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Monroe Doctrine Essay

1606 words - 6 pages

"The Monroe Doctrine"

James Monroe was born in 1758 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He attended school until the age of sixteen. He then entered the College of William and Mary (Sauer, 2000, p. 233). Monroe enlisted in the army during the Revolutionary War and at the age of eighteen he became lieutenant. He served under Washington and he was later made a captain for his efforts in the battle at Trenton, New Jersey, where he was wounded in the shoulder. From then on Monroe was active in a variety of politics.
Monroe became the state legislator of Virginia in 1782, served three years in Congress starting in 1784, and became Minister to France from 1794 to 1796. He also governed Virginia from 1799 to 1802 and became the Secretary of State during the Madison Presidency. While serving in this position he helped in the negotiations of the War of 1812(Sauer, 2001, p.235-36). Monroe was chosen for candidacy by his predecessor James Madison. He served two terms as president and had virtually no opposition in either election. This was due to the fall of the Federalist Party. At the end of Monroe's first term he dealt with The Panic of 1819 and in the Missouri Compromise during 1820 (Text, 2005). The most important and most influential document of this time would come at the end of his last term, the Monroe Document.
The Monroe Doctrine was one of the first declarations by the United States in terms of foreign policy. It established the United States position in world affairs by declaring what they believed were their rights and powers over the Americas. It was written by James Monroe and John Quincy Adams and delivered by President Monroe in his speech to congress on December 2, 1823 (Best, 2004, p.132).
The primary cause of the Monroe doctrine was a fear that the Great Alliance, which consisted of Austria, Prussia, and Russia, would take over land in the Americas. In 1820, during the Age of Good Feelings and Monroe's second term as president, Spain's colonies in Latin America revolted. The colonies gained their independence from Spain and between 1822 and 1826 the United States recognized a tie with the Latin republics. Recognizing this tie put the United States at odds with the Great Alliance. America also feared that Russia would take over the Oregon Territory. Great Britain was also upset because they feared that the Great Alliance would try to colonize the new Latin Republics again. If this were to happen it would result in worse commerce and trade for them. (Text, 2005)
Although both Great Britain and the United States would benefit from joint declaration against the Great Alliance, which Great Briain had proposed, both Monroe and Adams believed it to be unnecessary and not politically wise (Podell & Anzovin, 2001, p. 80). Instead of making this joint declaration President Monroe and his Secretary of State, John Adams, drafted what would be called the Monroe Doctrine. On December 2, 1823 the Monroe Doctrine...

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