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Facts about The Monroe Doctrine For Kids


The Monroe Doctrine was a U.S. foreign policy regarding domination of the American continent in 1823.It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention.The doctrine noted that the United States would neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries.

  • The Doctrine was issued in 1823 at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved or were at the point of gaining independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires.
  • The United States, working in agreement with Great Britain, wanted to guarantee that no European power would move in.
  • By the end of the nineteenth century, Monroe’s declaration was seen as a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States and one of its longest-standing tenets.
  • Great Britain shared the general objective of the Monroe Doctrine, if from an obviously opposite standpoint and ultimate aim, and even wanted to declare a joint statement to keep other European powers from further colonizing the New World.
  • The second key passage, a fuller statement of the Doctrine, is addressed to the “allied powers” of Europe (that is, the Holy Alliance); it clarifies that the United States remains neutral on existing European colonies in the Americas but is opposed to “interpositions” that would create new colonies among the newly independent Spanish American republics: We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United Statesand those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.
  • Similar to President Woodrow Wilson’s 1919 proposal of a League of Nations nearly 100 years later, Canning’s proposal “defected ideas into the American decision-making process in such a manner that they imperceptibly seemed to be a part of Washington’s own”.
  • On December 2, 1845, U.S. President James Polk announced that the principle of the Monroe Doctrine should be strictly enforced.Washington denounced this as a violation of the doctrine, but were unable to intervene because of the American Civil War.
  • The doctrine’s authors, chiefly future-President and then secretary-of-state John Quincy Adams, saw it as a proclamation by the United States of moral opposition to colonialism, but it has subsequently been re-interpreted and applied in a variety of instances.
  • Before becoming president, Theodore Roosevelt had proclaimed the rationale of the Monroe Doctrine in supporting intervention in the Spanish colony of Cuba in 1898. President Theodore Roosevelt rejected this as an extension of the Monroe Doctrine, declaring, “We do not guarantee any state against punishment if it misconducts itself”.
  • The Roosevelt Corollary was invoked to intervene militarily in Latin America to stop the spread of European influence.