Sample Scholarship Essays

Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine can be considered as the United States first major
declaration to the world as a fairly new nation. The Monroe Doctrine was a
statement of United States policy on the activity and rights of powers in the
Western Hemisphere during the early to mid 1800s. The doctrine established the
United States position in the major world affairs of the time. Around the time
of the Napoleonic Wars in the 1820s, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia all
gained their independence from Spanish control (Monroe Doctrine 617). The
United States was the first nation to recognize their independence from Spain.

The European powers had still considered the new nations as still belonging to
Spain. The Americans had a sense of pride in the former Spanish colonies gaining
independence. They felt as if the American Revolution was a model for these new
Latin American nations (Faragher 265). After Napoleon went down, the monarchy in
Spain regained power (Monroe Doctrine 617). The Spanish had felt
embarrassed after losing their colonies to independence. In 1815 Tsar Alexander
I of Russia and the monarchs of Austria and Prussia formed the Holy Alliance.

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This alliance was a group set out to maintain autocracy (Migill 594). Spain then
demanded the return of its colonies of the New World (Migill 594). With the
possibility of help from the Holy Alliance and France, Spains goal was
looking realistic. The Americans also feared that if the Spanish colonies were
recaptured the United States might be next (Monroe Doctrine 617). Great
Britain refused to let the Spanish take back their now independent colonies. As
free countries the new Spanish-American nations could trade more goods with
Great Britain. However, if Spain regains control of their former colonies then
trade with Great Britain would decrease drastically (Monroe Doctrine 617).

The Russian Tsar attempted to extend his interest of expansion in North America.

In 1821 Russia had claims on the North Western coast of the North American
continent as low as the 51st parallel, deep into the Oregon Territory (Migill
595). On September 14th of the same year Tsar Alexander I issued an Imperial
Ukase (decree), saying that no foreign vessels could come within 100 Italian
miles of Russian territory. Although the decree was never enforced, John Quincy
Adams, the Secretary of State at the time, strongly opposed it. Adams felt that
many regions of North America were still unexplored such as Alaska and North
Western Canada. On July 17th, 1823 John Q Adams declared that the United States
should contest Russias Imperial Ukase on the North American continent.

President James Monroe accepted John Q Adams statement and would go on to use
it in his message (Perkins 31). The British and the Americans both had reasons
to keep the Holy Alliance out of the New World. So, why not a joint declaration?
George Canning, a British Foreign Minister and a representative of British
trading interests, sent a message to the United States on August 20th, 1823. He
said that Spain would never recover their colonies, only time will allow the new
nations to be recognized and that England does not want the colonies nor wants
to see anyone else take control of them (Perkins 37). Richard Rush, an American
Minister, had been asked the question, by George Canning, if he could make a
joint declaration between the United States and Great Britain. Rush was startled
by Cannings proposition, since it had been only 40 years since the American
Revolution and the War of 1812 was just awhile back (May 3). At first without
consulting John Q. Adams he had agreed to. President Monroe favored this idea
along with former presidents Jefferson and Madison. Jefferson had said with
Great Britain, on our side, we not fear the world (Monroe Doctrine
617). Although Great Britain and the United States were on the same track, they
had differences. The United States had recognized the colonies as new nations
and Great Britain had not (Perkins 37). George Canning said that Great Britain
would use their powerful Royal Navy to stop European intervention whether or not
they had a joint declaration (Monroe Doctrine 617). Then on October 12th,
1823 Canning had a number of meetings with Prince Jules de Polignac who was a
French ambassador in London. Their meetings concluded with the Polignac
Memorandum, saying that France would not help Spain regain her lost colonies.

All of this hindered the action toward cooperation. John Q. Adams had opposed
the issue of a joint statement with the British (Migill 595). Adams asked,
Why should the United States appear as a cockboat in the wake of a British
man-of-war? (Perkins 51). With the guaranteed backing of the British Royal
Navy and the Polignac Memorandum the United States did not need the British in
the statement. The United States would not have to share the glory with the
British. Monroe, convinced by Adams arguments, agreed to go on their own.

Canning twice on September 18th and 26th offered again and twice the United
States turned him down. Canning had suggested that Great Britain might promise
future recognition of independent nations but that did not convince the
Americans (Perkins 39). On December 2nd, 1823 President James Monroe made his
most famous message to congress (Williams 135). The Monroe Doctrine was aimed
mainly at the nations of Spain and Russia. It consisted of three main parts.

