Monroe Doctrine and Us-Latin America Relations

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Since the 1820s, the Monroe Doctrine has been the foundation of the U.S. policy toward Latin America. However, it has been interpreted many different ways. Some U.S. presidents have broadly interpreted it, expanding its meaning. Others have taken it to mean only what it states. In a speech to Congress in 1823, President James Monroe issued a new policy concerning the threat of European intervention to inhibit American sovereignty. This came to be known as the Monroe Doctrine, which became the cornerstone of U.S. relations with Latin America. It states that the United States would stay out of European affairs. It also warns the European powers that any effort to extend European influence into the Western Hemisphere would be regarded as a threat to the U.S and that the New World was not open to further colonization. However, colonies that existed would be allowed to remain colonies In the 1840s, a widespread belief arose throughout the U.S. that America was destined to expand from coast to coast. Some came to believe that it was not only the right, but the duty of the United States to expand to the Pacific coast. This belief came to be known as Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny came to be associated with the Monroe Doctrine because it prevented a European nation from gaining influence in the Americas. However, Mexico owned most of western North America and many Americans felt that it stood in the way of Manifest Destiny. Texas was part of Mexico, but it came to be mostly made up of Americans. These Americans felt no loyalty to Mexico and wanted to join the United States. The Texans rebelled and won their independence in 1836. They were admitted into the Union in 1845. The annexation of Texas by the U.S. angered the Mexicans, who had never really accepted the independence of Texas. The Mexicans claimed that the southern border of Texas was the Nueces River, while the Americans maintained that it was the Rio Grande, which was some 200 miles to the south. The land between these two rivers was claimed by both nations. In 1846, the Americans established posts below the Nueces. Mexican soldiers retaliated by crossing the Rio Grande and briefly fighting with the Americans. President Polk asserted that this was an act of war, and Congress declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846. The Americans were outnumbered, but were better armed and had superior leadership. Soon, the Mexican capital of Mexico City was captured and the ruler, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, was captured. The Mexicans were forced to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, in which it gave up the lands that are now California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming. A few years later, in 1853, the U.S. bought the rest of Arizona and New Mexico. Manifest Destiny had now been achieved. In 1848, Mexico wanted to sell the Yucatan peninsula to Great Britain for 64 million dollars. President James K. Polk became alarmed at the possibility of the English gaining a foothold in the Americas. He informed both parties that this transaction would be a violation of the Monroe Doctrine and threatened war. Consequently, the deal did not go through. This addition to the Monroe Doctrine came to be known as the Polk Corollary. After the Civil War and Reconstruction, came what is called the Gilded Age (c.1876-1914). During this period, there was a big economic boom and many big businesses and corporations were created. As a result, resources were needed. One major source of resources was Latin America. During this time, there was an independence movement going on in Cuba. The newspapers of the day wanted to increase circulation. Knowing that a war would accomplish this, they sensationalized and even fabricated news. The newspapers were able to gain support for the Cubans fighting for independence. Yellow journalism is a method practiced by the media to use half-truths, lies, and exaggerations to inflame public opinion. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph...
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