United States and American History: 1823

About the history of the United States in 1823, the Monroe Doctrine and foreign intervention in world affairs.


Dec. 2 In his annual message to Congress, President Monroe outlined a policy on foreign intervention. It wasn't until 30 years later that this document became known as the Monroe Doctrine. John Quincy Adams, then Secretary of State, is credited with having created this policy. An entry in his diary for November 7, 1823, tells of a meeting with Calhoun and Southard on the subject of British proposals to join them in issuing a warning to the Holy Alliance (Russia, Austria, Spain, and France) against aggression in the Americas.

It was Adams's suggestion that the U.S. decline Great Britain's invitation and issue its own warning. Adams felt that while the U.S. had no intention of seizing Texas or Cuba, the people there might find it more beneficial to unite with the U.S., than with England or any other European nation.

Russia had made overtures for negotiations with the U.S. concerning their mutual northwest coastal interests. Spain at this time was not felt to be a threat. It was the moment to initiate a tough policy. Though the Europeans were not happy with that policy, they were in no situation to oppose it.

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