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John Quincy Adams And The Monroe Doctrine History Essay

John Quincy Adam was appointed as Secretary of State by President James Monroe on September 22, 1817 and is considered to have had an exceptionally successful career with great political knowledge and philosophies that changed the history of the United States. Although he proved to be the “wrong man” for the presidency, being that he was intensely independent, stiff necked, and even failed to acquire the support he needed in even his own party. In 1808, the Federalist took control of Massachusetts legislature and he repaid his independence by refusing to return to the Senate. Adams then altered his loyalty to the Republican Party. In the short falling of his Senate seat, this launched the foremost remarkable phase of his career. “President James Madison named him the first U.S. minister to Russia, after which he was assigned to head the five-person delegation, empowered to negotiate a peace agreement ending the War of 1812. The peace treaty, universally seen as a victory for the young American nation, was signed on December 24, 1814” (Hargreaves 1). Soon after was the election of James Monroe. Adams came home to be appointed secretary of state and played a major role in creating the Monroe Doctrine. In December of 1823, Adams helped build the United States into the forceful power it is today by being the source of the foreign policy established in the Monroe Doctrine, which warned European nations not to intervene in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere. Throughout his eight years as secretary of state, he helped construct a powerful and efficient American diplomatic service.

During President James Monroe’s term, the president realized the States should start to exert power in the world. The States must develop a policy to protect his country's interests. President Monroe chose to consult with many of those he found wise and those whose opinions he valued (former President Thomas Jefferson, John Calhoun and James Madison, and Secretary John Quincy Adams. The Monroe Doctrine stated that the Unites States recognizes other Nations the right of establishing and modifying their own Governments, according to judgments and interests. “World War II, utilizing the new Monroe Doctrine as its cement, may be building a genuine base for Pan-American unity in the future” (Wilcox 22). The foreign policy statement was intended to present to the Russian Emperor Alexander, that their motivation to give up claims on the Northwest Coast of America by presenting an idea which he would consider was being directed towards Great Britain. Great Britain tried to collaborate with the United States, hoping to send out a joint message to other European countries and the Holy Alliance. All but the Secretary of State agreed it would be in the best interest of the States to ally with Great Britain. John Quincy Adams also had some political motives for implementing the doctrine during the term of President Monroe. Mr. Adams planned to run for the presidency as a Republican. Having the doctrine issued by Monroe, Adams was able to have the policies put into effect and yet he would not seem to the public as though he was pro-British, at a time when the Republicans would not have approved. John C. Calhoun, “A man who certainly did not err on the side of a cheerful optimism and the surrender of Cadiz to the French was the immediate cause of this despair” (Ford 2). Calhoun left Congress in 1817 and was a secretary of War in the Monroe administration (Ulbrich 1), he feared this might cause war because it might be offensive to the Russian Government but Adams only intended to warn Great Britain on entering Cuba. The doctrine established the United States position in the major world affairs of the time. Around the time of the Napoleonic Wars in the 1820s, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia all gained their independence from Spanish control (“Monroe Doctrine” 617). The Americans also feared that if the Spanish colonies were recaptured the United States might be next (“Monroe Doctrine” 617). Great Britain refused to let the Spanish take back their now independent colonies. As free countries the new Spanish-American nations could trade more goods with Great Britain. However, if Spain regains control of their former colonies then trade with Great Britain would decrease drastically (“Monroe Doctrine” 617). The Russian Tsar attempted to extend his interest of expansion in North America. In 1821 Russia had claims on the North Western coast of the North American continent as low as the 51st parallel, deep into the Oregon Territory. On September 14th of the same year Tsar Alexander I issued an Imperial Ukase (decree), saying that no foreign vessels could come within 100 Italian miles of Russian territory. Although the decree was never enforced, John Quincy Adams, the Secretary of State at the time, strongly opposed it. Adams felt that many regions of North America were still unexplored such as Alaska and North Western Canada. On July 17th, 1823 John Q. Adams declared that the United States should contest Russia’s Imperial Ukase on the North American continent. President James Monroe accepted Adams’ statement and would go on to use it in his message (Perkins 31). On December 2, 1823 James Monroe’s made his legendary seventh annual message to congress saying “At the proposal of the Russian Imperial Government, made through the minister of the Emperor residing here, a full power and instructions have been transmitted to the minister of the United States at St. Petersburg to arrange, by amicable negotiation, the respective rights and interests of the two nations on the northwest coast of this continent.” (Perkins 394).

