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Colonialism Questions: George Washington and Monroe Declaration Essay

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Updated: Jan 6th, 2022

President James Monroe declared the Monroe declaration in 1823. The declaration stated that US was not ready to accept any advancement in colonialism either in the North or South America. The declaration stated that any steps taken towards colonising any part of the western hemisphere would be considered as a hostile action towards the US. The declaration also made it clear that existing European colonies would be respected. The doctrine stated that the US would refrain from actively participating in European political issues including its wars (World Affairs 1).

It was claimed that the invasion of French on Spain to restore a former King must have lead to this declaration. This declaration has been noted to have significantly shaped the US foreign policy which was heavily aligned towards isolation from the world nations especially Europe. The policy was aimed at keeping the European continent from interfering with the western hemisphere (World Affairs 1).

The Fears of George Washington

Foreign Issues were splitting US

George Washington expressed his fears on the dangers of permanent foreign alliances in his farewell speech. He believed that the US was in danger if it would entangle itself in the foreign affairs of other nations particularly those from Europe (Senate Documents 23). It was reported that the US was slowly beginning to be divided on issues of foreign affairs. During the French revolutionary wars the Federalists had taken sides with Britain while the Democrats had taking sides with the French. The democrats made attempts to convince Washington to invoke the 1778 treaty of alliance and defend the French against the Britons. The proclamation of Neutrality which later led to the Neutrality Act made it possible for US not to get involved in the crisis (Neutrality Act 1).

Foreign Affairs would not benefit the US

George Washington advocated for a policy of good faith. In his speech, he advocated for the US not to be involved on a long-term relationship with other nations. He claimed that this would be done by not forming long-term friendships and avoiding long-term hostilities with other nations. George Washington claimed that long-term relationships with other nations would affect the making of rational decisions by the US government because of the need to protect relationship interests (Senate Documents 22).

Washington did not see anything good which would come out of long term relationship with Europe. He claimed that the affairs of Europe were not of interest to the Americans in any way. He also saw the isolated position of the US as beneficiary because it made it possible for US to concentrate on its own affairs.

US Foreign Policy in the early 1800s

In an attempt to avoid entangling itself in foreign affairs, the US adopted an isolation policy in regard to foreign affairs. The convention of 1800 saw an end to all the treaties that the US had with foreign nations. The declaration of Monroe furthermore distanced the US from Europe and warned against any interference from Europe on the Western hemisphere. The US policy on foreign affairs was therefore bent on isolating the US from other nations on the issues of political affairs.

Conclusion

George Washington had argued that the US would be better off if it concentrated on its internal issues as opposed to wasting time on foreign affairs. He claimed that getting into long-term relationships with other nations would affect the way the US would make decisions which might be irrational when a need arises to protect relationship ties. The Act of Neutrality, the 1800 convention and the Monroe Declaration are some of the significant efforts made towards isolating the US from foreign affairs.

Works Cited

Neutrality Act. 76th Congress, 2nd Session, Public Resolution No. 54, n.d. Web.

Senate Document. Washington’s Farewell Address. Senate Document, 2000. Web.

World Affairs. United States History, n.d. Web.

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