Modernizing the Monroe Doctrine

By Charles H. Sherrill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
THE MONROE DOCTRINE AND ITS MISINTERPRETATION ABROAD

"SELF-PRESERVATION is the first law of nature," and the Monroe Doctrine is but the American expression of that homely maxim.

The idea underlying that Doctrine did not originate with Monroe, but had been a basic fact of our nation ever since "the embattled farmers" of Concord fired "the shot that was heard round the world." Says John Bassett Moore, that eminent international lawyer, known and therefore trusted in all the Americas, "The Monroe Doctrine has in reality become a convenient title by which is denoted a principle that doubtless would have been wrought out if the Message of 1823 had never been written -- the principle of the limitation of European power and influence in the Western Hemisphere."

In Washington's Farewell Address he pointed out that Europe had "a set of primary interests which to us have none, or a very remote relation," and he urged that we make no alliances with countries across the ocean. He also predicted that "the period is not far off when . . . belligerent nations, under the

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