The MONROE DOCTRINE was a
United States policy of opposing European
The Americas beginning in 1823. It stated that further
efforts by European nations 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." 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 concerns of
European countries. The
Doctrine was issued on December 2, 1823 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 .
James Monroe first stated the doctrine during his seventh
State of the Union Address
State of the Union Address to Congress . The term "Monroe
Doctrine" itself was coined in 1850. 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. It
would be invoked by many U.S. statesmen and several U.S. presidents,
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant ,
Theodore Roosevelt ,
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy ,
Ronald Reagan . The intent and impact of the Monroe Doctrine
persisted with only minor variations for more than a century. Its
stated objective was to free the newly independent colonies of Latin
America from European intervention and avoid situations which could
New World a battleground for the
Old World powers, so that
the U.S. could exert its own influence undisturbed. The doctrine
asserted that the
New World and the
Old World were to remain
distinctly separate spheres of influence, for they were composed of
entirely separate and independent nations.
Latin American lawyers and intellectuals reinterpreted
the Monroe doctrine in terms of multilateralism and non-intervention .
In 1933, under President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt , the U.S. went along
with the new reinterpretation, especially in terms of the Organization
of American States .
* 1 Background
* 1.1 Seeds of the Monroe
* 2 The
* 3 Effects
* 3.1 International response
Latin American reaction
* 3.3 Post-Bolivar events
* 3.4 The "Big Brother"
* 3.5 The "Olney Corollary"
* 3.6 Canada
* 3.7 The "Roosevelt Corollary"
* 3.8 The
* 3.9 World
Latin American reinterpretation
* 3.11 Cold
* 3.12 The Kerry
* 4 Criticism
* 5 References
* 6 Further reading
* 7 Bibliography
* 8 External links
Chilean Declaration of Independence on February 18, 1818
The U.S. government feared the victorious European powers that
emerged from the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) would revive the
monarchical government. France had already agreed to restore the
Monarchy in exchange for
Cuba . As the revolutionary
Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) ended,
Prussia , Austria , and Russia
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 . :153–5
Great Britain shared the general objective of the Monroe Doctrine,
albeit from an opposite standpoint and ultimate aim, and even wanted
to declare a joint statement to keep other European powers from
further colonizing the New World. The British Foreign Secretary George
Canning wanted to keep the other European powers out of the New World
fearing that its trade with the
New World would be harmed if the other
European powers further colonized it. In fact, for many years after
Doctrine took effect, Britain, through the Royal Navy, was
the sole nation enforcing it; the U.S. lacking sufficient naval
capability. Allowing Spain to re-establish control of its former
colonies would have cut Great Britain off from its profitable trade
with the region. For that reason, Canning proposed to the U.S. that
they mutually declare and enforce a policy of separating the New World
from the Old. The U.S. resisted a joint statement because of the
recent memory of the
War of 1812
War of 1812 , leading to the Monroe
administration's unilateral statement.
However, the immediate provocation was the Russian
Ukase of 1821
asserting rights to the
Pacific Northwest and forbidding non-Russian
ships from approaching the coast.
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". While not specifically the
Alexander Hamilton desired to control the sphere of
influence in the western hemisphere, particularly in North America but
was extended to the
Latin American colonies by the Monroe Doctrine.
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. Hamilton expected
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. In
fact, 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. 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 French-British 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 full document of the Monroe Doctrine, written chiefly by
future-President and then secretary-of-state
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams , is
long and couched in diplomatic language, but its essence is expressed
in two key passages. The first is the introductory statement, which
asserts that the
New World is no longer subject to colonization by the
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.
The second key passage, which contains a fuller statement of the
Doctrine, is addressed to the "allied powers" of Europe (that is, the
Holy Alliance ); it clarifies that the U.S. remains neutral on
existing European colonies in the
Americas but is opposed to
"interpositions" that would create new colonies among the newly
independent Spanish American republics:
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.
