Monroe Doctrine Essay

This essay has a total of 1633 words and 7 pages.

Monroe Doctrine

Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine can be considered as the United States first major declaration to the
world as a fairly new nation. The Monroe Doctrine was a statement of United States policy
on the activity and rights of powers in the Western Hemisphere during the early to mid
1800s. The doctrine established the United States position in the major world affairs of
the time.

Around the time of the Napoleonic Wars in the 1820s, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia
all gained their independence from Spanish control (“Monroe Doctrine” 617). The United
States was the first nation to recognize their independence from Spain. The European
powers had still considered the new nations as still belonging to Spain. The Americans
had a sense of pride in the former Spanish colonies gaining independence. They felt as if
the American Revolution was a model for these new Latin American nations (Faragher 265).

After Napoleon went down, the monarchy in Spain regained power (“Monroe Doctrine” 617).
The Spanish had felt embarrassed after losing their colonies to independence. In 1815
Tsar Alexander I of Russia and the monarchs of Austria and Prussia formed the Holy
Alliance. This alliance was a group set out to maintain autocracy (Migill 594). Spain
then demanded the return of its colonies of the New World (Migill 594). With the
possibility of help from the Holy Alliance and France, Spain’s goal was looking realistic.
The Americans also feared that if the Spanish colonies were recaptured the United States
might be next (“Monroe Doctrine” 617).

Great Britain refused to let the Spanish take back their now independent colonies. As
free countries the new Spanish-American nations could trade more goods with Great Britain.
However, if Spain regains control of their former colonies then trade with Great Britain
would decrease drastically (“Monroe Doctrine” 617).

The Russian Tsar attempted to extend his interest of expansion in North America. In 1821
Russia had claims on the North Western coast of the North American continent as low as the
51st parallel, deep into the Oregon Territory (Migill 595). On September 14th of the same
year Tsar Alexander I issued an Imperial Ukase (decree), saying that no foreign vessels
could come within 100 Italian miles of Russian territory. Although the decree was never
enforced, John Quincy Adams, the Secretary of State at the time, strongly opposed it.
Adams felt that many regions of North America were still unexplored such as Alaska and
North Western Canada. On July 17th, 1823 John Q Adams declared that the United States
should contest Russia’s Imperial Ukase on the North American continent. President James
Monroe accepted John Q Adams’ statement and would go on to use it in his message (Perkins

The British and the Americans both had reasons to keep the Holy Alliance out of the New
World. So, why not a joint declaration? George Canning, a British Foreign Minister and a
representative of British trading interests, sent a message to the United States on August
20th, 1823. He said that Spain would never recover their colonies, only time will allow
the new nations to be recognized and that England does not want the colonies nor wants to
see anyone else take control of them (Perkins 37).

Richard Rush, an American Minister, had been asked the question, by George Canning, if he
could make a joint declaration between the United States and Great Britain. Rush was
startled by Canning’s proposition, since it had been only 40 years since the American
Revolution and the War of 1812 was just awhile back (May 3). At first without consulting
John Q. Adams he had agreed to. President Monroe favored this idea along with former
presidents Jefferson and Madison. Jefferson had said with Great Britain, “on our side, we
not fear the world” (“Monroe Doctrine” 617).

Although Great Britain and the United States were on the same track, they had differences.
The United States had recognized the colonies as new nations and Great Britain had not
(Perkins 37). George Canning said that Great Britain would use their powerful Royal Navy
to stop European intervention whether or not they had a joint declaration (“Monroe
Doctrine” 617). Then on October 12th, 1823 Canning had a number of meetings with Prince
Jules de Polignac who was a French ambassador in London. Their meetings concluded with
the Polignac Memorandum, saying that France would not help Spain regain her lost colonies.
All of this hindered the action toward cooperation. John Q. Adams had opposed the issue
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