-day Alaska) - also refer to the 1867 Purchase of Alaska.
The Long Term Significance of the Monroe Doctrine: Why was the Monroe Doctrine important to America?
What was the long term significance of the Monroe Doctrine to the nation of America? The Monroe Doctrine was important to the nation because:
The words of the Monroe Doctrine would define the foreign policy of the United States for many years
The principle and ideas of the Monroe Doctrine would be brought into play by many U.S. politicians and several U.S. presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson
Long Term Significance of the Monroe Doctrine: Objections based on Monroe Doctrine principles
The long term significance of the Monroe Doctrine are illustrated in the handling of foreign diplomatic affairs in which the United States based their objections on the principles of the Monroe Doctrine. Some famous examples of these are:
The 1842 annexing of Hawaii - Britain told not to interfere
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine - To prevent European nations interfering in the affairs of countries in the Caribbean and Central America
1895 Venezuela Crisis - warning to the British not to interfere
1962 Cuban Missile Crisis - U.S. warns the Soviet Union on Cuba
The Truman Doctrine (1947) overturned many elements of the Monroe Doctrine due to Soviet expansion and the spread of communism during the Cold War