CHAPTER XI. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REORGANIZATION (1815-1824).
Here the interests of the United States became involved: they were trading freely with the Spanish Americans; they sympathized with the new governments, which were nominally founded on the model of the North American republic; they felt what now seems an unreasonable fear that European powers would invade the United States. At the same time the Russians, who had obtained a foothold on the northwest coast fifty years earlier, were attempting to establish a permanent colony, and on Sept. 24, 1821, issued a ukase forbidding all foreigners to trade on the Pacific coast north of the fifty-first parallel, or to approach within one hundred Italian miles of the shore. John Quincy Adams, who had a quick eye for national rights, protested vigorously. Now came most gratifying evidence that the United States was the leading power in America: in September, 1823, the British government proposed to our minister in England that the two countries should unite in a declaration against European intervention in the colonies. The invitation was declined, but the good will of Great Britain was assured.
129. THE MONROE DOCTRINE (1823).
[Monroe's message.] [Colonization clause.] [Intervention Clause.]
John Quincy Adams had succeeded in bringing the President to the point where he was willing, in behalf of the nation, to make a protest against both these forms of interference in American affairs. When Congress met, in December, 1823, Monroe sent in a message embodying what is popularly called the Monroe Doctrine. He had taken the advice of Jefferson, who declared that one of the maxims of American policy was "never to suffer Europe to meddle with cis-Atlantic affairs." Madison, with characteristic caution, suggested an agreement with Great Britain to unite in "armed disapprobation." In the cabinet meeting, Adams pointed out that intervention would result, not in restoring the colonies to Spain, but in dividing them among European nations, in which case Russia might take California. His views prevailed, and the message contained, in the first place, a clause directed against Russia: "The American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintained, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers." Against intervention there was even a stronger protest: "With the governments who have declared their independence and maintained it,... we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as a manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States."
In every way this dignified protest was effectual: the news caused an immediate rise in the funds of the revolted States in European markets; projects of European intervention were at once abandoned; and Great Britain followed the United States in recognizing the independence of the new countries. In 1824 Russia made a treaty agreeing to claim no territory south of 54 degrees 40', and not to disturb or restrain citizens of the United States in any part of the Pacific Ocean.
When Monroe retired from the Presidency on March 4, 1825, the internal authority of the national government had for ten years steadily increased, and the dignity and influence of the nation abroad showed that it had become one of the world's great powers.