In 1823, President James Monroe called for an end to European intervention in North and South America by introducing the Monroe Doctrine. This meant that Europe was unable to further colonize in the Western Hemisphere. In response, America agreed not to interfere with European relations. Almost a century later in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt presented the Roosevelt Corollary, which was an extension to the Monroe Doctrine. This extension gave the United States the right to intervene in countries south of the United States if necessary.
Roosevelt’s philosophy, “speak softly but carry a big stick,” was used to justify America’s actions during this time. It was evident that through America’s actions concerning Latin America, the Latin American nations were able to keep stable, independent political and social structures, as well as maintain prosperous economies. In any case where negative influences come into play in any of the Latin American nations, America was obligated to force those negative influences out.
For example, if one Latin American nation was subject to invasion by another country, the United States had the power to intervene. Basically, the United States acted as the “big stick” in Latin American affairs in the “speak softly but carry a big stick” saying. This “big stick” was the force that stood behind Latin America and intimidated European nations if any disruption of Latin American affairs occurred. The idea for the Roosevelt Corollary was put into effect during the Venezuela Crisis of 1902.
During this event, Venezuela had not paid its dues to Germany and Great Britain; and as a result, both countries sent warships to Venezuela in order to force Venezuela to make its payment. The enforcement of the Roosevelt Corollary would allow for the United States to take part in this affair and force the warships to depart, ultimately protecting Venezuela. The first instance in which this policy was actually used was when the Dominican Republic was subject to invasion by European debt collectors in 1905.
As a result, the United States invaded the nation and maintained rule until the issue was compromised. Here, the United Stated guaranteed the succession of the Dominican Republic and assumed responsibility for customs house collections by using 55% of receipts to pay obligations and using the rest to satisfy the government’s needs. If the United States had not intervened in the situation between the Dominican Republic and Europe, the country was susceptible to invasion and could’ve eventually failed.
Luckily, the United Stated guaranteed the continuation of Dominican Republic as a nation by providing the country with sufficient security until the issue with Europe had diminished. This event stands as an example of the justification of the Roosevelt Corollary and how it was used to expand the purpose of the Monroe Doctrine. The Roosevelt Corollary was exposed in 1904 to justify America’s intervention in Latin American conflicts with European nations.
In protecting the Latin America nations, the United States essentially had the right to control what went on in those countries. This policy was distributed through various Latin American conflicts, such as events that occurred in the Dominican Republic. Evidently, America’s actions had been quite beneficial to the Latin American nations. Therefore, the Roosevelt Corollary should solely be seen as an extension to the Monroe Doctrine rather than something that had altered the initial objectives of President Monroe.