Monroe Doctrine

U.S. Hist.
the policy, as stated by President Monroe in 1823, that the U.S. opposed further European colonization of and interference with independent nations in the Western Hemisphere.

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U.S. foreign-policy statement first enunciated by Pres.

James Monroe on Dec. 2, 1823, declaring the Western Hemisphere off-limits to European colonization. Concerned that the European powers would attempt to restore Spain's former colonies, he declared, inter alia, that any attempt by a European power to control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act against the U.S. It was reiterated in 1845 and 1848 by Pres. James K. Polk to discourage Spain and Britain from establishing footholds in Oregon, California, or on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. In 1865 the U.S. massed troops on the Rio Grande to back up demands that France withdraw from Mexico. In 1904 Pres. Theodore Roosevelt added the Roosevelt Corollary, stating that in the event of flagrant wrongdoing by a Latin American state, the U.S. had the right to intervene in its internal affairs. As the U.S. became a world power, the Monroe Doctrine came to define the Western Hemisphere as a U.S. sphere of influence. See also Good Neighbor Policy.

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▪ American history
      (December 2, 1823), cornerstone of U.S foreign policy enunciated by President James Monroe (Monroe, James) in his annual message to Congress. 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. (Click here to view the text of the Monroe Doctrine (James Monroe: The Monroe Doctrine).)

      The doctrine was an outgrowth of concern in both England and the United States that the continental powers would attempt to restore Spain's former colonies, in Latin America, many of which had become newly independent nations. The United States was also concerned about Russia's territorial ambitions in the northwest coast of North America. As a consequence, George Canning (Canning, George), the British foreign minister, suggested a joint U.S.-British declaration forbidding future colonization in Latin America (Latin America, history of). Monroe was initially favourable to the idea, and former presidents Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Thomas) and James Madison (Madison, James) concurred. But Secretary of State John Quincy Adams (Adams, John Quincy) argued that the United States should issue a statement of American policy exclusively, and his view ultimately prevailed.

      The Monroe Doctrine, in asserting unilateral U.S. protection over the entire Western Hemisphere, was a foreign policy that could not have been sustained militarily in 1823. Monroe and Adams were well aware of the need for the British fleet to deter potential aggressors in Latin America. Because the United States was not a major power at the time and because the continental powers apparently had no serious intentions of recolonizing Latin America, Monroe's policy statement (it was not known as the “Monroe Doctrine” for nearly 30 years) was largely ignored outside the United States.

      The United States did not invoke it nor oppose British occupation of the Falkland Islands in 1833 or subsequent British encroachments in Latin America. In 1845 and again in 1848, however, President James K. Polk (Polk, James K.) reiterated Monroe's principles in warning Britain and Spain not to establish footholds in Oregon, California, or Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. (Click here to view the text of Polk's “Reaffirmation of the Monroe Doctrine.” (James K. Polk: Reaffirmation of the Monroe Doctrine)) At the conclusion of the Civil War, the United States massed troops on the Rio Grande in support of a demand that France withdraw its puppet kingdom from Mexico. In 1867—in part due to U.S. pressure—France withdrew.

      After 1870 interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine became increasingly broad. As the United States emerged as a world power, the Monroe Doctrine came to define a recognized sphere of influence. President Theodore Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Theodore) added the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904; it stated that, in cases of flagrant and chronic wrongdoing by a Latin American nation, the United States could intervene in the internal affairs of that nation. Roosevelt's assertion of hemispheric police power was designed to preclude violation of the Monroe Doctrine by European countries seeking redress of grievances against unruly or mismanaged Latin American states.

      From the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt to that of Franklin Roosevelt, the United States frequently intervened in Latin America, especially in the Caribbean. Since the 1930s, the United States has attempted to formulate its Latin American foreign policy in consultation with the individual nations of the hemisphere and with the Organization of American States. Yet the United States continues to exercise a proprietary role at times of apparent threat to its national security, and the Western Hemisphere remains a predominantly U.S. sphere of influence.

      Charles Evan Hughes (Hughes, Charles Evans)'s article on the Monroe Doctrine appeared in the 14th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (see the Britannica Classic: ).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • MONROE (DOCTRINE DE) — On désigne sous l’expression «doctrine de Monroe» les principes énoncés par le président James Monroe dans son message du 2 décembre 1823 au Congrès. En réalité, Monroe n’a jamais songé à exprimer une doctrine quelconque, relative à la politique… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Monroe Doctrine — n. the doctrine, essentially stated by President Monroe in a message to Congress (Dec., 1823), that the U.S. would regard as an unfriendly act any attempt by a European nation to interfere in the affairs of the American countries or increase its… …   English World dictionary

  • Monroe Doctrine — 1848, in reference to principles of policy contained in the message of U.S. President James Monroe to Congress on Dec. 2, 1823 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Monroe doctrine — Mon*roe doc trine See under {Doctrine}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Monroe Doctrine — U.S. President James Monroe. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, author of the Monroe Doctrine …   Wikipedia

  • Monroe Doctrine — (1823)    A sphere of influence statement enunciated by and named for James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, in his annual message of 1823. The statement was occasioned by encroachments by Russia in the northwest of North America …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Monroe Doctrine — Monroe′ Doc′trine n. amh. the doctrine, essentially stated by President Monroe in 1823, that the U.S. opposed further European colonization of or intervention in the Western Hemisphere …   From formal English to slang

  • Monroe Doctrine — Monroe Doc|trine, the the idea, stated in a speech by President James Monroe in 1823, that countries of Europe should not get involved in the affairs of the countries of North and South America, and, in exchange for this, the US would not get… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Monroe Doctrine — A principle established as a policy of the United States, asserting its right to resist any European interference with the affairs of the governments of the American republics. The doctrine took its name from President Monroe, although it appears …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • MONROE DOCTRINE —    the doctrine of James Monroe, twice over President of the United States, that the United States should hold aloof from all interference with the affairs of the Old World, and should not suffer the Powers of the Old World to interfere with… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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