First the doctrine specifically states that, we (US) should consider any
attempt on their (European Powers) part to extend their system to any portion of
this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. The President made it
clear to Europe that the United States would go against any attempt to take
control of any independent country of the New World. The message goes on to say,
In the wars of the European Powers in matters relating to themselves we have
never taken any part, nor does is comport with our policy so to do. It is only
when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make
preparations for our defense. This lets the European nations know that the
United States would not interfere with European affairs, such as controlling of
existing colonies, unless the United States was endangered (Monroe 395). Finally
the message ends by stating that the United States would not take sides in
European arguments but the nation of Europe must not disrupt the Western
Hemisphere (Migill 594). In 1823 the United States had no where near the
military and economic power to support such a powerful statement. Adams had
questioned whether the United States would go to war if Spain acted toward
hostility toward Latin America (Perkins 44). President Monroe had his doubts but
responded by saying, It is written and I will not change it now (Perkins
45). The European Powers were really kept out of the New World due to the Royal
Navy of the British. By the twentieth century the United States had the power to
enforce the doctrine (Faragher 265). The Monroe Doctrine has been used and
referred on many occasions from when it was written up to present times. It has
become a much greater significance since 1823. The Doctrine was first put to
work against Russia in the Convention of 1824 (Faragher 265). As a result of the
Doctrine, Russians gave up the Oregon territory, was limited to
40 parallel and American trade was allowed to operate in Russian
territory54 on the North American Continent (Perkins 31). In December of 1904
President Theodore Roosevelt added a corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. The
corollary said that the United States would not interfere with Latin American
nations that conducted their affairs in a mannerly fashion, but if not the
United States would intervene and act as an international policemen (Migill
595). However, in 1930 President Hoover created the Clark Memorandum
counteracting the Roosevelt Corollary. This abjured any right of the United
States to intervene in Latin American affairs. It claimed that the Monroe
Doctrine would be applied solely for its original purpose, to protect Latin
America from European interference. An other time the United States interfered
in Latin America was in 1965. President Linden B. Johnson ordered US troops into
the Dominica Republic to stop a take over by a Communist government (Migill
596). The Monroe Doctrine also set up further protection of United States
interest. The Carter Doctrine, by President Jimmy Carter, was modeled after the
Monroe Doctrine. The Carter Doctrine was aimed to protest United States claim in
the Persian Gulf. It was in response to the Soviet Unions attempt to obtain a
warm water port in the Persian Gulf area. The Untied States wanted to protect
this area from the Soviet Union due to the fact that the Persian Gulf is rich in
oil deposits, which is crucial to the United States economy (Faragher 992). The
Americans felt secure, optimistic, and nationalistic in the early 1820s. They
boasted that their political structure was superior to autocracy of the European
powers and the Monroe Doctrine was a message that let Europe know this.


Bibliography
Faragher,
John Mack. Out of Many One: a history of the American people. New Jersey:
Prentice-Hall, 1997. May, Ernest R. The Making of the Monroe Doctrine.

Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1975. Migill, Frank N, ed. Great Events from History.

Unknown-1830. Englewood Cliffs: Salem Press, 1975 Monroe Doctrine. The
World Book Encyclopedia. 1984 ed. Monroe, James. Monroe Doctrine. 2
December 1823. A History of the Monroe Doctrine. Ed. Dexter Perkins. Toronto:
Little, Brown and Company, 1955. 394-6. Perkins, Dexter. A History of the Monroe
Doctrine. Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1955. Williams, Harry T. The
History of American Wars. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1981.


