Modernizing the Monroe Doctrine

By Charles H. Sherrill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE MONROE DOCTRINE AND THE CANNING MYTH

ON the 12th of December, 1826, George Canning, then Prime Minister of England, made the proud statement in the House of Commons: "I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old." This striking sentence, pronounced as it was by one of the greatest figures which the English Parliamentary system ever produced, has received wide credence ever since, even our own writers admitting that his suggestions had much to do with the wording and promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine. In South America, their belief in his controlling part in the acquisition and preservation of their liberty has caused the erection of more than a few monuments to his memory. It is to the credit of those warm-hearted peoples that these testimonials to him were not affected by the frank admission of his boast, that he was actuated not by a love for liberty, but by his need for something new to support his foreign policy in European affairs.

The credit for the calling into existence of the New World belongs not to Canning, but to the splendid patriotism of those colonists who by means of many

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