Because the U.S. lacked both a credible navy and army at the time,
the doctrine was largely disregarded internationally. Prince
Metternich of Austria was angered by the statement, and wrote
privately that the doctrine was a "new act of revolt" by the U.S. that
would grant "new strength to the apostles of sedition and reanimate
the courage of every conspirator." :156
The doctrine, however, met with tacit British approval. They enforced
it tactically as part of the wider
Pax Britannica , which included
enforcement of the neutrality of the seas . This was in line with the
developing British policy of laissez-faire free trade against
mercantilism . Fast-growing British industry sought markets for its
manufactured goods, and, if the newly independent Latin American
states became Spanish colonies again, British access to these markets
would be cut off by Spanish mercantilist policy.
LATIN AMERICAN REACTION
The reaction in
Latin America to the Monroe
Doctrine was generally
favorable but in some occasions suspicious.
John Crow , author of The
Epic of Latin America, states, "
Simón Bolívar himself, still in the
midst of his last campaign against the Spaniards , Santander in
Colombia , Rivadavia in
Argentina , Victoria in
Mexico —leaders of
the emancipation movement everywhere—received Monroe's words with
sincerest gratitude". Crow argues that the leaders of Latin America
were realists. They knew that the President of the United States
wielded very little power at the time, particularly without the
backing of the British forces, and figured that the Monroe Doctrine
was unenforceable if the
United States stood alone against the Holy
Alliance . While they appreciated and praised their support in the
north, they knew that the future of their independence was in the
hands of the British and their powerful navy. In 1826, Bolivar called
Congress of Panama to host the first "Pan-American " meeting.
In the eyes of Bolivar and his men, the Monroe
Doctrine was to become
nothing more than a tool of national policy. According to Crow, "It
was not meant to be, and was never intended to be a charter for
concerted hemispheric action".
At the same time, some people questioned the intentions behind the
Diego Portales , a Chilean businessman and minister,
wrote to a friend: "But we have to be very careful: for the Americans
of the north , the only Americans are themselves".
In early 1833, the British reasserted their sovereignty over the
Falkland islands . No action was taken by the US, and George C.
Herring writes that the inaction "confirmed
Latin American and
especially Argentine suspicions of the United States." :171 In
Argentina was blockaded by the French and, later, the British
. No action was taken by the U.S., despite protestations.
In 1842, U.S. President
John Tyler applied the Monroe
Hawaii and warned Britain not to interfere there. This began the
process of annexing
Hawaii to the U.S.
On December 2, 1845, U.S. President
James Polk announced that the
principle of the Monroe
Doctrine should be strictly enforced,
reinterpreting it to argue that no European nation should interfere
with the American western expansion ("
Manifest Destiny ").
French intervention in
Mexico , 1861–1867
In 1862, French forces under
Napoleon III invaded and conquered
Mexico, giving control to the puppet monarch Emperor Maximilian .
Washington denounced this as a violation of the doctrine but was
unable to intervene because of the
American Civil War
American Civil War . This marked
the first time the Monroe
Doctrine was widely referred to as a
"doctrine." In 1865 the U.S. stationed a large combat army on the
border to emphasize its demand that France leave. France did pull out,
and Mexican nationalists executed Maximilian.
Belize was turned into a crown colony of the British empire
British Honduras . The U.S. took no action against
Britain, either during or after the Civil War. President
Cleveland twist the tail of the British Lion; cartoon in Puck by J.S.
In the 1870s, President
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant and his Secretary of State
Hamilton Fish endeavored to supplant European influence in Latin
America with that of the U.S. In 1870, the Monroe
expanded under the proclamation "hereafter no territory on this
continent shall be regarded as subject to transfer to a European
power." :259 Grant invoked the Monroe
Doctrine in his failed attempt
to annex the Dominican Republic in 1870.
Venezuela Crisis of 1895
Venezuela Crisis of 1895 became "one of the most momentous
episodes in the history of Anglo-American relations in general and of
Anglo-American rivalries in
Latin America in particular." Venezuela
sought to involve the U.S. in a territorial dispute with Britain over
Guayana Esequiba , and hired former US ambassador William L. Scruggs
to argue that British behaviour over the issue violated the Monroe
Grover Cleveland through his Secretary of State,
Richard Olney , cited the
Doctrine in 1895, threatening strong action
against Great Britain if the British failed to arbitrate their dispute
Venezuela . In a July 20, 1895 note to Britain, Olney stated ,
United States is practically sovereign on this continent, and
its fiat is law upon the subjects to which it confines its
interposition.” :307 British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury took
strong exception to the American language. The U.S. objected to a
British proposal for a joint meeting to clarify the scope of the
Monroe Doctrine. Historian George Herring wrote that by failing to
pursue the issue further the British “tacitly conceded the U.S.
definition of the Monroe
Doctrine and its hegemony in the
Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck , did not agree and in
October 1897 called the
Doctrine an "uncommon insolence". Sitting in
Paris , the Tribunal of Arbitration finalized its decision on October
3, 1899. The award was unanimous, but gave no reasons for the
decision, merely describing the resulting boundary, which gave Britain
almost 90% of the disputed territory and all of the gold mines.
