James Monroe's Presidency

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Define what the Monroe Doctrine was and analyze how it was applied in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Support your answer with specific examples.

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In 1823 US President James Monroe issued the famous Monroe Doctrine, which declared that European intervention in the affairs of North or South America would be considered a hostile act. The act was issued in response to the rise of Latin American revolutions. Such events had been taking shape since...

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In 1823 US President James Monroe issued the famous Monroe Doctrine, which declared that European intervention in the affairs of North or South America would be considered a hostile act. The act was issued in response to the rise of Latin American revolutions. Such events had been taking shape since the early 1800s. After Napoleon conquered Spain, the Spanish empire in South America declined precipitously. Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) sparked a series of revolts from Venezuela to Bolivia against Spain. Spain and other European powers with imperial interests in South America, such as the Portuguese, were committed to reclaiming power in the region. The Monroe Doctrine, which the British also supported, put an end to those goals.

The Monroe Doctrine would have been unenforceable without the support of the British. By the end of the 1820s, the Spanish empire had completely collapsed in the Latin American countries. This was in large part because Britain saw the newly independent nations as potential trading partners. Economic opportunity in the new countries led Britain to use its vast navy to block Spanish attempts to reclaim their colonies there. Brazil gained its independence in 1823 from the Portuguese. The growth of independent Brazil was legitimated through provisions in the Monroe Doctrine and was enforced by the British and American navies. Taken together, the Latin American revolutions, in conjunction with Monroe’s legislation and the support of the British navy, demonstrated the circular relationships that bound the Atlantic world together in the early nineteenth century.

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