When Europeans first discovered the American continent in the late 15th century, it led many European nations to establish colonies in North and South America. These mainly included the British, the French and the Spanish. Over time, many of these colonies ended while others, such as the 13 British colonies which eventually became USA, declared their independence.
By the early 19th century, very few European colonies remained in North America and USA had become the dominant power. The government of USA felt the need to warn the European nations that they could no longer establish new colonies in the Americas. This led to the Monroe Doctrine.
The Monroe Doctrine was a part of USA foreign policy towards the European nations. The Doctrine simply said that USA would no longer allow any European country to establish new colonies in the Americas. This was meant to guarantee the safety of USA and to ensure that the country had friendly relationships with the European powers.
The Doctrine also stated that the European countries would no longer be allowed to interfere with the independence of the countries located in North or South America. Another important point in the Doctrine was that at the same time, USA would not take part in any internal conflicts between the European nations and would remain neutral at such times.
The Monroe Doctrine was delivered by President James Monroe during a speech he made to the U.S. Congress. The speech was given on December 2, 1823.
This piece of American foreign policy came to be called the Monroe Doctrine because it was announced by President James Monroe. However, he was not the actual author of the doctrine. The Doctrine had been developed and written by the Secretary of the States, James Quincy Adams, who was a part of James Monroe’s cabinet at the time and was tasked with managing the foreign policy of USA. James Quincy Adams eventually became the President of USA.
The Monroe Doctrine played a very important role in the future of South America. When President James Monroe proposed this doctrine, Great Britain was the only power who had colonial presence in North America, mainly in the Canadian region.
In the South America, however, Spain and France struggled to maintain their colonies but the people in countries such as Mexico didn’t like their rule. So when French tried to establish control over Mexico and impose a new emperor on it, USA used the Monroe Doctrine to intervene and helped in removing the new emperor. The Monroe Doctrine was also used to signal to Russia that her efforts to establish colonies in Alaska were considered a threat by the USA.
Many other countries in South American also removed their colonial yoke during the 19th century and later. Following the Monroe Doctrine, USA supported their independence and opposed any efforts by the European powers to re-impose their hegemony anywhere in South America.