The Monroe Doctrine

1 January 2017

The U. S benefitted Latin America through the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine, which helped prevented further European colonization. Independence and sovereignty were in the U. S’s intentions for involvement in Latin America, while many European governments saw benefits in overturning independence and thereby acquiring resources and global power. This paper will use examples of European colonialism in, Africa, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, to support my claim. Both the U. S and Europe had very different intentions for getting involved in Latin America and this influenced their relations and the overall status of Latin America.

In the end, the United States helped prevent European re-colonization in Latin America through the Monroe Doctrine, even if the United States began aggressively extending its own formal and informal empire by the end of the nineteenth century. President James Monroe first presented the Monroe Doctrine in two parts in 1823. The first part was an anti colonial message to the Europeans, and the second was a promise of solidarity between the U. S and Latin America. “The Monroe doctrine’s transformation over time from a foreign policy principle into a national ideology was caused by the rise in U.

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S power, and American Expansionism. This transformed the Monroe Doctrine from an original isolationist policy, which was opposed to intervention in the Americans, to being amended with corollaries, which authorized the U. S to engage in internal affairs of Latin American countries,” (Dent 7). Before 1823, the U. S was still trying to become economically and politically stable after Independence. It was not until 1823 that President James Monroe came up with the Monroe Doctrine in order to send an anti colonial message to Europeans in a hope to keep them from expanding into the Western Hemisphere.

Monroe stated, “The American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers,” (Perkins 43). However, it took until 1895 before the Monroe Doctrine held any real precedence. At the time the Monroe Doctrine came into existence the U. S had no power to enforce it, with their weak military, and low economic status. But the Venezuela Crisis of 1895 transformed the Monroe Doctrine from a simple piece of legislator into a Global policy.

The Venezuela Crisis led the British to “tacitly concede the U. S. definition of the Monroe Doctrine and its hegemony in the hemisphere. ” [1] The Venezuela Crisis was a land dispute between Venezuela and the United Kingdom and the U. S had to act as an arbitrator. After the settlement, Roosevelt decided to amend the Monroe Doctrine to include the Roosevelt Corollary in 1904. It stated the U. S had the right to intervene in Latin America internal affairs when there was “flagrant and chronic wrongdoing by a Latin American Nation. ” [2] “The Monroe doctrine acted as a rationalization for U.

S intervention and dollar diplomacy in dealing with Latin America. The original message of the Monroe doctrine did emphasize keeping Europe out of the Western Hemisphere, but it did not mention the U. S’s own intentions or limitations in access to Latin America. Between 1895 and 1930 the United States assumed the role of hemispheric policeman, imposing its control over Central America and the Caribbean in the name of peace, democracy, stability, and economic protection,” (Dent 7). Europe had several incentives for getting involved in Latin America, the first being a need for another economic market. One of the major ways a colony can strengthen a nation is by providing it with another economic market.

As a result of Industrialization, production was too high for consumer demand in Europe. Jules Ferry wrote an appeal to the French, urging colonization. In his appeal he wrote, “The European consumer-goods market is saturated: unless we declare modern society bankrupt and prepare, at the dawn of the twentieth century, for its liquidation by revolution (the consequences of which we can scarcely foresee), new consumer markets will have to be created in other parts of the world. Meaning that unless there is another market to sell national products to, then employment could decline drastically within the nation and eventually cause revolution. Englishman, Joseph Chamberlain, once gave a speech to the Birmingham Relief Association in 1894.

In this speech Chamberlain stated, “That in order that we may have more employment to give we must create more demand. ” This proves that the idea of a foreign market as a means of economic power was widespread among Europeans at the time. Both an Englishman and a Frenchmen used the same argument in pushing for colonization. [4] This quote gives insight to the economic markets in Europe and the many different countries that were advocating for another foreign market.

The next incentive for European Colonialism was a need for Raw materials to fuel manufacturing. Many of the nations the Europeans colonized did not have the means for manufacturing goods, but they were able to provide the raw materials. Europe was over developed and no longer had a constant stream of manufacturing materials. However, other nations who had no means of manufacturing, due to underdevelopment, had bountiful resources that had been left untouched.

The industrial revolutions in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries helped to spur European imperialism. For example, the production of cotton cloth needed tons of imported raw materials. Europe could not produce or grow these materials though so India grew cotton. However, Europe needed a cheap supply in order to capitalize, which lead to the spread of British control in the region. A third incentive of European colonialism was nationalism. Europe wanted to prove its superiority by colonizing and being in control of as much land as possible. “During the period 1850 to 1871, the nation-state achieved its mature status in Europe.

