Home / General / Happy Monroe Doctrine Birthday!

Happy Monroe Doctrine Birthday!



Today is the anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine. We should celebrate since this was never ever never ever never used by the United States for imperialistic ventures in Latin America.

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  • bargal20

    I clicked on the history.com link but couldn’t find any relationship between the Monroe Doctrine and ancient aliens, so how is this history?

    • tsam



  • Joe_JP

    Dave Barry in his great history of the U.S. noted:

    The first major president to be elected after the War of 1812 was President Monroe Doctrine, who became famous by developing the policy for which he is named. This policy, which is still in effect today, states that:

    1. Other nations are not allowed to mess around with the internal affairs of nations in this hemisphere.
    2. But we are.
    3. Ha-ha-ha.

    According to him, it was established on 10/8 though.

  • tsam

    Is there any … Doctrine that isn’t inherently evil? I have Monroe, Truman and Bush (in the pre-emptive war cuz muzlins, Charlie, respect), and I can’t think of any that weren’t utter shite.

    • Captain Haddock

      The Doctrine of Laches?

      • tsam

        Person + Doctrine.

        That’s all legal beagle talk. (I hadta look it up)

        I could see that one going either way, in my uninformed opinion.

        • Captain Haddock

          The Laches Doctrine, named after the Athenian general in the Peloponnesian War who made peace with Sparta. There we go.

          • tsam

            I was told it was from the French word ~ relaxed

            • Captain Haddock

              No, that’s the Doctrine of Laches. Totally different.

    • Brett

      The Powell Doctrine? That limited US involvement in the first Gulf War, although the success of the US military in that endeavour immediately undermined support for the doctrine.

      I suppose you could point to FDR’s “Good Neighbor” policy with Latin America in the 1930s and 1940s. If only his successors had bothered to keep it.

      • tsam

        Noting that both of those were short lived, based on the fact that they didn’t involve killing the SHIT OUT OF EVERYBODY, and the aggressive ones stuck around for decades.

        • Theobald Schmidt

          1.) Moving the goalposts a bit, aren’t we?

          2.) The Stimson Doctrine (refusal to recognize any Imperial Japanese agreements with the Republic of China, specifically in regard to the Japanese occupation of Manchuria.)

          • LFC

            Yes, though the Stimson Doctrine iirc was taken to be the more general position that the U.S. wd not recognize the legitimacy of territorial acquisitions via conquest.

            Doctrines w Presidents’ names attached have had a rough history, though the finer pts of many of them cd doubtless be debated. (e.g. the Nixon Doctrine, not awful, said, in compressed form, that the US wd henceforward rely more on allies to fight Communism than do it directly w its own mil. forces, part of a reaction to Vietnam, a war, of course, that Nixon and Kissinger themselves unnecessarily prolonged, at substantial human cost.)

          • tsam

            No, just thinking out text.

    • Bitter Scribe

      The Marshall Doctrine.

      Seriously. Rebuilding Europe and holding on to West Berlin without starting World War III were some of the greatest achievements of modern American diplomacy. I hope that festering pustule Joe McCarthy gets an extra jab of the pitchfork every day down in hell for driving George C. Marshall from public office.

      • Hogan

        I remember that as a plan rather than a doctrine.

        • Food, supplies, a plan: nalpa seilppus doof!

    • calling all toasters

      The Neuron Doctrine worked out well. Camillo Golgi can suck it.

    • Discovery Doctrine, another evil one.

    • Ahuitzotl

      The Vietnam Doctrine? (Dont get involved in land wars in Asia)

  • Captain Haddock

    Smedley Butler said it best:

    I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

    I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

    I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

    During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

    • Lurking Canadian

      If you were looking around for generals to lead your pro-business coup, it is possible he was not the right choice.

  • rea

    Was not the Monroe Doctrine essentially British foreign policy? The UK wanted free trade with Latin America, which had just been largely liberated from Spain with extensive British help, precisely to achieve that end. The Monroe Doctrine was essentially unenforceable without the British Navy. The British used the US as their frontman, to make the whole enterprise look respectable rather than an exercise in economic imperialism.

    • The Monroe Doctrine was essentially unenforceable because the U.S. was too weak to even bother trying in 1823. Of course, it’s real impact would begin seven decades later.

