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Monroe Doctrine, purpose of Monroe Doctrine

This American policy was announced by President James Monroe (see James Monroe fun facts) in a speech to Congress on December 2, 1823. Monroe stated that the Americas were no longer open to colonization, and that European powers could not interfere in the Western Hemisphere. In turn, the United States would not interfere in European affairs. This policy had, in fact, been stated earlier by presidents Washington and Jefferson, but after Monroe's speech it became known as the Monroe Doctrine.

Purpose of Monroe Doctrine - James Monroe

Purpose of Monroe Doctrine - James Monroe

The policy was announced for several reasons. First purpose of Monroe Doctrine was to protect the Latin American countries, which had recently won independence from Spain, from the Holy Alliance. This was a powerful alliance formed by Russia, Austria and Prussia. France was also suspected of trying to restore Latin American colonies to Spain. Second purpose for announcing the doctrine was to discourage Russia from expanding its territories in Alaska.

The United States was not alone in its fear of the Holy Alliance. Interference with the Latin American countries would have badly affected Britain's trade. The British foreign minister George Canning proposed that Britain and the United States should make a joint declaration to warn off European intrusions. But the United States did not want an alliance with Britain.

The doctrine was mainly ignored until 1865, when France sent troops to conquer Mexico. The United States sent a strong message to France, and the troops were withdrawn. In 1895, the doctrine was again called upon when Britain disputed the boundaries of Venezuela and British Guiana (now Guyana). In 1904, Theodore Roosevelt stated that further interference in Latin America would bring interference from the United States. But later presidents have tended to avoid this harsh policy. In 1962, the United States exerted pressure on the USSR to remove its missiles from Cuba, because they were a direct threat to the Americas.

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