www.americaslibrary.gov In October 1823, President Monroe was concerned about Spain reclaiming sovereignty in the Western Hemisphere. He asked former presidents Jefferson and Madison for advice. They told Monroe to join forces with Britain. However, Monroe's secretary of state, John Quincy Adams (who would later succeed Monroe as president), had another idea. Adams thought the United States should go it alone. Whose advice do you think Monroe followed?
Monroe followed Adams's advice and laid out an independent course for the United States, declaring four major points in his December 2, 1823, address to Congress. He made four basic statements:
1) The United States would not get involved in European affairs. 2) The United States would not interfere with existing European colonies in the Western Hemisphere. 3) No other nation could form a new colony in the Western Hemisphere. 4) If a European nation tried to control or interfere with a nation in the Western Hemisphere, the United States would view it as a hostile act against this nation. In his Monroe Doctrine, he said that the peoples of the West "are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers." Do you think Monroe presented his foreign policy as the "Monroe Doctrine"?
Monroe's declaration of policy toward Europe did not become known as the Monroe Doctrine until about 30 years after it was proclaimed. In 1823, the U.S. was not powerful enough to enforce Monroe's proclamation. Outside the United States, the "doctrine" went mostly unnoticed.
In the early 1900s, the U.S. emerged as a world power and the Monroe Doctrine became the foundation of U.S. foreign policy. President Theodore Roosevelt added the "Roosevelt Corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904, which said the U.S. had the exclusive right to intervene in the affairs of Latin American countries that were actively involved in deliberate misconduct or that refused to pay their international debts.