The Monroe Doctrine

Origins and Consequences

Authored by: Eugene S. Van Sickle

The Routledge Handbook of American Military and Diplomatic History

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533805
eBook ISBN: 9781315817347
Adobe ISBN: 9781317813354


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The Monroe Doctrine, issued in 1823 as part of President James Monroe’s annual message to Congress, is nearly unquestioned for its place as one of the earliest defense and foreign policy statements in United States history. The Monroe Doctrine remains significant in American history because it is the foundation or “blueprint” as described by John Lewis Gaddis of a strategy to defend American interests, promote uniquely American ideals, and foster national security. Though prominent military historian Jeremy Black suggests the doctrine was foolish at the time, Ernest R. May points out its necessity because Monroe faced crises that “seemed to require decisions.” Regardless of its immediate influence, the Monroe Doctrine was ambitious for its pronouncements of non-colonization and nonintervention to clear the way for U.S. expansion in the Western Hemisphere. 1

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