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Monroe doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was presented by President James Monroe in his annual address to Congress in 1823. Essentially its author, John Quincy Adams, who served as Monroe’s Secretary of State, wrote the Doctrine as a proclamation to the United States’ opposition of European colonialism. As of today the Doctrine has been re-interpreted and extended in a variety of ways to conform to the situation at hand, such as President Theodore Roosevelt’s Corollary.
The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 began the break up of the Spanish empires in the New World. From this point, many leaders guided their countries out of colonialism and led them into independence. These newly formed republics requested and expected diplomatic recognition from the United States and many Americans were in favor of the recognitions. Although, as previously identified, the United States had been warned that if it acknowledged the independence of these nations it would be seen as hostile actions towards Europe and both Monroe and Adams were unsure of going to war over countries that could not guarantee survival. Monroe and Adams were prepared to stay neutral as long as the other European powers did not interfere and let Spain and its colonies fight out their differences. The United States was in the process of obtaining East Florida from Spain after gaining West Florida in the Louisiana Purchase which the Spanish Minister Onis agreed to as long as the United States promised not to assist the revolutionaries nor recognize their independence. Once the Transcontinental Treaty was ratified, Monroe began to extend recognition to the new Latin American republics stretched out over a few years so not to gain a European response.
In 1823, there was talk of Spain and France joining together for attacks on the new republics with the backing of Russia, Prussia, and Austria; fear of France becoming a power once again in the Americas encouraged the British to propose that the United States and Britain join together to warn off the two. Although Jefferson and Madison were in support of the offer, Adams was suspicious. In a cabinet meeting, Adams argued that it would be undignified to address Russia and France explicitly and fight in the shadows of the British, which won over the cabinet and Monroe delivered the Adams drawn independent policy in his address to Congress. In the address, the United States informed the European powers that any independent countries in the American continents were no longer subject to new European colonization. The United States was against European interference and intervention. The Doctrine implied that any effort to extend their political influence into the Western Hemisphere or occupation of armed forces would jeopardize our own peace and safety. With this said the United States clarified that it would not interfere in European affairs and expected Europe to do the same for American affairs.
The Monroe Doctrine was originally a defensive policy. It aimed to limit European expansion in the Americas after the United States had accepted the responsibility of being a protector of the newly independent states. In 1823, when news stirred of Spain and France restoring their combined power to bring war upon the new nations, it appalled the British who felt all the work statesmen had done to get France out of the New World would be undone. The British wanted the support of the United States, but Adams felt instead of standing behind the British war seekers, they would come out with their own independent doctrine stating the Western Hemisphere’s independence from European colonization.
Implicit corollaries were added the Doctrine at various times to clarify the wishes of the United States to the European powers and mentioned any issues that it may not have touched on originally. The “no transfer” principle was an extension to the original no new colonization principle. This was in response to the British trying to cede Cuba from Spain. The United States opposed British annexation and Adams claimed that since Cuba was incapable of self-support, it could only lean towards North American support. Thus the Doctrine came to include that it prohibited any transferring of ownership of a colony to another European country.
In 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes added that no European country could operate or fortify a canal. This extension contradicted the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, which stated that the United States had to jointly control a Central American canal with Britain. During the time of the extension, the United States was more involved in Latin America than in any other country. It attracted the interests of the United States because of prospects for an isthmian canal that would link the Pacific Ocean with the Gulf of Mexico. With this canal it would reduce commercial and naval travel time to the Asian markets. The Suez Canal had just opened in 1869 and it stirred canal enthusiasts, so once the constructor of the Suez wanted to attempt to build a canal through Panama, Hayes jumped at the opportunity to voice U.S. concern. Secretary of State to Garfield in 1881, reinstated that the United States would not consent to any treaty that voided our right to priority in the American continent, and asked that the British abrogate the Treaty.
The third extension solved the South American boundary dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela over the boundary separating Venezuela from British Guiana. For years, Venezuela had been appealing to the United States over the violation of the Monroe Doctrine by Britain. They felt they were being robbed of land. Secretary of State Richard Olney interpreted the Doctrine as giving the U.S. the authority to mediate boundary disputes. So after being haggled over not annexing Hawaii and for not helping in Nicaragua when the British landed there in 1895, bold action was needed to lessen the criticism of the Cleveland administration and recoup the Democratic Party. The extension prohibited the other European powers from interfering and reiterated the no military intervention clause in the original Doctrine.
Venezuela owed money to Germany and Great Britain during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. The Venezuelan dictator had perpetually deferred payment on bonds held by German investors and owed money to British collectors. Both countries agreed to send a combined fleet to create a blockade in Venezuela ports after delivering an ultimatum demanding immediate settlement of their claims. Even though this forth extension was in opposition to the international law, Roosevelt added through the Drago Doctrine which prohibited any foreign force in the Western Hemisphere, even if the only reason for their occupation was for the collection of debt.
To Roosevelt the Monroe Doctrine was a guarantee of commercial independence for the Americas and the United States should intervene itself in the domestic affairs of its neighbors if they proved unable to protect U.S. investments in the region on their own.
The U.S. had to be a police power in the Western Hemisphere when Europeans wanted to forcefully collect their debt. Continual wrongdoing by European nations needed the intervention of a “civilized society.” It is the job of the United States to uphold stability in the Americas and non-payment of debts interfered with the stability, so the U.S. is forced to intervene. This extension to the Doctrine became known as the Roosevelt Corollary. It replaced European intervention with that of the United States. This extension often causes the forth to be overlooked because they both refer to European powers using force to collect debt, but the Roosevelt Corollary states the police role of the United States and he attached it to the Monroe Doctrine to win public acceptance.

The Roosevelt Corollary became a justification for the United States intervening in countries when something jeopardized U.S. investments. Such as Roosevelt’s seizure of the Dominican Republic once Europeans were threatening to intervene on behalf of the new Dominican Republic regime which owed over twenty million. When Roosevelt initially intervened, he took control over the country’s customs and receivership. Through this seizure, he distributed 45% of their revenues to their foreign creditors, although this occupation lasted for more than three decades. After this intervention the U.S. extended its power throughout the Caribbean when an opportunity arose. In 1930, a memorandum was issued stating that the United States did not have the power to intervene in the less able countries, unless European powers were threatening, which reversed the Corollary.
When the Monroe Doctrine was first introduced it seemed just as a warning to Europe not to interfere with the revolutions of Latin America, almost a gesture of solidarity and sympathy to the newly independent nations, but it was evident of American selfishness. Monroe and Adams carefully exempted the United States through careful wording when addressing the influence in the Western Hemisphere. The Doctrine was a valid basis for U.S. policy towards Latin America and became a fence to block out European expansion.

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