Duringhis tenure as the American president, President James Monroe used histime to address the congress to make a bold assertion on 2ndDec 1823. This assertion famously came to be commonly referred as“TheMonroe Doctrine’.The Doctrinewas a foreign policy for United States concerning countries in theLatin America region, which was established in the years 1823. Thedoctrine stated that, ‘further efforts or plans by the Europeannations to invade the land or interfere with the states in the Southor North America. This would have been viewed as acts of aggression,and in turn would have invited the United States intervention(Bingham, 2011). In addition to warning the European countries, thedoctrine also stated the intent of the Americans not to interferewith European societies nor interfere in the inner concerns ofEuropean nations. This paper looks into the Monroe-doctrine, how itwas established, as well as the long-term effects it had to theparties involved. This will include the historical development of thedoctrine as well as the parties affected by the doctrine.
Establishingof the Monroe Doctrine
TheMonroe-Doctrine was articulated during presidents Monroe’s 7thannual message to the congress, and his main concern was thelimitation of the European powers, which were obligated to respectthe western hemisphere as the sphere of interest to the UnitedStates. The doctrine warns European nations that the US would nottolerate further colonization or puppet monarchs. The doctrine wasentreated in 1865, when the United States offered support to the thenMexican president Benito Juarez. The doctrine played a key role andbecome a longstanding tenet of the United States foreign policy. TheUnited States also wanted to demonstrate its strength and power tothe rest of the world and the Monroe doctrine served the right toolto do this (Gilderhus, 2006).
Theestablishment of the Monroe doctrine came as a result of PresidentMonroe searching for an advice in reference to foreign policy issuesregarding America. This came at a time when the president was notaware whether to accept an offer from Great Britain, which requestedthe US to join Great Britain and issue a joint message ordeclaration, which was meant to issue a warning to otherpowers/nations to keep off affairs of both the Central and SouthAmerica. However, after discussions with his administration, unitedstates choose to issue an independent denunciation of any furthercolonization of the western hemisphere by the European nations.Monroe decided to follow a course that was entirely independent ofGreat Britain and in turn came the Monroe doctrine, which was to bethe announcement of the United States position with reference to thematter at hand (Monroe Doctrine, 2015).
The‘Monroe Doctrine’ was established due to a number of factors. Onemajor factor that led to its establishment is that, Britishadministration and the US were heavily worried over the probabilityof the expansion of the European colonial territories in theAmericas. One of the fears by the Britain is that, Spain would try torepossess some of its former colonies, which themselves had gainedindependence. The direct impact could have been a negative one, asBritain was dependent on the trade with those countries, and in turnhad Spain regained its former colonies, Britain’s economic relationwith these nations would have suffered a decline (Gilderhus, 2006).On the other hand, the US desired to make sure that, no Europeanstate would challenge to extend its colonization into the westernhemisphere. The two countries (USA and Britain) suggested combiningforces to preserve their country’s interest. However, the thensecretary-of-state, John Adams Quincy induce President Monroe that,the United States ought to establish their own policy to safeguardtheir countries’ interests independent of Britain (Sadowski-Smith,2006). United States choose to issue the policy on its own, withoutcollaborating with Britain. The Monroe Doctrine in the long runbecame an integral element in the US policy concerning the LatinAmerica, as well as becoming a component of the country’s foreignpolicy.
Anotherfactor that contributed to the establishment of the Monroe-Doctrineis the fact that, the United States was tired of Europeancolonization. The doctrine was to send a message to the Europeannations that, United States was no longer to be considered or takenas an open area to European influence. Moreover, the United Statesused the doctrine to distance herself from the European affairs,especially when it came to the colonization’s issues. Moreover, theenactment of the doctrine was seen as a clear path or tool to preventFrance and Spain coming together to regain the colonies in SouthAmerica that Spain had lost. The United States feared the union ofthe French and the Spanish troops in the western hemisphere, as thiswould have led to Spain regaining its lost colonies (Gilderhus,2006).
Theestablishment of the doctrine came at the close of the Napoleonicwars in Europe. The Napoleonic wars had given the Spanish coloniesthe chance to gain independence from the Spanish rule (except PuertoRico and Cuba). The formation of the doctrine was seen as a tool towarn the European powers not at one point try to regain the land.Working together with Britain, the United States worked hard towarranty that, not one of the European state would move into theregion that had gained independence (Monroe Doctrine, 2015). Insummary, it can be said that, the successful revolution against theSpanish rule by their colonies both in south and central regions ofAmerica, resulted in the establishment of independent and newcountries in the area. This in turn led to the formation of a rule toprotect the Spanish troops from regaining the countries, and in turn,the establishment of the Monroe doctrine, which was seen to serveboth the United States interest as well as other newly formedcountries. Finally, another factor that contributed to theestablishment of the doctrine is the expansion of the Russianexploration and trapping of Alaska, which was occupied by Russianssince 1741. United States used the doctrine as its definition of theforeign policy and how it was to relate to other nations. Theexpansions of European powers (such as the case of Russia in Alaska)were seen as security threats to the Americans and in turn theenactment of the Monroe doctrine to protect itself and the regionaround them.