    • Manny Kant

      Not exactly. The British proposed a joint statement to Adams, and Adams decided that the US shouldn’t be second fiddle to Britain, and had Monroe proclaim it unilaterally. But it’s certainly true that for most of the nineteenth century, it was the British who actually enforced the thing, to the extent that it was enforced.

      • LFC

        The British at one pt proposed a formal alliance w the US re S.America, then withdrew the offer. (According to a refresher glance I just took, via Amazon LookInside, at ch.4 of P. Trubowitz’s Politics and Strategy (2011), which sees the Monroe Doctrine as an expansionist move, partly driven by considerations of domestic politics, even if it wasn’t something the US cd enforce militarily. It didn’t need to b.c the only European power likely to interfere in a significant way was Britain, whose claims were, as Trubowitz puts it, grandfathered in.)

  • Ken

    What’s the source for the picture? Uncle Sam is facing the wrong way to fend off Europe. WWII Japan, maybe?

    • tsam

      Russia tried to claim most of the West Coast around 1820 or so. That was one of the many motivations for the Doctrine.

      • Although Russia wasn’t in much of a position to act on those claims.

        • tsam

          Right–and we weren’t in any position, geographically or militarily to fight them on it. Strange when you think of how different the world was just that short time ago.

          • A good counterfactual is what the U.S. would have done with the French invasion of Mexico had it not been fighting the Civil War.

            • tsam

              Think we could have repelled that? (I don’t know, I’m asking your opinion–so this doesn’t come across as being a snot)

              • Gregor Sansa

                What, no Cinco de Mayo? When would gringos drink crappy Mexican beer, then?

                • tsam

                  I have been misdirected on this, as my Cincos have all been way way way too much cheap tequila. The mere mention of Cinco de Mayo sends a wave a nausea through my belly.

                • Hogan

                  Judging by the number of bars I see highlighting Corona, I’d say all the damn time.

              • Depends on how badly the French wanted it. It also depends on whether this happened before or after slavery was ended. Hard to see how the U.S. really could have gotten involved without slavery politics dominating the discussion. It also wouldn’t have surprised me if many southerners would have wanted to split Mexico with the U.S. and expand slavery south. They were looking for opportunities to do this anywhere and everywhere (see William Walker in Nicaragua). So it’s actually a really complicated issue.

                • wengler

                  If the US wanted all of Mexico they would’ve taken it when they had the chance 12 years earlier.

                • Politics change.

                • tsam

                  I read something that basically laid it out just as you did–but that in the end, the French probably would have won that one simply because of the expansion vs containment war that had been raging in the US for years already.

            • Hogan

              Without the Civil War, would France have tried it? Not that I underestimate Napoleon III’s capacity for doing stupid shit.

              • That’s certainly part of the counterfactual. Good question.

              • Manny Kant

                I think the initial British-French-Spanish debt collecting expedition would probably still have happened, followed by a very hostile American response, followed by them all leaving.

              • Cheerful

                Right up to his bitterly stupid end. When I found out how the war of 1870 actually got started I just had to shake my head at the folly of the French when they were being most foolish.

            • Manny Kant

              I mean, don’t we kind of know? The French were still in Mexico when the Civil War ended, and some pretty mild implicit threats by the Johnson administration were more or less sufficient to get them to leave.

    • Just pulled it off the intertubes but the art is nearly identical to a lot of similar images of the imperialist era.

      • Lee Rudolph

        The cartoonist appears to be Louis Dalrymple, who died in 1905. (But I didn’t do more than a quick Googlification.)

        • Thanks

        • Manny Kant

          So probably the Yellow Peril.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Clearly, he’s fending off the Kiwis. Can’t trust ’em.

    • tsam

      I totally missed your joke–I suck.

  • Four Krustys

    Based on the size of that stick, you can understand why, at least among the ladies, the Monroe Presidency was known as the Era of Good Feelings.

    • among the ladies

      I dunno. That’s a wide stance he’s got there.

    • tsam

      Two words: opium.

  • j_kay

    The Monroe Doctrine was originally good, anti-imperialism, except we did nothing good and in fact went worst bad under TR. We also did more and more unfair treaties, but didn’t exactly stick to the hemispbere, going across into the Pacifjc and Asia.

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