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Spain and suppressed the
suppressed the uprising very grave, and asked for opinions from there.
the two living ex-Presidents, Jefferson The question now arose regarding the
and Madison. American colonies of Spain. Spain was Madison was brief. He thought that unable to re-establish her authority, and, there was a call “for our efforts to dewithout England's co-operation as mis feat the meditated crusade." tress of the seas, the other powers were Jefferson wrote as follows: disinclined to proceed. England was be The question presented by the letters you ginning already to feel the influence of have sent me is the most momentous which the liberalism which was pervading her
has ever been offered to my contemplation
since that of Independence. That made us domain and which resulted within a few
a nation; this sets our compass and points years in the Reform bills. Moreover, by the course which we are to steer through the the restoration of the South American ocean of time opening on us. And never colonies to Spain her trade would un
could we embark on it under circumstances
more auspicious. Our first and fundamental doubtedly be reduced and imperiled.
maxim should be, never to entangle ourCanning was at the head of British selves in the broils of Europe. Our second, Foreign Affairs. In August, 1823, a
never to suffer Europe to intermeddle with
cis-Atlantic affairs. America, North and few months after the Verona Congress
South, has a set of interests distinct from and before any steps had been taken those of Europe, and peculiarly her own. with reference to the South American re
She should therefore have a system of her publics, Mr. Canning proposed to our
own, separate and apart from that of Europe.
While the last is laboring to become the Minister, Mr. Rush, that
domicile of despotism, our endeavor should the Governments of England and of the surely be to make our hemisphere that of United States should publish a joint declara freedom, tion before Europe in opposition to the de
The President's message bears date signs of alliance in regard to the Western Hemisphere, the substance of which should
Dec. 2, 1823. Shortly after its beginning be that, while the two Governments desired appears the following passage: no portion of those colonies for themselves, At the proposal of the Russian Imperial they would not view with indifference any Government, made through the Minister of foreign intervention in their affairs or their
the Emperor residing here, a full power and acquisition by any third
power; that a instructions have been transmitted to the proposal be made to the other powers for a Minister of the United States at St. Peterscongress to consider the affairs of Spanish burg, to arrange, by amicable negotiation, America, and that Great Britain would not the respective rights and interests of the two participate in its councils unless the United
nations on the northwest coast of this conStates was also represented.*
tinent. A similar proposal had been made by Minister Rush explained the traditional his Imperial Majesty to the Government of
Great Britain, which has likewise been acpolicy of non-interference by the United
ceded to. The Government of the United States in European politics. He stated States has been desirous, by this friendly that the United States had already recog proceeding, of manifesting the great value nized the independence of the South which they have invariably attached to the American States, and that if England
friendship of the Emperor, and their solici
tude to cultivate the best understanding with would do likewise he would unite in a
his Government. In the discussions to which "joint declaration." This Mr. Canning this interest has given rise, and in the ardeclined to do, but he did inform France rangements by which they may terminate, the that England would not permit European
occasion has been judged proper for assert
ing as a principle in which the rights and interference in Spanish American af
interests of the United States are involved, fairs, and France surprised him by that the American continents, by the free readily acquiescing in the opinion that and independent condition which they have the new republics in South America
assumed and maintain, are henceforth not
be considered as subjects for future were forever lost to Spain.
colonization by any European power. The suggestions of the British For
Later on, just before the close of the eign Minister to the American Minister
message, the President says: brought matters quickly to a head. Pres
It was stated at the commencement of the ident Monroe regarded the situation as last session that a great effort was then
making in Spain and Portugal to improve the *Tucker's The Monroe Doctrine."
condition of the people of those countries,
and that it appeared to be conducted with extraordinary moderation. It need scarcely be remarked that the result has been so far very different from what was then anticipated. Of events in that quarter of the globe, with which we have so much intercourse, and from which we derive our origin, we have always been anxious and interested spectators. The citizens of the United States cherish sentiments the most friendly in favor of the liberty and happiness of their fellowmen on that side of the Atlantic. In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are, of necessity, more immediately connecteil, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Governments, And to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted.
