Free Essay On Monroe Doctrine: An Exercise In American Sovereignty
Uneasy over the threat of Spain regaining power in the Western Hemisphere, President James Monroe convened with former US Presidents Thomas Jefferson as well as James Madison on what steps to take. Both former heads of state suggested that Monroe to seek the support of Great Britain. Nevertheless, John Quincy Adams, the Secretary of State in the Monroe administration, offered another line of action for Monroe. Following the position offered by Adams, Monroe charted an independent foreign policy agenda for the United States, declaring the main points of his policy in his speech to the US Congress on the 2nd of December, 1823 (Library of Congress 1).
During this oratory to Congress, Monroe outlined his landmark foreign policy agenda, the “Monroe Doctrine.” Though there agenda has a number of provisions, the policy outline basically stressed the point that the United States will not interfere in the developments in the Western Hemisphere. It is understandable that the United States would take significant interest in the welfare of its proximate neighbors-the countries located in the Western Hemisphere. The Doctrine is the primary expression of American foreign policy with regards to affairs in the Western Hemisphere. The policy was enmeshed in the Monroe speech to Congress; at its very core, the Monroe Doctrine captures the stance of the American government that it will not tolerate any further acts of expansion or figurehead rulers from the European powers (Our Documents 1).
However, the expressed desire of the policy was not completely expounded until after 30 years had lapsed. When the Doctrine was declared in 1823, the United States did not have the power or the influence to carry out the tenets of the policy. Overseas, the Doctrine went almost unnoticed. Withal, by the turn of the century, the initial part of the 1900s saw the rise of the United States as a global superpower, and the Doctrine evolved from a largely unnoticed document to the cornerstone of American foreign policy during the time.
In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt supplemented the Monroe Doctrine with the “Roosevelt Corollary.” The supplement stated that the United States has the sole right to arbitrate in Latin American regional affairs, specifically in countries that were deliberately reneging on their commitments to pay their international liabilities (Library 1). At this time, European creditor countries were calling for violent means to force their Latin American “clients” to settle their debts. In the “Corollary,” President Roosevelt promptly underlined the authority of the United States to implement its “international police powers” to curtail this injustice.
Roosevelt deployed American Marines to various Latin American states-Santo Domingo in 1094, Nicaragua (1911), and to Haiti (1915). All of these actions were geared to defend the region from European intrusion; nevertheless, other nations in the Americas viewed the American “interference” with a modicum of disdain, and associations with Latin American nations and the “Great Colossus of the North” were filled with tensions for many years The Doctrine was again invoked during the Cuban missile issue in 1962. Given the support of the Organization of American States, the US encircled the island nation with a massive naval and air stranglehold. After a number of anxious days, the Soviet Union dismantled the sites and withdrew the missiles deployed on the island. Days later, the United States took apart some of its decrepit missile sites in Turkey (Our Documents 1).
Library of Congress “Monroe Doctrine” <http://www.americaslibrary.gov/aa/monroe/aa_monroe_doctrine_2.html
Our Documents “Monroe Doctrine (1823)” <http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=23
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