Monroe Doctrine

Mon·roe Doctrine

noun \mən-ˈrō- also ˈmən- or ˈmän-\


:  a statement of United States foreign policy expressing opposition to extension of European control or influence in the western hemisphere


James Monroe
First Known Use: 1853

Monroe Doctrine

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

U.S. foreign-policy statement first enunciated by Pres. James Monroe on Dec. 2, 1823, declaring the Western Hemisphere off-limits to European colonization. Concerned that the European powers would attempt to restore Spain's former colonies, he declared, inter alia, that any attempt by a European power to control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act against the U.S. It was reiterated in 1845 and 1848 by Pres. James K. Polk to discourage Spain and Britain from establishing footholds in Oregon, California, or on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. In 1865 the U.S. massed troops on the Rio Grande to back up demands that France withdraw from Mexico. In 1904 Pres. Theodore Roosevelt added the Roosevelt Corollary, stating that in the event of flagrant wrongdoing by a Latin American state, the U.S. had the right to intervene in its internal affairs. As the U.S. became a world power, the Monroe Doctrine came to define the Western Hemisphere as a U.S. sphere of influence. See also Good Neighbor Policy.


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