The reaction to the award was surprise, with the award's lack of
reasoning a particular concern. The Venezuelans were keenly
disappointed with the outcome, though they honored their counsel for
their efforts (their delegation's Secretary, Severo Mallet-Prevost,
Order of the Liberator
Order of the Liberator in 1944), and abided by the award.
The Anglo-Venezuelan boundary dispute asserted for the first time a
more outward-looking American foreign policy, particularly in the
Americas , marking the U.S. as a world power. This was the earliest
example of modern interventionism under the Monroe
Doctrine in which
the USA exercised its claimed prerogatives in the
Spanish–American War , the result of U.S. intervention in the Cuban
War of Independence .
In 1898, the U.S. intervened in support of
Cuba during its war for
independence from Spain. The U.S. won what is known in the U.S. as the
Spanish–American War and in
Cuba as the
Cuban War for Independence .
Under the terms of the peace treaty from which
Cuba was excluded,
Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and
Guam to the U.S. in
exchange for $20 million.
Cuba came under U.S. control and remained so
until it was granted formal independence in 1902.
THE "BIG BROTHER"
American poses with dead Haitian revolutionaries killed by US
Marine machine gun fire, 1915
The "Big Brother" policy was an extension of the Monroe Doctrine
James G. Blaine
James G. Blaine in the 1880s that aimed to rally Latin
American nations behind US leadership and open their markets to US
traders. Blaine served as
Secretary of State in 1881 under President
James A. Garfield
James A. Garfield and again from 1889 to 1892 under President Benjamin
Harrison . As a part of the policy, Blaine arranged and led the First
International Conference of American States in 1889.
THE "OLNEY COROLLARY"
Also known as Olney interpretation or Olney declaration was United
Secretary of State
Richard Olney 's interpretation of the
Doctrine when a border dispute for
Guayana Esequiba occurred
between Britain and
Venezuela governments in 1895. Olney claimed that
Doctrine gave the U.S. authority to mediate border disputes
Western Hemisphere . Olney extended the meaning of the Monroe
Doctrine, which had previously stated merely that the Western
Hemisphere was closed to additional European colonization. The
statement reinforced the original purpose of the Monroe Doctrine, that
the U.S. had the right to intervene in its own hemisphere and
foreshadowed the events of the
Spanish–American War three years
later. The Olney interpretation was defunct by 1933.
Canadian Prime Minister
Canadian Prime Minister
Wilfrid Laurier acknowledged that
Doctrine was essential to his country's protection. The
doctrine provided Canada with a de facto security guarantee by the
United States; the US Navy in the Pacific, and the British Navy in the
Atlantic, made invading North America almost impossible. Because of
the peaceful relations between the two countries , Canada could assist
Britain in a European war without having to defend itself at home.
THE "ROOSEVELT COROLLARY"
The doctrine's authors, chiefly future-President and then
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams , saw it as a proclamation by the
U.S. of moral opposition to colonialism , but it has subsequently been
re-interpreted and applied in a variety of instances. As the U.S.
began to emerge as a world power, the Monroe
Doctrine came to define a
recognized sphere of control that few dared to challenge.
Before becoming president,
Theodore Roosevelt had proclaimed the
rationale of the Monroe
Doctrine in supporting intervention in the
Spanish colony of
Cuba in 1898. The
Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903
showed the world that the US was willing to use its naval strength to
force an American viewpoint in world politics.