We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations existing between the L'nited States and those powers, to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to ertend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere; but 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.
In the war between those new Governments and Spain we declared our neutrality at the time of their recognition, and to this we have adhered, and shall continue to adhere provided no change shall occur, which, in the judgment of the competent authorities of this Government, shall make a corresponding change on the part of the United States indispensable to their security.
The late events in Spain and Portugal show that Europe is still unsettled. Of this important fact no stronger proof can be adduced than that the allied powers should have thought It proper, on a principle satisfactory to themselves, to have interposed by force in the internal concerns of Spain. To what ex
tent such interposition may be carried on the same principle is a question in which all independent powers whose Governments differ from theirs are interested, even those most remotē; and surely none more so than the United States. Our policy in regard to Europe, which was adopted at an early stage of the wars which have so long agitated that quarter of the globe, nevertheless remains the same, which is, not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers; to consider the Government de facto as the legitimate Government for us; to cultivate friendly relations with it, and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy; meeting, in all instances, the just claims of every power, submitting to injuries from none. But in regard to these continents circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different. It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness; nor can any one believe that our Southern brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, that should behold such interposition, in any form, with indifference. If we look to the comparative strength and resources of Spain and these new Governments, and their distance from each other, it must be obvious that she can never subdue them. It is still the true policy of the United States to leave the parties to themselves, in the hope that other powers will pursue the same course.
The doctrine remained quiescent, after 1824, being regarded rather as an academic utterance, especially as the European powers in 1830 had abandoned the system of forcible interference, but it was reasserted by President Polk in 1845 as a settled and definite policy of this Government. In 1845, when the dispute with Great Britain over the Oregon boundary flared up, the President in his message to Congress, referring to this dispute as well as to the hint that if the United States annexed Texas, (which was then being discussed,) Europe might intervene, said:
In the existing circumstances of the world, the present is deemed a proper occasion to reiterate and reaffirm the principle avowed by Mr. Monroe. * It should be distinctly announced to the world as our settled policy that no future European colony or dominion shall, with our consent, be planted or estab. lished on any part of the North American Continent.
It will be noted that President Polk confined the inhibition to North America, but added that word “ dominion," which in international usage implies the volun
tary acquisition by purchase or transfer pledge to uphold the throne of Maximilof allegiance.
ian he withdrew his army; the Mexicans Again, in 1848, he was even more defi revolted and overthrew Maximilian, and nite. Yucatan, which was then independ- subsequently executed him. ent of Mexico, being unable to suppress The first recognition by Congress of an Indian revolution, offered to transfer the Monroe Doctrine arose out of the “its dominion and sovereignty” to the Mexican situation. On April 4, 1864, the United States, and made similar offers to House of Representatives resolved unaniGreat Britain and Spain. The President mously that: in a message to Congress did not recom The Congress of the United States are unmend its acceptance by the United States, willing by silence to leave the nations of the but added: “ We could not consent to a
world under the impression that they are in
different spectators of the deplorable events transfer of this dominion and sover
now transpiring in the Republic of Mexico, eignty' to either Spain, Great Britain, or and that they think it fit to declare that it any other European power."
does not accord with the policy of the United
States to acknowledge any monarchical Gov. It was thus proclaimed to be the Amer
ernment erected on the ruins of any Repubican policy that:
lican Government America under (A) European powers could not ex auspices of any European power. change or transfer to each other colonial This is the nearest express legislative possessions on the Western Hemisphere.
sanction that the doctrine had so far re(B) They could not acquire either do
ceived. At the time it was proclaimed minion or sovereignty over any territory Mr. Clay offered in the House of Repreon the Western Hemisphere not already
sentatives in January, 1824, a joint resopossessed, even where there was a volun
lution by which it was declared that the tary cession.
people of the United States “would not (C) The policy was not limited to
see, without serious inquietude, any forcNorth America, but embraced the entire
ible intervention by the allied powers of hemisphere.
