The Holy Alliance: The European Background of the Monroe Doctrine

The Holy Alliance: The European Background of the Monroe Doctrine

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The Holy Alliance: The European Background of the Monroe Doctrine

The Holy Alliance: The European Background of the Monroe Doctrine

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Excerpt

Within a few months will occur the one hundredth anniversary of the reading of President Monroe's Seventh Annual Message to Congress. The three great Continental Powers to which its warnings were chiefly directed are today prostrate as the result of the World War. Yet the principles it defined have continued to furnish the basis of the foreign policy of the United States. Morever, the eclipse of Russia, Prussia and Austria has but resulted in a renewal of the fundamental problem which confronted the diplomatists and statesmen of the Republic in 1923—a problem which in the words of Monroe regards essentially "the condition of the civilized world and its bearing on us."

The international questions which the trained diplomacy of Monroe and Adams was called upon to meet and decide a century ago were similar in a remarkable degree to those of the present day. Again the measure to be arrived at is: How far the conditions of the international situation justify the United States in departing from a system of isolation imposed by geographical conditions and a generally accepted, time-honored policy? How far may we abandon the restraints of this safeguarding principle, and at the earnest solicitation of friendly nations bear a part in agreements intended to maintain the general peace? At such a moment as the present one, to use once more the language of Monroe, "a precise knowledge of our relations with foreign powers as respects our negotiations and transactions with each" is indeed "particularly necessary."

The trend of American diplomacy towards a return to the "traditional prejudice" in favor of an American system apart from the affairs of Europe, has offered one of the chief problems confronting the statesmen of the Allied Powers since the close of the War. It is the author's belief that in the light of a renewed study of the events which led to the declarations of the Monroe manifesto, the motives underlying recent policy tend to justify themselves as the continuing result of historical experience. Examination of the archives of the Department of State and documents which have but recently become available in the Imperial Archives of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs prove the . . .

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