The Monroe Doctrine for Kids and Teachers
President James Monroe held office for two terms. He ran unopposed his second term. He was not well liked, but people thought he was honest, and they believed he had the best interests of the country at heart. While he was in office, some important things happened. One was the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which was one of the causes of the Civil War. Under the direction of President James Monroe, Congress agreed that all new states coming into the Union carved from the territories would be divided as follows: Any state north of the southern boundary of Missouri would come in as a free state. Any state below this line would come in as a slave state.
Other states besides those carved out of the western territories were also added to the United States. Monroe purchased Florida from Spain. Maine became a state during his term. The United States was beginning to form into the geographical area we know today. But, European countries were still involved.
As a part of speech Monroe gave to Congress in 1823, over a border dispute between Russia and Alaska, he stated his foreign policy. It was not the main purpose of his speech, but about 30 years after this speech his policy was given a name - the Monroe-Doctrine. The policy itself was written by Monroe's Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, who followed Monroe as president. Some historians believe Thomas Jefferson had a hand in the wording.
This policy had two major parts:
- Part One: The United States would not allow any European county to start new colonies or to interfere with independent countries either in North America or South America. If they tried, the United States would treat this as an act of aggression and would intervene.
- Part Two: The United States would not interfere with any existing European colonies or interfere with conflicts between European countries.
Pretty much what the policy told European powers was you stay in your Hemisphere and we'll stay in ours. This policy changed United States foreign policy for quite a while.