Monroe Doctrine 1823

“We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. …. with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.”  These were the brave words of the Monroe Doctrine, promulgated by the US on December 2, 1823, warning the European powers not to attempt to re-conquer the newly independent Spanish colonies. Considering that the US did not have a credible navy or army at that time, few European monarchs were worried.  Nonetheless, the 18th century South American revolutionaries who were struggling against European leaders were heartened by the declaration by James Monroe, the fifth President of the US. Later in history, the doctrine was used to justify invasions and interventions by the US, much to the consternation of South America’s political leaders. (Image of period political cartoon of Uncle Sam sleeping while European armies run amok in South America.)