The Monroe Doctrine: Origin and Early American Foreign Policy

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The essay discusses the creation of the Monroe Doctrine and how its birth shaped U.S. foreign policy from the 1820’s through the American Civil War. It also looks at the key players and their various motives in creating this important document.

The Monroe Doctrine

History during the early 1800’s found the American people very interested in the situation involving the Latin American countries found in central, South America, and Mexico. Though these Latin countries tried to establish their own government and proclaimed their independence, certain European countries continued to fight and reinstate their force and power over them. A major factor to consider was that France and Spain were considering joining forces to create a large and powerful military force, also in hopes of moving in to reclaim the areas of Latin states in which French or Spanish power had slipped.

Americans were showing equal concern to the defense of their own country, their coastlines and the states and territory of the North American continent. This defense, not only in the meaning of protecting their colonized states from invasive forces, but defense also to protect the available land on the continent from the future possibilities of settlement and control by European countries or the Holy Alliance (Russia, Prussia and Austria.)

During President James Monroe’s term, the president realized the States should start to exert power in the world. The States must develop a policy to protect his country's interests. President Monroe chose to consult with many of those he found wise and those whose opinions he valued (former President Thomas Jefferson, John Calhoun and James Madison, and Secretary John Quincy Adams.

Great Britain tried to collaborate with the United States, hoping to send out a joint message to other European countries and the Holy Alliance. All but the Secretary of State agreed it would be in the best interest of the States to ally with Great Britain. The thought was to create a document or declaration stating the land on the northern continent of America could no longer be claimed by any European country, or the Holy Alliance. It was also clearly expressed Europe or the Holy Alliance should not interfere with into American affairs and could expect the United States would not become involved in the business of other countries. There would be no tolerance of...

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...t perhaps the history of the world. Declaring that Europe and the Holy Alliance could no longer interfere with the Latin countries allowed these new countries the time they needed to develop their countries, their business, and their trade and shipping markets. Since commerce and shipping was no longer dominated by the larger countries, this allowed the States an opportunity to grow and develop in the trade market also. This time and confidence allowed them to develop their own naval military powers also. The initiation and implementation of such a wise first move in foreign policy was one of many that helped to build the United States into a forceful power.


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