The Monroe Doctrine: The Basis of
U.S. Foreign Policy
A.P. U.S. History
January 12, 2009
The Monroe Doctrine, presented before congress in 1823 by President James Monroe, is the underling basis of the current United States foreign policy. The Monroe Doctrine states that European nations may no longer colonize or influence the new independent Central American states. In return the United States would also not interfere with the aspiring states, however if European powers tried to influence in Central America the U.S. would intervene. Many political analysts believe that the doctrine’s principles have expired because all Latin America is now independent, however the doctrine states only to keep the power of Europe out of the Americas. This doctrine will be everlasting and will never fade. Monroe did not only intend for the doctrine to apply for the time when Latin America was beginning to claim its independence, but for all future generations when foreign powers would potentially invade in the policies and activities of the Americas. The Monroe Doctrine is strongly related to George Washington’s Farewell Address. Both documents caution against the forming of political ties between any nation of the old world and any nation of the new world. It demonstrates how the Americas should stand together against the powers of Europe and continues to be largely utilized as a principle even though it is no longer written. To begin with, current U.S. foreign policy no longer mentions provisions of the Monroe Doctrine. In today’s world, many principles stand and reflect on the decisions of congress and the president. The Americas keep very close ties with each other and the United States respects that. However, at this time there is no more land in the Americas to be colonized, and even if there was, citizens of the Americas would be able to find it before any explorer from any European country would. It is no longer necessary to specifically state that European influence is prohibited to interfere with the political systems of the Americas. It is now implied that there is an American alliance, but only against European nations. This alliance does not stand when there are problems between two American nations. For example, the hostilities toward Cuba and the United States are still relevant, even after the retirement of Fidel Castro. “… the Monroe Doctrine is not a policy of aggression; it is a policy of self-defense” ( Dozer 88). This example demonstrates the pure purpose of the doctrine to serve the needs of the U.S. The Monroe Doctrine, as interpreted, does not only stand against the European colonization of the Americas, but also the overall idea of the Americas standing together and repelling the influence of European nations. Between the members of the Americas there is not only a basic alliance, but there is also a trade and safeguarding agreement. “This agreement (North American Free Trade Agreement) will remove most barriers to trade and investment among the United States, Canada, and Mexico” (NAFTA). The North American Free Trade Agreement demonstrates how the United States is willing to protect and assist its neighboring countries. NAFTA is just one of the ways that the Monroe Doctrine still affects the Americas today and make them stand together almost as one. Another way that the Americas protect each other are the CAFTA and the FTAA agreements. CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) like NAFTA shows the joining together of neighboring nations for a common cause. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) is being discussed by the heads of the countries located in the Americas. It is the closest modern day objective that relates to the Monroe Doctrine. FTAA connects the Americas in a way that excludes European nations from intervening. It connects all three of the Americas, which was one of the objectives of the Monroe...
Bibliography: Dozer, Donald M., ed. The Monroe Doctrine:Its Modern Significance. New Youk: Alfred A. Knopf INC., 1965.
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"North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)." Foreign Agricultural Service. United States Department of Agriculture. 05 Jan. 2009. http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/Policy/nafta/nafta.asp
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Vaughan, Harold C. The Monroe Doctrine, 1823: A Landmark in American Foreign Policy. Franklin Watts, 1973.
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