President Monroe chose Thomas Jefferson for advice. He asked what Jefferson's opinion was towards allowing Great Britain be a joint party in the development of a doctrine. Mr. Jefferson answered by writing a letter to the president. Thomas Jefferson also felt it was time the States controlled their own continent, without interference from other powers. He also stated he continued to think that Great Britain was such a powerful force that if they were not included, they may take action against the States.

He wrote it would be a huge step in the forward movement of the United States if they were to have the ability to expand to their borders and have the opportunity to increase their states and colonies by decreasing the hold of other countries. He was hesitant because of the power of these same countries. “Both Jefferson and former president James Madison, whom Monroe also consulted, recommended cooperation with Britain. However, Monroe's Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, was more cautious (para 4, Today in History).”

George Canning, a British Foreign Minister and a representative of British trading interests, sent a message to the United States on August 20th, 1823. He said that Spain would never recover their colonies, only time will allow the new nations to be recognized and that England does not want the colonies nor wants to see anyone else take control of them (Perkins 37). Richard Rush, an American Minister, had been asked by Canning, if he could make a joint declaration between the United States and Great Britain. Rush was startled by Canning’s proposition, since it had been only 40 years since the American Revolution and the War of 1812 was just awhile back (May 3). At first without consulting John Q. Adams, Canning agreed. President Monroe favored this idea along with former presidents Jefferson and Madison. Jefferson had said with Great Britain, “on our side, we not fear the world” (“Monroe Doctrine” 617). Although Great Britain and the United States were on the same track, they had differences. The United States had recognized the colonies as new nations and Great Britain had not (Perkins 37). George Canning said that Great Britain would use their powerful Royal Navy to stop European intervention whether or not they had a joint declaration (“Monroe Doctrine” 617). It consisted of three main parts. First the doctrine specifically states that, “…we (US) should consider any attempt on their (European Powers) part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. ” The President made it clear to Europe that the United States would go against any attempt to take control of any independent country of the New World. The message goes on to say, “In the wars of the European Powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does is comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparations for our defense.” This lets the European nations know that the United States would not interfere with European affairs, such as controlling of existing colonies, unless the United States was endangered (Monroe 395). Finally the message ends by stating that the United States would not take sides in European arguments but the nation of Europe must not disrupt the Western Hemisphere. In 1823 the United States had nowhere near the military and economic power to support such a powerful statement. Adams had questioned whether the United States would go to war if Spain acted toward hostility toward Latin America (Perkins 44). President Monroe had his doubts but responded by saying, “It is written and I will not change it now” (Perkins 45). The Monroe Doctrine also set up further protection of United States interest. The Carter Doctrine, by President Jimmy Carter, was modeled after the Monroe Doctrine. The Carter Doctrine was aimed to protest United States claim in the Persian Gulf. It was in response to the Soviet Union’s attempt to obtain a warm water port in the Persian Gulf area. The Untied States wanted to protect this area from the Soviet Union due to the fact that the Persian Gulf is rich in oil deposits, which is crucial to the United States economy (Faragher 992). The Americans felt secure, optimistic, and nationalistic in the early 1820’s. They boasted that their political structure was superior to autocracy of the European powers and the Monroe Doctrine was a message that let Europe know this.

Overall, the doctrine by President James Monroe in December 1823, finalizing that the United States would not tolerate an European nation colonizing an independent nation in North or South America, and that any such intervention in the western hemisphere would be considered a hostile act by the United States, though the United States would respect existing European colonies. With John Quincy Adam’s leadership originating the Monroe Doctrine, this made for a successful document in the 19th century and beyond.


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