Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
James Monroe established the Monroe Doctrine, a U.S. foreign policy that effectively closed off North and South America from further colonization by Europe. This doctrine has proved incredibly long-lasting, influencing the foreign policies of many presidents who came after Monroe, including Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy.
See the fact file below for more information on the Monroe Doctrine or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Monroe Doctrine worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- In December 1823, President James Monroe declared that the United States would not permit a European nation colonizing an independent nation in the Western Hemisphere, whether it be North or South America, and warned that any such intrusion would be considered a hostile act.
- Monroe’s statement, which was expressed in his annual address to Congress (the equivalent of the State of the Union Address), was triggered by a threat that Spain would take over its former colonies in South America, which had declared their independence.
- While the Monroe Doctrine was aimed at a specific and timely problem, its encompassing essence ensured it would have enduring impact. Indeed, over the course of time, it went from being a relatively obscure statement to becoming a cornerstone of American foreign policy.
- Although the statement would carry President Monroe’s name, it was actually John Quincy Adams who authored the doctrine, a future president of the United States who was serving as Monroe’s secretary of state at the time. It was also Adams who assertively pushed for the doctrine to be openly declared.
The Reason for the Monroe Doctrine
- The United States had declared its independence during the war of 1812, and at its end in 1815, there only remained two independent nations in the Western Hemisphere: the U.S. and Haiti, a former French colony.
- By the early 1820s, the situation had changed dramatically as the Spanish colonies in Latin America began fighting for their independence, and Spain’s American empire essentially collapsed.
- Political leaders in the United States generally welcomed the independence of new nations in South America, but there was considerable skepticism that the new nations would remain independent and become democratic like the United States.
- Meanwhile, in Europe, a crisis emerged in 1823 when France occupied Spain to support King Ferdinand VII, who had been forced to adopt a liberal constitution. Because of this, it was widely believed that France was also intending to assist Spain in retaking its colonies in South America.
- The news about France and Spain joining forces alerted the British government, asking the American ambassador what his government intended to do to impede the two nations.
John Quincy Adams and the Doctrine
- The U.S. Ambassador to Britain sent bulletins proposing that the American government cooperate with Britain in issuing a statement declaring disapproval of Spain’s return to Latin America. President Monroe, uncertain of how to proceed, sought the opinions of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, two former presidents who advised that it would be a good idea to connive with Great Britain regarding the issue.
- However, Secretary of State Adams did not agree and argued at a cabinet meeting on November 7, 1823, that the United States government should rather issue a unilateral statement. Having served as a diplomat in Europe, Adams thought in broader terms and considered its effects, not just to Latin America, but also to the west coast of North America, as news circulated of Russia claiming territory in the Pacific Northwest extending as far south as present-day Oregon.
- By sending a compelling statement, John Quincy Adams hoped to warn all nations that the United States would not tolerate colonial powers encroaching on any part of North America.
Reactions to Monroe’s Statement
- The Monroe Doctrine was stated in several paragraphs deep within the message President Monroe delivered in Congress on December 2, 1823. And though buried within a document heavy with details, such as financial reports on various government agencies, the statement on foreign policy was highlighted and noticed.
- The doctrine posed four main ideas: the United States will stay out of any wars between European countries or issues happening inside of Europe; the United States will stay out of issues happening in the colonies of European countries located in the Western Hemisphere; countries in the Western Hemisphere could not be made into new colonies; and the United States will get involved if Europe tries to rule over or control a country in the Western Hemisphere.
- The doctrine’s essence – “we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety” – was highly talked about in the American press.
- One article published on December 9, 1823 in the Salem Gazette in Massachusetts mocked the President’s statement as putting “the peace and prosperity of the nation at hazard”.
- Others lauded the apparent sophistication of the statement. Another Massachusetts newspaper, the Haverhill Gazette, published a lengthy article on December 27, 1823, which analyzed the president’s message, praised it and brushed aside criticisms.
Legacy of the Monroe Doctrine
- The Monroe doctrine was essentially forgotten for a number of years after its declaration to the Congress. No intervention in Latin America by European forces ever happened. And, in reality, the threat of Britain’s Royal Navy probably did more to ensure that than Monroe’s foreign policy statement.
- Decades later, in December 1845, President James K. Polk affirmed the Monroe Doctrine in his annual message to the Congress. Polk evoked the doctrine as a component of Manifest Destiny and the United States’ desire to extend from coast to coast.
- In the latter half of the 19th century, and well into the 20th century, the Monroe Doctrine was also cited by American political leaders as an expression of American dominance in the Western Hemisphere. The strategy of John Quincy Adams of crafting a statement that would send a message to the entire world proved to be effective for many decades.
Monroe Doctrine Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Monroe Doctrine across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Monroe Doctrine worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Monroe Doctrine. James Monroe established the Monroe Doctrine, a U.S. foreign policy that effectively closed off North and South America from further colonization by Europe. This doctrine has proved incredibly long-lasting, influencing the foreign policies of many presidents who came after Monroe, including Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- The Basics
- Men Behind the Doctrine
- Key Figures
- Seeing the Big Picture
- Domestic vs. Foreign
- America vs. Europe
- Foreign Policy Today
- Okay or Not Okay
- From a Kid’s Perspective
- Let Your Voice Be Heard
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Monroe Doctrine Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 18, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.