How The Monroe Doctrine Turned Into American Imperialism

When President James Monroe issued his Monroe Doctrine in 1823, he intended it to keep European colonial powers from dominating Latin America or interfering in its political affairs. President Theodore Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Doctrine, eight decades later, turned Monroe’s foreign policy legacy into a weapon of American colonialism—which still sours American relations with Latin America.

That lingering animosity has made coequal relationships and willing cooperation nearly impossible by creating diplomatic difficulties for the US government, which has rarely been able to draw concessions without strong-arming those countries. 

It has also created negative relations with immigrants in the US—of which Latin Americans make up a plurality. The atrocities that the American government has committed against these countries for over 12 decades give many a sense of entitlement. That has turned them into political pawns for American political forces and driven domestic division.

Why did James Monroe issue the Monroe Doctrine?

President Monroe, on December 2, 1823, laid out the Doctrine in his annual address to Congress. It comprised four principles:

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