What is the Monroe Doctrine?

What is the Monroe Doctrine?

The Monroe Doctrine is a U.S. foreign policy that was established in 1823 by President James Monroe. The doctrine states that, if any external political powers would try to interfere in the Americas (North and South), it could be regarded as a hostile act against the United States.


By 1823, almost all Latin American countries have also gained Independence from Spain and Portugal and the United States wanted to ensure that no other large European power would try to move in and conquer the land. Monroe wanted to prevent that the “New World” would, once again, become a battleground for European powers.

The Doctrine Invoked

  • In 1865 the Monroe Doctrine was invoked when the U.S. provided military and diplomatic pressure to help Mexican President Benito Juarez revolt against the French Emperor Maximilian.
  • Theodore Roosevelt also invoked the policy in 1904, calling it the “Monroe Doctrine” for the first time, stopping European creditors from collecting debts from several Latin American countries.
  • It was also symbolically invoked in 1962 when the Soviet Union started to construct sites in Cuba for missile launching and President John. F. Kennedy used his naval and air forces to quarantine the island.

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