Monroe Doctrine

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Ever since its inception as a nation, the United States of America followed a foreign policy of isolationism right up to president Jefferson. This was become the European nations, which were at the helm of American affairs, were involved in several conflicts and turmoil, and American presidents realized the folly of involving such a young nation in war. Thus in 1793, when France declared war on Britain, Americans had divided opinions on the course of action. The federalists wanted to support Britain, and Hamilton, the secretary of treasury, rallied their cause. Secretary of state, who like many other Americans wanted to support France against Britain. However George Washington stuck by his policy of isolationism and avoided conflict. John Adams, and his successor Thomas Jefferson also adapted this policy. When this conflict between Britain and France increased, Jefferson placed an embargo on trade with both nations. While this action highlighted American neutrality, it was also harmful for the American economy, which led to the removal of the embargo. This step highlighted the folly of the policy of isolationism; making it obvious that United States had to make a stand, while continuing its policy of neutrality, not simply isolate itself from world affairs. Hence was a predecessor to the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine was the fruition of early American foreign policy. It was delivered by president James Monroe, in his seventh annual address to the Congress on the 2nd of December 1823. It stated that United states would not tolerate any attempt by the European powers to colonize or interfere in the functioning of the western hemisphere, whilst the western hemisphere would in no way interfere in the European sphere of influence. It was meant to protect the newly independent Latin American states from European control. It was a defining moment in the separation of the old and new world, and became a long-standing American policy with minor variations, to be invoked by several American presidents. The Monroe doctrine, was delivered, and not read out in the congress unlike the other addresses. In this address Monroe gave the background for such a policy and the existing state of foreign relations, in which he mentioned negotiations with France, and dialogue with Russia on their commercial interests in the United States. He also talked about the Treaty of Ghent and the difference between US and Britain on the boundaries between the US and Canada. The president also announced to Congress a new round of negotiations with the British toward establishing a treaty that would define the exclusive and shared commercial interests of the United States and Great Britain as regarded states and territories bordering on lakes and rivers emptying into the St. Lawrence River. Thus he justified the need for such a policy and in his address included military strategies and provisions to safeguard it, like authorizing additional naval force for safeguarding their commercial interests in the Mediterranean Sea, Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic coast. The key paragraph of the address, which summed up the foreign policy stated “We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their 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, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any inter- position 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 toward the United States”. The Monroe...
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