Who assisted James Monroe in the writing of the Monroe doctrine?
Two things had been uppermost in the minds of Adams and Monroe. In 1821 the Russian czar had proclaimed that all the area north of the fifty-first parallel and extending one hundred miles into the Pacific would be off-limits to non-Russians. Adams had refused to accept this claim, and he told the Russian minister that the United States would defend the principle that the ‘American continents are no longer subjects of any new European colonial establishments.’More worrisome, however, was the situation in Central and South America. Revolutions against Spanish rule had been under way for some time, but it seemed possible that Spain and France might seek to reassert European rule in those regions. The British, meanwhile, were interested in ensuring the demise of Spanish colonialism, with all the trade restrictions that Spanish rule involved. British foreign secretary George Canning formally proposed, therefore, that London and Washington unite on a joint warning against intervention in Latin America. When the Monroe cabinet debated the idea, Adams opposed it, arguing that British interests dictated such a policy in any event, and that Canning’s proposal also called upon the two powers to renounce any intention of annexing such areas as Cuba and Texas. Why should the United States, he asked, appear as a cockboat trailing in the wake of a British man-of-war?In the decades following Monroe’s announcement, American policymakers did not invoke the doctrine against European powers despite their occasional military ‘interventions’ in Latin America. Monroe’s principal concern had been to make sure that European mercantilism not be reimposed on an area of increasing importance economically and ideologically to the United States. When, however, President John Tyler used the doctrine in 1842 to justify seizing Texas, a Venezuelan newspaper responded with what would become an increasingly bitter theme throughout Latin America: ‘Beware, brothers, the wolf approaches the lambs.’Secretary of State William H. Seward attempted a bizarre use of the doctrine in 1861 in hopes of avoiding the Civil War. The United States, said Seward, in order to divert attention from the impending crisis, should challenge supposed European interventions in the Western Hemisphere by launching a drive to liberate Cuba and end the last vestiges of colonialism in the Americas. President Lincoln turned down the idea.In the 1890s, the United States, once again by unilateral action, extended the doctrine to include the right to decide how a dispute between Venezuela and Great Britain over the boundaries of British Guiana should be settled. Secretary of State Richard Olney told the British, ‘Today the United States is practically sovereign on this continent and its fiat is law upon the subjects to which it confines its interposition…. its infinite resources combined with its isolated position render it master of the situation and practically invulnerable as against any or all other powers.’ The British, troubled by the rise of Germany and Japan, could only acquiesce in American pretensions. But Latin American nations protested the way in which Washington had chosen to ‘defend’ Venezuelan interests.