On December 2, 1823, in his seventh annual message to Congress, U.S. President James Monroe issued a bold statement on foreign policy that reaffirmed the nation’s longstanding commitment to neutrality and offered an explicit warning to Europe that the entire Western Hemisphere was closed to further colonization. This pronouncement of American autonomy and hemispheric solidarity against European aggression, which came to be known as the Monroe Doctrine, is considered one of the most significant statements in American foreign policy and the greatest achievement of Monroe’s two-term presidency. While Monroe discusses other issue in this presidential address, his statement on foreign policy is the most memorable.
The Monroe Doctrine, originally known as the American System, contains four major principles. First, the political systems of the Americas are different from those in Europe. Second, the United States will continue to remain neutral in foreign affairs, unless these...
Monroe Doctrine (National Archives and Records Administration)View Full Size