Long-termeffects of the Monroe Doctrine
Sinceits establishment, the Monroe’s doctrine has had both immediate andlong-term effects after its announcement. One of the most notableimmediate effects of the doctrine is that, it stopped theinterference of the Americans by the Europeans. The Monroe Doctrinereceived a strong support in the US, and had a considerable impact tothe Americans, mainly because it promoted and continued to fight forthe country’s interests. Moreover, the guideline has helped otherLatin American nations as well, due to the fact that, the doctrineemphasizes their right to freedom (Sadowski-Smith, 2006).
Onelong-term impact of the doctrine is that, it acted as a superlativeUS foreign policy statement. In other words, the doctrine is regardedas the United States foundation of its current foreign policy, or thecornerstone of its foreign policy. For example, the doctrine is seenas the antecedent to the ‘distinct relationship’ concerning USand countries such as the UK. Hence, the doctrine is used to definethe relationship between US with other nations. One of the successfulincidents when the doctrine was used to stress its importance as wellas the country’s foreign policy is during the period of theVenezuela border disagreement. President Theodore Rooseveltaggressively used the doctrine in early 1990’s and managed tosecure the Cuban nation from the Spanish rule. This incident stressedthe importance of the doctrine to the Americans foreign policy aswell as expressing their powers and strengths towards other nations(Sadowski-Smith, 2006).
Inaddition to being the foundation for the country’s foreign-policy,the Monroe-Doctrine was used by the northern region to ward off theEuropean powers that wanted to side with the south during the civilwar. Through the enactment of the doctrine, the United States becamea ‘policeman’ to the Latin American nations, in turn using itsrapidly expanding military and economic powers to protect the newlyestablished regions in Latin America in addition to influencing theirpolicies. This adopted idea of gaining control of the westernhemisphere formed the basis of developing the American foreignpolicy, which was later used by future presidents. For example,President Roosevelt invoked the doctrine to build the Americansforeign policy during his reign (Monroe Doctrine, 2015).
Despiteits enactment, and self-proclaiming of the United States as abodyguard, there was a problem with some Latin American nations whowere opposed to the big brother aspect that was played by the UnitedStates. This created problems between US and some Latin Americancountries. The countries have taken that, America has used thedoctrine to interfere with their countries policies. For example thedoctrine has been blamed for some military actions in regions such asthe Caribbean and Latin America. However, despite this negativeattribute to the doctrine, it gave almost all new countries thefreedom to establish their countries (Monroe Doctrine, 2015).
Thedoctrine has additionally acted as a protector as well as cementingthe countries’ relationship with other nations. The doctrine becamethe country’s protector against other European countries as well asprotecting other nations in the hemisphere. The Monroe doctrineformed the policies under which United States expanded its militarymuscle to help in expanding its influence to other nations and inturn becoming a force to be recognized. On the other hand, since thepassing of the doctrine by the congress, the Americans didn’t havethe military power to back up the threats related to the doctrine.This led to the Americans joining hands with Great Britain, which hadstrong military power, and in turn forming a positive relationshipwith the United States. The doctrine further cemented therelationship between America and other like-minded countries, andsince then US have joined hands with countries with common interest(Nakajima, 2007).
TheMonroe doctrine was used to affirm or solidify the country’sposition as a dominant powerhouse in the western hemisphere, and inturn becoming an integral part of the American constitutionespecially when it comes to relations with other countries. Throughthe use of the doctrine, the Americans managed to prevent furtherinvasions of the South America by the Europeans. Decades after itsestablishment, the Monroe doctrine becomes a key component in thejustifying western expansion. Moreover, the doctrine was used as abasis for interfering policies of the US well into the 20th centuryera (Lewis, 2011).
Inconclusion, the Monroe Doctrine has been an important development inAmerican history since its establishment. It’s clear that, thedoctrine is the cornerstone of the Americas foreign policy, which hasbeen functional even in today., Moreover, the doctrine shaped thecountries’ relationship with other nations, especially theEuropeans, not forgetting to give chance to the country todemonstrate its strength and powers. Moreover, the doctrine was usedby policy makers to keep order and stability in areas of concern aswell as keeping the Europeans at bay. The Monroe Doctrine emerged inresponse to the exigencies of European politics, at the end of theNapoleonic Wars, and in turn the doctrine reshaped the world from itspast. It can be said that, the doctrine actual establishment can beowed to historical circumstances, as well as turns and twists of thehistorical developments in early 1820’s.
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