“…American continents…are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers…In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so…It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced, that we resent injuries, or make preparation for our defense… We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those [the Americas] powers, to declare, that we should consider any attempt on their [European powers] 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… 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 towards the United States.”
The Monroe Doctrine
The foreign policy objectives of the United States have changed drastically throughout the nation’s history. Old ideologies and policies have been abandoned and forgotten as America’s role in the global arena has developed. However, the Monroe Doctrine is an example of American foreign policy that has remained influential since its initiation shortly after America’s conception, up to the 21st century. The focus of this paper will be to analyze the evolution of the Monroe Doctrine, determining the origins and implementation of this policy and identifying whether its influence is still felt today.
On December 2, 1823 President James Monroe was giving his seventh annual message to Congress (Historic Documents). In this speech, President Monroe sought to establish specific guidelines for U.S. involvement in international affairs (McCormick, pg. 10). It was believed that European powers would continue to seek colonization in the Western Hemisphere and the infant United States feared the proximity of war prone and powerful European neighbors. The strong admonitions of President George Washington that, “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is … to have with them as little political connection as possible” were not so distant as to be forgotten (McCormick, page 10). Isolationism was the official foreign policy of the nation and it was from this frame of mind that President Monroe gave a customary speech that became known as the Monroe Doctrine and unknowingly shaped American foreign policy for the next 200 years.
There are two prominent lines in the Monroe Doctrine that overshadow the rest of the document: First, that American continents were, “henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European power” and second that the United States, “could not view any...