Europe, in behalf of Spain,” to reduce her Nothing further occurred to revive the
colonies to subjection, but no action was doctrine until 1866, when a serious ques
taken upon this resolution. Congress, tion arose over the ambitions of France
however, took definite action in the Veneto establish Maximilian on the throne of
zuelan crisis in 1895, referred to below, Mexico.
and again in 1912, when a resolution of Oct. 31, 1861, England, France, and
Senator Lodge was adopted, with but four Spain agreed to invade the Republic of dissenting votes, by the United States Mexico in order to collect certain claims
Senate, which was a formal reaffirmation due subjects of the three nations and to
of the doctrine, and at the same time nochastise Mexico for her delinquency. The
tice to Japan that this Government would invasion took place, but Spain and Eng not tolerate the establishment of a naval land withdrew; Napoleon III. persisted, base on the Mexican Coast, it being then and the French landed an army
over reported that Japan contemplated such threw the Mexican Government. An action at Magdalena Bay. election was held under bayonet rule, and The resolution was as follows: Maximilian, a scion of the Austrian
Resolved, That when any harbor or other Hapsburgs, was placed upon the throne. place in the American Continent is so situated The United States protested, but was too
that the occupation thereof for naval or milibusily engaged at that time with its own
tary purposes might threaten the communica
tions or the safety of the United States, the troubles to go further, but as soon as our Government of the United States could not war ceased, an army of 40,000 troops was see without grave concern the possession of mobilized on the Mexican frontier, oppo
such harbor or other place by any corporation
or association which has such a relation to site Matamoros, where the French Army
another Government not American as to give had its headquarters. Napoleon did not
that country practical control for national wish a clash with the United States, purposes. which was inevitable if his troops re This not being a joint resolution, it did mained, and in utter disregard of his not require the concurrence of the House
or the signature of the President; it was Venezuela asked the United States to a formal expression of the Senate alone. aid her in the discussion. When the last The House took no action.
demand by England was made and the This resolution goes further in the ap enormous slice of territory lopped off, plication of the original Monroe Doctrine
* Venezuela again appealed to the United in that it commits the United States
States to intercede, and England was henceforth to prohibit acts by foreign requested by our Government to submit corporations or associations which here the matter to arbitration, which was retofore only foreign nations have been fused, and matters were at an impasse forbidden to do.
and there was constant danger of a break Prior to the Maximilian episode and
between the United Kingdom and the after the Polk Administration, that is,
South American republic. during the decade preceding our civil When Cleveland assumed office in 1895 war, Daniel Webster, as Secretary of Ambassador Bayard was again instructState, in 1851, in view of a proposed en ed to request England to arbitrate the gagement between Spain, Great Britain, matter, but he was curtly informed that and France to guarantee Spanish pos Great Britain “could not consent to any session of Cuba, sent this notice to Great departure from the Schomburgk line," Britain:
which line cut off much Venezuelan ter“ It has always been declared to Spain ritory. Congress approved the Presithat the Government of the United States dent's recommendation of arbitration, and could not be expected to acquiesce in the on July 20, 1895, Secretary of State Olcession of Cuba to any European power." ney dispatched his historic instructions
Again, during the civil war, Spain at to Ambassador Bayard. In this comtempted to recover Santo Domingo, but munication he asserted the right of one failed, and afterward Santo Domingo, un nation to intervene in a controversy to able to secure itself against possible which other nations are directly parties European aggression, sought annexation
" whenever what is done or proposed by to the United States, and a treaty was.
any of the parties primarily concerned negotiated, but not confirmed. In send
is a serious menace to its own integrity, ing the treaty to the Senate President
tranquillity, and welfare." He then disGrant wrote:
cussed the Monroe Doctrine and affirmed “The doctrine promulgated by Presi
that, while it did not establish a prodent Monroe has been adhered to by all
tectorate over other American States, it political parties, and I now deem it proper
did not relieve any of them from “ obligato assert the equally important principle
tions as fixed by international law, nor that hereafter no territory on this con
prevent any European power directly tinent shall be regarded as subject of
interested from enforcing such obligatransfer to a European power."
