Monroe Doctrine: US Shift In Foreign Policy

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Sean Gibson HIS 10 B 26 August 2016 The Crumbling of the Monroe Doctrine: U.S. Shift in Foreign Policy When the United States first became a country, its founders had just gained independence from Great Britain. During his presidency, James Monroe delivered a speech to Congress known as the Monroe Doctrine. This unofficial promise and warning to other countries around the world accurately expressed the views of most Americans at the time of the beginning of U.S.history in relation to foreign affairs. It built the foundation of how U.S. foreign policy would be based on the idea of isolationism, or not interfering with other countries. During the time period between 1877 to 1977, the United States changed its role in the world from being an…show more content…
U.S. involvement in the Philippines started with the Spanish-American War. The war began when the U.S.S. Maine blew up near Cuba. It was later discovered that the explosion was most likely caused by an accident. Nevertheless, the United States declared war on Spain, thinking that the destruction of the U.S.S. Maine was caused by Spain. Although President McKinley used this incident as a reason for intervening in the conflict between Spain and its colonies, many Congressmen felt the United States had a more important reason for invading. Senator Henry Teller stated that he believed the United States should go to war with the Spanish to assist in Cuba’s revolution from Spain.2 The Monroe Doctrine clearly stated that the United States, as part of its policy for isolationism, would not interfere with any European colonies already established,3 and since the United States was interfering with Cuba, one of Spain’s colonies, the United States was breaking the Monroe Doctrine. It could be argued that since Congressmen assumed that the Spanish had already attacked the United States first,4 the war was justifiable. However, the United States military didn’t only fight the Spanish in Cuba; the war also took place in the Philippines, another one of Spain’s colonies. The Philippines was not in the Western Hemisphere, and so if the U.S.…show more content…
Instead of respecting its policies regarding isolation, the United States kept its rewards from the war.5 According to the British Naval Reports on the Philippines at that time, the United States fought in the Philippines to “[destroy] the Spanish fleet.”6 The report, created by the navy of a neutral country, stated that the United States actually had secret motivations to take and keep control of the Philippines. One of the motivations, the report said, was that the United States wanted to use the Philippines as a location to become trading partners with China.7 This would economically benefit the United States, so it does make sense why government officers wanted to take over the Philippines. However, interfering with other countries for financial gain is not a characteristic of a country practicing isolationism, and that is exactly what the United States did. Since the Monroe Doctrine only allowed for U.S. intervention in the Western Hemisphere, which is not complete isolationism in itself, the United States clearly did not follow the Monroe Doctrine in this case, and therefore did not follow normal U.S. beliefs. Additionally, the report interpreted this “annexation” of the Philippines as “the beginning of official American involvement in Asia and the Pacific.”8 This meant that naval officers from Great Britain recognized that the United States had expanded
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