Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was a United States policy which opposed European colonialism in the Americas. It began in 1823, however the term "Monroe Doctrine" itself was not coined until 1850.[1] The Doctrine was issued on December 2, at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved, or were at the point of gaining, independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires. It stated that further efforts by various European states to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be viewed as "the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States."[2] At the same time, the doctrine noted that the U.S. would recognize and not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal affairs of European countries.

President James Monroe first stated the doctrine during his seventh annual State of the Union Address to Congress. The doctrine asserted that the New World and the Old World were to remain distinctly separate spheres of influence.[3] This was to avoid situations which could make the New World a battleground for the Old World powers, so that the U.S. could exert its own influence undisturbed.[4] By the end of the 19th century, Monroe's declaration was seen as a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States and one of its longest-standing tenets. The intent and impact of the persisted with only small variations for more than a century, and would be invoked by many U.S. statesmen and several U.S. presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.

After 1898, the Monroe doctrine was reinterpreted in terms of multilateralism and non-intervention by Latin American lawyers and intellectuals. In 1933, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the U.S. went along with this new reinterpretation, especially in terms of the Organization of American States.[5]

Great Britain shared the general objective of the Monroe Doctrine, and even wanted to declare a joint statement to keep other European powers from further colonizing the New World. The British feared their trade with the New World would be harmed if the other European powers further colonized it. In fact, for many years after the doctrine took effect, Britain, through the Royal Navy, was the sole nation enforcing it, the U.S. lacking sufficient naval capability.[4] The U.S. resisted a joint statement because of the recent memory of the War of 1812, however, the immediate provocation was the Russian Ukase of 1821[6] asserting rights to the Pacific Northwest and forbidding non-Russian ships from approaching the coast.[7][8]

Seeds of the Monroe Doctrine

Despite America's beginnings as an isolationist country, the seeds for the Monroe Doctrine were already being laid even during George Washington's presidency. According to S.E. Morison, "as early as 1783, then, the United States adopted the policy of isolation and announced its intention to keep out of Europe. The supplementary principle of the Monroe Doctrine, that Europe must keep out of America, was still over the horizon".[9]

While not specifically the Monroe Doctrine, Alexander Hamilton desired to control the sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere, particularly in North America,[failed verification] but this was extended to the Latin American colonies by the Monroe Doctrine.[4] But Hamilton, writing in the Federalist Papers, was already wanting to establish America as a world power and hoped that America would suddenly become strong enough to keep the European powers outside of the Americas, despite the fact that the European countries controlled much more of the Americas than the U.S. itself.[9] Hamilton expected that the United States would become the dominant power in the New World and would, in the future, act as an intermediary between the European powers and any new countries blossoming near the U.S.[9]

In a note from James Madison, Thomas Jefferson's Secretary of State and a future president, to the U.S. ambassador for Spain, the federal government expressed the opposition of the American government to further territorial acquisition by European powers.[10] Madison's sentiment might have been meaningless because, as was noted before, the European powers held much more territory in comparison to the territory held by the U.S. Although Thomas Jefferson was pro-French, in an attempt to keep the British–French rivalry out the U.S., the federal government under Jefferson made it clear to its ambassadors that the U.S. would not support any future colonization efforts on the North American continent.

The U.S. government feared the victorious European powers that emerged from the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) would revive monarchical government. France had already agreed to restore the Spanish monarchy in exchange for Cuba.[11] As the revolutionary Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) ended, Prussia, Austria, and Russia formed the Holy Alliance to defend monarchism. In particular, the Holy Alliance authorized military incursions to re-establish Bourbon rule over Spain and its colonies, which were establishing their independence.[12]:153–5

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Monroeleer
العربية: مبدأ مونرو
azərbaycanca: Monro doktrinası
বাংলা: মনরো নীতি
Bân-lâm-gú: Monroe Chú-gī
беларуская: Дактрына Манро
Ελληνικά: Δόγμα Μονρόε
español: Doctrina Monroe
français: Doctrine Monroe
贛語: 曼婁主義
한국어: 먼로주의
Bahasa Indonesia: Doktrin Monroe
italiano: Dottrina Monroe
latviešu: Monro doktrīna
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Bahasa Melayu: Doktrin Monroe
မြန်မာဘာသာ: မွန်ရိုးဝါဒ
Nederlands: Monroedoctrine
norsk nynorsk: Monroedoktrinen
português: Doutrina Monroe
română: Doctrina Monroe
Simple English: Monroe Doctrine
slovenčina: Monroeova doktrína
српски / srpski: Монроова доктрина
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Monroeova doktrina
Türkçe: Monroe Doktrini
українська: Доктрина Монро
Tiếng Việt: Học thuyết Monroe
粵語: 門羅主義
中文: 门罗主义