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The Monroe Doctrine

MONROE, JAMES. The Monroe Doctrine: Message from the President of the United States, to Both Houses of Congress, at the Commencement of the First Session of the Eighteenth Congress. December 2, 1823. Printed by order of the Senate. 15 pp. [with] Documents Accompanying the Message of the President …

Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1823

Contemporary half sheep, marbled boards. Bound with additional government documents from 1824. Manuscript table of contents. Spine rubbed with some peeling. Browning. A  good, tight, unrestored copy.

FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM of the Monroe Doctrine, preceded only by the newspaper printings.

The Monroe Doctrine marks the first American declaration of its place as a world power and has long been a cornerstone of American foreign policy. Concerned about the intervention of European powers in the New World, and objecting to Russia’s aggressive stance in the Northwest, James Monroe declared in his State of the Union Address on December 2, 1823, that “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.” He added that any such interventions could not be viewed “in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.”

For nearly two centuries the Monroe Doctrine has shaped American foreign policy, and it remains the most famous document of American foreign relations. In 1845 James Polk advised Congress that the principle should be strictly enforced and used it as an essential underpinning of American westward expansion. Many 19th-century presidents continued to cite the doctrine culminating in Theodore Roosevelt’s assertion of the right to intervene in the affairs of Latin America.

John F. Kennedy cited the Monroe Doctrine as a basis for its confrontation with the Soviet Union in the Cuban Missile Crisis. He declared: “The Monroe Doctrine means what it has meant since President Monroe and John Quincy Adams enunciated it, and that is that we would oppose a foreign power extending its power to the Western Hemisphere, and that is why we oppose what is happening in Cuba today. That is why we have cut off our trade. That is why we worked in the Organization of American States and in other ways to isolate the Communist menace in Cuba. That is why we will continue to give a good deal of our effort and attention to it.” Virtually every president since Kennedy has cited the Monroe Doctrine as the basis for American actions in the Western Hemisphere.

Examples of the Monroe Doctrine with the accompanying Documents are rarely seen in contemporary bindings without library markings.

Grolier 100 Influential American Books 33. Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents From the National Archives 66.

$3,500