The Monroe Doctrine is a policy that was introduced by the President James Monroe in 1823 in his seventh State of the Union Address to the Congress. The policy warned that any further European attempts to colonize land or interfere with any independent nations in North and South America would be treated as an act of aggression with the backing of Great Britain. In return the United States vowed not to interfere with the existing European colonies and would not interfere on the continent of Europe. The doctrine has been invoked many times since 1823 and is considered to be one of the most important developments in U.S. foreign policy. Let’s find out the circumstances that led to this doctrine being issued.
Why was the Monroe Doctrine Issued?
There was a number of reasons that the Monroe Doctrine was introduced. One cause for U.S. concern was the recently achieved independence of many South American nations. The U.S. wanted to ensure none of the European powers would support each other to regain/move into the region during this time. The U.S. and Great Britain were especially worried that Spain would be supported by other countries to regain control of their former American territories.
Another cause for concern was the Russian claim over modern day Alaska in 1821. The Russians, who were allies with Austria and Prussia, had also recently built a fort in California and ordered foreign ships from coming within 100 miles of their American territory. In 1822 they captured the American ship Pearl, which was released after protest from the American government.
Did you know?
Although the United States was not a world power at the time, the doctrine was backed by the powerful forces of Great Britain. Even though the two countries had a controversial history Great Britain was concerned that Spain would block them from trade. With this backing the United States would become one of the important powers in the Western Hemisphere.