Nationalism clearly became the principal basis for the organization of western civilization. This fact had earlier been demonstrated in England and in France during the course of their political revolutions. In this period, it became manifest throughout Europe. Nationalism is a primary motivating element, which determined the course of events in France during the regime of Napoleon III, Italy where unification was achieved, Germany, where unification was achieved, Russia where important steps towards modernization were taken, and the United States, which experienced the Civil War, a war to preserve the union.

Nationalism is the equivalent of American Patriotism and in the same way creates a sense of unification. It appeals to every member of a nation and regardless of race, gender, social class; it was the promise of benefitting the entire nation. There were also several incentives for the U. S to get involved in Latin America. The main focus for the U. S was to keep communism out of the Western Hemisphere. There are several examples of U. S involvement in Latin America due to the threat of communism. The Bag of Pigs invasion on April 17, 1961 was the attempt to remove Fidel Castro, a communist Cuban leader, from presidency.

The Invasion of Grenada on October 25, 1983 is another example. The U. S was trying to remove Maurice Bishop, who had came to power with Cuban support, and was constructing a large airstrip designed for Soviet aircraft. There is also the example of Chile and Pinochet. Salvador Allende was the President who had strong ties with Cuba’s Fidel Castro. “Following the event, in a conference with President Nixon, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger stated, ‘the Chilean thing is getting consolidated and of course the newspapers are bleeding because a pro-Communist government has been overthrown.

Communism was a threat to American ideals, and if the Soviets were in Latin America, the U. S would have been vulnerable. In order to protect American Interests as well as Latin America’s, the U. S got involved in the internal affairs of several countries. The next incentive for American involvement in Latin America was helping Latin American countries maintain independence. After Latin American countries slowly began to gain independence, the only thing keeping European countries from maintaining them was the Monroe Doctrine. The U.

S was now able to enforce it and keep European powers from reclaiming their lost colonies. For example, “Panama was once a part of Colombia (which was itself part of a country called Great Colombia following independence from Spain). The Colombian government had negotiated with the US to build a canal to bridge the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, but it fell through. A separatist movement in Panama ensued, which the US supported. Following the establishment of the Republic of Panama, French engineering magnate Philip Burnau-Varilla sold his concession to the building rights for the canal to the US government.

The US also demanded control of the canal and the six-mile zone around it. The tension culminated in the 1964 riots that killed 22 Panamanians and 4 US soldiers. Control of the Canal was transferred back to Panama in 1999. ”[5] Not only did the U. S support Panama in this initial movement for Independence, but also after gaining independence their presence was enough to intimidate the French from reclaiming Panama, although after obtaining independence the U. S did wish to maintain control of the Canal. A third incentive for American involvement was trade.

The U.S wanted to establish strong trade relations with Latin America, but could not do so when Europe dominated some of Latin America’s countries so deeply that they sent the majority of all their exports to Europe. “By 1913, British investors owned 2/3rds of the total foreign investment in Latin America (railroads in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Brazil). ” [8] Trade is mutually beneficial for economic growth, but not when a foreign investor owns the industries and controls exports so circulation of capital is not within a country, but rather, accumulated and transported back to Europe.

Europe colonized many nations, most of which fueled their desire for economic growth at the cost of native people’s happiness. Starting with Africa as an example, Europe had very little investment in Africa in the early 1800s, but after much exploration, and the discovery of abundant resources, Europe’s interest in Africa peaked. Fueled by the same incentives for European colonization, Europe wished to create overseas empires due to imperialism. As well as a strong urge to control lands that had raw materials they needed for manufacturing and their growing Industrial movement.

As well as opening up their markets in order to de-saturate them. Along with nationalism, Europe was motivated to gain colonies and establish their greatness. As a result of these influences, Europe began snatching up African lands. “Technology helped them succeed. Steam engines, railroads, and telegraphs made them able to penetrate deep into Africa and still have contact with the home country. Machine guns gave them a weapon of far greater power than any African peoples possessed. Finally, discovery of quinine gave doctors a weapon against malaria, which struck Europeans.

They were also helped by the lack of unity among African peoples. The events called the European “scramble for Africa” began in the 1880s. The discovery of gold and diamonds in Africa increased European interest in the continent. So that they would not fight over the land, European powers met in Berlin in 1884~85. They agreed that any nation could claim any part of Africa simply by telling the others and by showing that it had control of the area. They then moved quickly to grab land. By 1914, only Liberia and Ethiopia were independent of European control.