In Argentine foreign policy, the Drago
Doctrine was announced on
December 29, 1902 by the Foreign Minister of Argentina, Luis María
Drago . This was a response to the actions of Britain, Germany, and
Italy during the
Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903, in which they had
blockaded and shelled
Venezuela 's ports in an attempt to collect
money owed as part of its national debt, accrued under regimes
preceding that of president
Cipriano Castro . Drago set forth the
policy that no European power could use force against an American
nation to collect debt. President
Theodore Roosevelt rejected this
policy as an extension of the Monroe Doctrine, declaring, "We do not
guarantee any state against punishment if it misconducts itself". :370
Instead, Roosevelt added the
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe
Doctrine in 1904, asserting the right of the U.S. to intervene in
Latin America in cases of "flagrant and chronic wrongdoing by a Latin
American Nation" to preempt intervention by European creditors. This
re-interpretation of the Monroe
Doctrine went on to be a useful tool
to take economic benefits by force when Latin nations failed to pay
their debts to European and US banks and business interests. This was
also referred to as the
Big Stick ideology because of the phrase from
president Roosevelt to "speak low and carry a big stick". :371 The
Roosevelt corollary provoked outrage across Latin America.
Roosevelt Corollary was invoked to intervene militarily in Latin
America to stop the spread of European influence. It was the most
significant amendment to the original doctrine and was widely opposed
by critics, who argued that the Monroe
Doctrine was originally meant
to stop European influence in the Americas. They argued that the
Corollary simply asserted U.S. domination in that area, effectively
making them a "hemispheric policeman."
THE CLARK MEMORANDUM
Clark Memorandum , written on December 17, 1928 by Calvin
Coolidge ’s undersecretary of state
J. Reuben Clark , concerned U.S.
use of military force to intervene in
Latin American nations. This
memorandum was officially released in 1930 by the Herbert Hoover
The Clark memorandum rejected the view that the Roosevelt Corollary
was based on the Monroe Doctrine. However, it was not a complete
repudiation of the
Roosevelt Corollary but was rather a statement that
any intervention by the U.S. was not sanctioned by the Monroe Doctrine
but rather was the right of America as a state. This separated the
Roosevelt Corollary from the Monroe
Doctrine by noting that the Monroe
Doctrine only applied to situations involving European countries. One
main point in the
Clark Memorandum was to note that the Monroe
Doctrine was based on conflicts of interest only between the United
States and European nations, rather than between the
United States and
Latin American nations.
WORLD WAR II
War II began, a majority of Americans supported defending
Western Hemisphere against foreign invasion. A 1940
national survey found that 81% supported defending Canada; 75% Mexico
and Central America; 69% South America; 66% West Indies; and 59%
LATIN AMERICAN REINTERPRETATION
After 1898, jurists and intellectuals in Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
and Uruguay, especially Luis María Drago, Alejandro Álvarez and
Baltasar Brum, reinterpreted the Monroe doctrine. They sought a fresh
continental approach to international law in terms of multilateralism
and non-intervention. However, American leaders were reluctant to
renounce unilateral interventionism until the Good Neighbor policy
enunciated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. The era of the
Good Neighbor Policy ended with the ramp-up of the Cold
War in 1945,
United States felt there was a greater need to protect the
western hemisphere from Soviet influence. These changes conflicted
with the Good Neighbor Policy's fundamental principle of
non-intervention and led to a new wave of US involvement in Latin
American affairs. Control of the Monroe doctrine thus shifted to the
Organization of American States (OAS) founded in 1948.
Secretary of State
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles invoked the Monroe
Doctrine at the 10th
Pan-American Conference in
denouncing the intervention of Soviet Communism in Guatemala.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy said at an August 29, 1962 news conference:
Doctrine means what it has meant since President Monroe
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams enunciated it, and that is that we would oppose
a foreign power extending its power to the
Western Hemisphere , and
that is why we oppose what is happening in
Cuba today. That is why we
have cut off our trade. That is why we worked in the OAS and in other
ways to isolate the Communist menace in Cuba. That is why we will
continue to give a good deal of our effort and attention to it.
The U.S.-supported Nicaraguan contras .