tions or from inflicting merited punishIt was, however, in 1895, during the ment for the breach of them," but that Administration of President Cleveland, its “ single purpose and object" was that that the doctrine received its most spe no European power or combination of cific and menacing import.
powers should “forcibly deprive an For nearly half a century there had American State of the right and power been a dispute between Great Britain of self-government and of shaping for and Venezuela over certain boundary itself its own political fortunes and lines. In 1887 the dispute had become destinies.” He argued that this princi80 acute that diplomatic relations be ple was involved in the present controtween the two countries ceased. Great versy, because territory was involved, Britain extended the area of British and this meant "political control to be Guiana until in 1887 the territory of lost by one party and gained by the Venezuela south and east of the Orinoco other.” He said that “ the United States, River was reduced about two-thirds, 70, being entitled to resent and resist any 000 square miles. The controversy had sequestration of Venezuelan soil by Great proceeded many years; in fact, in 1876 Britain, it is necessarily entitled to know
whether such sequestration has occurred “If a European power, by an extenor is now going on." He affirmed: “To sion of its boundaries, takes possession day the United States is practically sov of the territory of one of our neighborereign on this continent, and its fiat is ing republics against its will and in law upon the subjects to which it con derogation of its rights, it is difficult fines its interposition." He closed with to see why to that extent such European the statement that it was the unmis power does not thereby attempt to extakable and imperative duty of the Pres tend its system of government to that ident to ask " for a definite decision upon portion of this continent which is thus the point " whether Great Britain will taken. This is the precise action which consent or will decline to submit the President Monroe declared to be dangerVenezuelan boundary
ous to our peace and question in its en
safety,' and it can tirety to impartial
make no difference arbitration."
whether the European Lord Salisbury in
system is extended by his reply claimed that
an advance of fronthe United States
tier or otherwise." was insisting upon a
Congress provided new and extended
for a separate Amerinterpretation of the
ican commission to doctrine. He said:
investigate the bound“ It is admitted that
ary question, but behe (President Polk)
fore it could report did not seek to assert
Great Britain receded protectorate
and signed an arbiMexico or the States
agreement of Central or South
with Venezuela. America. Such Photo © Pach Bros. Photo Paul Thompson Though she claim would have im
awarded practically posed upon the United States the duty all the disputed area, she yielded to of answering for the conduct of these the American interpretation of the States, and consequently the responsibil Monroe Doctrine rather than go to war ity of controlling it.
* It follows with us, and Congress specifically upof necessity if the Government of the held the widened scope of its interpretaUnited States will not control the con tion by fully indorsing the position of duct of these communities, neither can President Cleveland. it undertake to protect them from the
The Spanish-American war of 1898 consequences attaching to any misconduct
gave a new significance to the Monroe of which they may be guilty toward
Doctrine. The acquisition by the United other nations."
States of colonial possessions in the President Cleveland, on receipt of remote Pacific, 3,000 miles from our England's refusal to arbitrate, submit shores, and in the Atlantic, nearly 1,000 ted the entire matter to Congress in a miles from the continental boundary; startling message, in which he declared the establishment of a virtual protec“ the doctrine upon which we stand is torate over Cuba, and a universal acstrong and sound because its enforce knowledgment that by this war the ment tends to our peace and safety as United States had emerged from its proa nation and is essential to the integrity vincial isolation into a world power, inof our free institutions and the tran vested the doctrine with a more porquil maintenance of our distinctive form tentous meaning. The first manifestaof government. It was intended to apply tion was the need for the Panama Canal, to every stage of our national life, and but before it could be proceeded with it cannot become obsolete while our Repub was felt that a treaty with England nelic endures.
gotiated in 1850, known as the Clayton