THE MONROE DOCTRINE:The Original Vertical Integration
“This sets our compass and points the course which we are to steer thro’ the ocean of time.” So wrote Thomas Jefferson in a letter to President James Monroe, in response to his idea that an attack on any part of the Americas would constitute an act of aggression towards the United States. His reply to Jefferson transformed into what became known as the Monroe Doctrine: “Our first and fundamental maxim should be never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe…” and “our second never to suffer Europe to intermeddle with [Western Hemispheric] affairs” (Hart, 114-15). Britain's invasion and destruction of Washington, D.C. in 1814, 38 years after our independence from Britain had been declared, devastated the United States. In 1818, President James Monroe and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams indoctrinated a policy that did not allow any European powers to settle in nor colonize any portion of the Americas. With the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 behind him, Monroe's doctrine compassionately fostered the protection and strengthening of the young United States.
The Monroe Doctrine served to thwart incidents like those that led to the War of 1812, now illegal under Monroe’s principles. Disregarding American independence, Britain forcefully kidnapped sailors in an attempt to draft Americans into the British army. Before the U.S. won the Battle of New Orleans, we lost in Washington to the British. They burned the Capitol building, the Presidential mansion, and other public buildings. Additionally, British Canadian officials were giving guns to Native Americans to fight off European settlers. Some of them fought against Americans as they had been trained. This was another foreign presence that hindered America's progress. By issuing the Monroe Doctrine, threats to what the President called “our peace and happiness” received a fair warning: the Americas are not yours for the taking.
Monroe’s doctrine served two purposes: evasion of European affairs and the guarantee that Europe will refrain from interfering with American issues. There were four assertions that Monroe stressed clearly when issuing the doctrine. Despite the fact that North and South America were separate continents, the Doctrine made clear that the Western Hemisphere was not open for colonization, and that the differences between American and European governments should be known. Most importantly, the United States would regard any European or exterior influence to this side of the planet as a security threat, and would exercise neutrality for European wars and expect the same in return (WHI). Monroe stated that any attempt to form new colonies or overthrow newly independent governments in the Americas would be considered “dangerous to the peace and safety” of the United States (Hart, 115). Standing by his words, Monroe had acted compassionately, the weight of the wars America had fought on its own soil smoldering in his memory.
In order to protect struggling nations of Central America, Roosevelt reasserted the Monroe Doctrine with his corollary, introduced to Congress in 1904. This compassionate act served to protect the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Nicaragua from Germany, Spain and other opposing European forces (About Theodore Roosevelt). The Lodge Corollary evoked the compassion of the Monroe Doctrine in order to protect Central America from Japanese intrusion. Henry Cabot Lodge led the U.S. Senate to pass his corollary in 1912, affixed to the conflict between México and Japan for a piece of Baja California (Mount Holyoke). After the corollary went into effect, Japan rejected any connection to the matter.
Monroe's Doctrine stands as compassionate action towards the definition and strengthening of America's borders. Roosevelt's and Lodge's corollaries both broadened and modernized the Doctrine. The incidents that prompted their creation compromised American security and that of South American governments, which we strived to protect during their infancy. Saving face and protecting our half of the world, the United States conscientiously issued a bold statement, whose
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