The Europeans began to build plantations where they grew peanuts, palm oil, cocoa, and rubber. They also took important minerals. The Congo produced copper and tin. South Africa had gold and diamonds. ” [9] Europeans did not care for the rights of those living in Africa, Fueled by Racism and a lust for money and power Europeans directed the resources of Africa away from internal growth and instead diverted them to European capital. Another great example is Mexico in the 1860’s, where Europeans did try to re-colonize after the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine.

Starting with Maximilian I, the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire, he would be the last attempt to reclaim Mexico for Europe. “In the 1860s Mexico was occupied by the French. Using Mexico’s failure to repay its foreign debts as a pretext and his own desire to revive the Mexican monarchy, Napoleon III placed an emperor on the throne in 1864, Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria. Embroiled in its own civil war at the time, the United States government under Abraham Lincoln did not intervene. ”[10] He had a very successful career in the Austrian Navy prior to his Mexican Monarchial status.

After he came into power, many nations including the U. S would not recognize his administration. “When the French realized that they had been unsuccessful in their occupation, and faced with Mexican resistance and U. S. opposition following Lincoln’s death, they withdrew from Mexico in 1866. Since he refused to give up his throne to return to Europe, Maximilian was left behind without support. Confronted with a civil war and the republican forces led by Benito Juarez, he felt his influence was rapidly eroding.

With the growing reality of a return of the Juarez regime he was able to hold out for less than one year before his troops were overrun in Queretaro. On June 19, 1867 Ferdinand Maximilian was executed by firing squad. He was 35 years old. His body was returned to Austria where it lies in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna. ”[10] With this final attempt crushed, Mexico was able to regain control of its own government. My final example is the Dominican Restoration War between 1863 and 1865. General Pedro Santana had taken the presidency from Buenaventura Baez, who had bankrupted the nation’s treasury.

Pedro, faced with a serious economic crisis as well as the threat of another attack from Haiti, asked Spain to retake control of the country, which had only been independent for 17 years. Spain was apprehensive, but the U. S was fighting a civil war, making it unable to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. On March 18, 1861, they finalized the annexation of the Dominican Republic back under Spanish rule. [11] “Spanish officials began to alienate the general population by instituting a policy known as bagajes, which required citizens to hand over any work animals to the Spanish military upon demand without any guarantee of compensation.

This was especially problematic in the Cibao region in the north, where farmers depended on their animals for their livelihoods. A second factor was cultural: the new archbishop from Spain was appalled to find that a large number of Dominican couples were not married within the Roman Catholic Church. With the best of intentions, Archbishop Bienvenido de Monzon wanted to rectify this situation within a short time, but his demands only irritated the local population, who had come to accept the current state of “illegitimate” births as normal.

Economically, the new government also imposed higher tariffs on non-Spanish goods and ships and attempted to establish a monopoly on tobacco, thus alienating the merchant classes as well. [11] “Pedro Santana rose to power, who in 1860 wrote a long letter to Queen Isabel II, requesting the annexion of Dominican Republic to Spain, that is, the readmittance of Dominica into the Spanish Empire arguing that they had the same origins, held the same religion and customs. Spain complied, and Domincan Republic became one of the Spanish colonies once more, with disastrous economic results for the former republic. [13] “Spain never kept their side of the agreement and they returned to slavery and racial measures and religious intolerance. Massive popular revolts took place as a consequence of economic and social crisis that hit Dominican Republic after the annexation. The government took dire measures such as executions and expatriations.

The first armed riot transpired in 1861 all over the country, including the capital city Santo Domingo. Many movements rose with the aim to restore the republic and throw out the Spaniards. [13] Then on August 16, 1863, war began between the Dominican Rebels and the Spanish. Their slogan became “Freedom or Death. ” It was March 3, 1865 that Spain annulled the annexation of the Dominican territory. However, extensive economic, political, and social damage had already been done. Africa, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic exemplify European colonialism during the same era of the Monroe Doctrine.

Emphasizing the intentions of both the U. S and Europe is very important to understand why my claims are in favor of the U. S. The U.S had independence and sovereignty in their intentions, whereas it was more compelling to Europe to overthrow independence and monopolize natural resources and the acquisition of global superiority. The Monroe Doctrine had positive intentions and aimed to ultimately keep Europe out of the western hemisphere, establish independent nations, and bond the U. S and Latin America in solidarity.

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The Monroe Doctrine. (2017, Jan 03). Retrieved March 23, 2019, from
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