Roosevelt's Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine Essay

Roosevelt's Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine Essay

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Before considering Professor X’s assertion that the Roosevelt Corollary actually corrupted the Monroe Doctrine’s “benevolent intent,” it is worth considering whether or not the Monroe Docterine was as benevolent as the unnamed professor seems to suggest. Professor X considers Monroe’s 1823 Doctrine an act of benevolence, in which an increasingly dominant world power generously extends protection over its continental neighbors. Yet the Professor ignores the inherently imperialistic subtext that is contained within the Doctrine, and thus his comparison of the Monroe Doctrine to the Roosevelt Corollary omits a fundamental aspect of America’s colonialist history.
Monroe wrote that Spain and Portugal’s efforts "to improve the condition of the people of [colonized countries in the Americas]” yielded disappointing results, and suggests that the United States was better positioned to take on the role of colonial overseer given the nation’s unique geographical, social, and political connection to the Americas. Monroe justified this right to benevolent imperialism largely around the idea that America’s government, “has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, [which has produced] unexampled felicity [throughout America].” Yet contained within this utopian treatment of the American political system is the inherent suggestion that the American definition of “unexampled felicity” was universally applicable throughout the Americas. Here, the issue of textuality is raised; while politically, the protection of American countries by the United States suggests a benevolent intention, the idea that America had indirect authority over its neighbors indicates an impe...


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...versal definition of the “civilized nation,” a notion first encountered in the Monroe Doctrine. The parallelism of the issues of textuality lends credibility to the assertion that the Roosevelt Corollary was a natural political evolution from the Monroe Doctrine. America’s turn of the century militaristic power coupled with the continuous dissipation of the institution of direct colonialism during the same period produced an international landscape in which America no longer had to rely solely upon “ideological proliferation” in order to avoid entanglement with European imperialistic interests in the Americas. While Roosevelt’s Corollary extended the reach of the Monroe Doctrine (both physically and ideologically), an understanding of both document’s respective ties to a deeper adherence to imperialism reveals an evolutionary connection rather than a corruption.

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