What is the Monroe Doctrine and its significance?

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kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Monroe Doctrine was used as a way of allowing the United States to be aggressive in terms of colonialization or the manipulation of American countries while suggesting that European nations ought to really butt out.  In fact, if they didn't butt out, their actions would be seen as acts of aggression towards the United States to be answered by whatever means the U.S. felt appropriate.

In practice, the British were actually somewhat in favor of it as it really went along with their economic interests in the region so their very powerful navy helped to enforce the doctrine by containing the Spanish and some other European efforts in the area.  But the doctrine really became an excuse for the U.S. to do what it wanted rather than a document helping to outline and encourage action by the Americas as a whole.

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