During the Cold
War , the Monroe
Doctrine was applied to Latin
America by the framers of U.S. foreign policy. When the Cuban
Revolution (1953–1959) established a Communist government with ties
to the Soviet Union, it was argued that the Monroe
Doctrine should be
invoked to prevent the spread of Soviet-backed Communism in Latin
America. Under this rationale, the U.S. provided intelligence and
military aid to Latin and South American governments that claimed or
appeared to be threatened by Communist subversion. This, in turn, led
to domestic controversy within the U.S., particularly among the left
who argued that the Communist threat and Soviet influence in Latin
America was greatly exaggerated, and that the U.S. was actively
overthrowing democratically elected governments creating chaos and
poverty on the region.
Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, President
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy cited
Doctrine as grounds for America's confrontation with the
Soviet Union over the installation of Soviet ballistic missiles on
The debate over this new interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine
burgeoned in reaction to the
Iran-Contra affair . It was revealed that
Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency had been covertly training
"Contra " guerrilla soldiers in Honduras in an attempt to destabilize
and overthrow the
Sandinista revolutionary government of Nicaragua and
Daniel Ortega . CIA director
Robert Gates vigorously
defended the Contra operation in 1984, arguing that eschewing U.S.
intervention in Nicaragua would be "totally to abandon the Monroe
THE KERRY DOCTRINE
Further information: Foreign policy of the Barack Obama
Barack Obama 's
Secretary of State
John Kerry told the
Organization of American States in November 2013 that "era of the
Doctrine is over." Several commentators have noted that
Kerry's call for a mutual partnership with the other countries in the
Americas is more in keeping with Monroe's intentions than the policies
enacted after his death.
Critics of the Monroe Doctrine, such as
Noam Chomsky , argue that in
practice the Monroe
Doctrine has been used as a declaration of
hegemony and a right of unilateral intervention over the
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July 15, 2009.
* ^ Smith, Gaddis (1995). The Last Years of the Monroe Doctrine,
1945–1993. New York: Hill & Wang. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-8090-1568-9 .
* ^ Johnson, Keith (November 18, 2013). "Kerry Makes It Official:
‘Era of Monroe
Doctrine Is Over’". Wall Street Journal.
* ^ Keck, Zachary (November 21, 2013). "The US Renounces the Monroe
Doctrine?". The Diplomat. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
* ^ Chomsky, Noam (2004).
Hegemony Or Survival. Henry Holt. pp.
63–64. ISBN 978-0-8050-7688-2 . Retrieved December 20, 2008.
* "Present Status of the Monroe Doctrine". Annals of the American
Academy of Political and Social Science. 54: 1–129. 1914. ISSN
JSTOR i242639 . 14 articles by experts
* Bemis, Samuel Flagg .
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of
American Foreign Policy (1949)
* Dozer, Donald (1965). The Monroe Doctrine: Its Modern
Significance. New York: Knopf.
* Lawson, Leonard Axel (1922). The Relation of British Policy to the
Declaration of the Monroe Doctrine. Columbia University.
* May, Ernest R. (1975). The Making of the Monroe Doctrine. Harvard
* Meiertöns, Heiko (2010). The Doctrines of US Security Policy: An
Evaluation under International Law. Cambridge University Press. ISBN
* Merk, Frederick (1966). The Monroe
Doctrine and American
* Murphy, Gretchen (2005). Hemispheric Imaginings: The Monroe
Doctrine and Narratives of U.S. Empire. Duke University Press.
Examines the cultural context of the doctrine.
* Perkins, Dexter (1927). The Monroe Doctrine, 1823–1826. 3 vols.
* (in Italian)
Nico Perrone , Progetto di un impero. 1823.
L'annuncio dell'egemonia americana infiamma la borsa (Project of an
Empire. 1823. The Announcement of American
Hegemony Inflames the Stock
Exchange), Naples, La Città del Sole, 2013 ISBN 978-88-8292-310-5
* Sexton, Jay (2011). The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in
19th-Century America. Hill & Wang. 290 pages; competing and evolving
conceptions of the doctrine after 1823!
* "Monroe Doctrine". America.gov. Retrieved December 2, 2002. Most
of the material was originally copied from this public domain source.
* "Monroe Doctrine". The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed.). 2008.
Missing or empty title= (help )
* "Monroe Doctrine". The Encyclopædia Britannica (15th ed.). 1974.
Missing or empty title= (help )
* "Monroe Doctrine". The New Encyclopædia Britannica. 8 (15th ed.).
1993. Missing or empty title= (help )
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