Latin America and the Monroe Doctrine
During the opening decades of the 19th century, Central and
South America turned to revolution. The idea of liberty had
stirred the people of Latin America from the time the English
colonies gained their freedom. Napoleon's conquest of Spain and
Portugal in 1808 provided the signal for Latin Americans to rise
in revolt. By 1822, ably led by Simón Bolívar, Francisco
Miranda, José de San Martín and Miguel de Hidalgo, most of
Hispanic America – from Argentina and Chile in the south to
Mexico in the north – had won independence.
The people of the United States took a deep interest in what
seemed a repetition of their own experience in breaking away
from European rule. The Latin American independence movements
confirmed their own belief in self-government. In 1822 President
James Monroe, under powerful public pressure, received authority
to recognize the new countries of Latin America and soon
exchanged ministers with them. He thereby confirmed their
status as genuinely independent countries, entirely separated
from their former European connections.
At just this point, Russia, Prussia, and Austria formed an
association called the Holy Alliance to protect themselves
against revolution. By intervening in countries where popular
movements threatened monarchies, the alliance – joined by
post-Napoleonic France – hoped to prevent the spread of
revolution. This policy was the antithesis of the American
principle of self-determination...
Questions with answers in bold:
1. What 1808 event provided the signal for Latin Americans to rise in revolt?
2. What U.S. president officially recognized the new countries of Latin America in 1822?
3. Which of the following was not part of the Holy Alliance?
4. What was the aim of the Holy Alliance?
5. Great Britain supported the Holy Alliance.
6. American refusal to tolerate any further extension of European domination in the Americas became known as the _____.
7. What effect did President Monroe’s 1823 message to Congress have on U.S. relations with Latin America?
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Text courtesy of the U.S. State Department, Bureau of International Information Programs, 2005