The Dibs Doctrine
The Maundy Monday Newsletter - This Week in History November 27 - December 3.
Have you ever tried to start a country?
I would think it would be challenging.
First, you would need some land and declare your independence from the United States. I bet that would be the initial obstacle you couldn’t overcome.
Mostly because I doubt the federal government would recognize your sovereignty. You probably wouldn’t have an army or navy to fight for your freedom, so you are stuck there.
If you can’t start a country, you probably can’t begin colonizing other places. And colonizing other places is really the heart of any country worth a darn.
Back when a bunch of guys who did own land and started what would become the United States, a former colony of Great Britain, they had to decide when to cut off the idea that other European countries could continue colonizing other pieces of land that weren’t a part of the United States.
Our foundational foreign policy at the beginning was one of isolation – we wouldn’t interfere with European affairs. In return, Europe wouldn’t interfere with affairs in North America. The first four presidents shared this policy, but it wasn’t until the fifth one that it took more shape.
On December 2, 1823, President James Monroe outlined the Monroe Doctrine.
The policy was twofold:
First, we called dibs on the New World, and therefore, no European country could come over here and colonize anything.
Second, any European country that decided they would go ahead and try to colonize a place in the New World, the United States would view that as a threat to our sovereignty, and action would be taken.
Of course, we didn’t have much of an army and navy at the time, so enforcing the Monroe Doctrine would be difficult. Europe knew this, so the Doctrine was mostly ignored even though it was successful in practice.
Something I doubt could happen if you suddenly decided to start your own country.
Declare a policy of becoming a subscriber to Okay History. To receive new posts and support my work, type in your email below.
The Monroe Doctrine didn’t become known as the Monroe Doctrine until the 1850s after President James Polk used the concept to declare every piece of land from east to west belonged to the United States.
Over the next two centuries, the Monroe Doctrine has shaped America’s grand strategy when it comes to foreign policy. It has been used as a reason to defeat the spread of communism in the Western Hemisphere and ensure democracies are created and sustained throughout Latin and South America.
Okay, let's highlight what else happened this week. Here's what I got:
1. The Senate confirmed Gerald Ford as Vice President on November 27, 1973. After Vice President Spiro Agnew had to resign for being a corrupt jerk, President Richard Nixon nominated the House Minority Leader under the terms of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. Both the House and the Senate confirmed Ford by wide margins, who, by all accounts, was not a corrupt jerk.
2. The Brady Bill was signed on November 30, 1993. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act mandated federal background checks on individuals purchasing a handgun, which was used in an attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, interrupt my afternoon cartoons, and severely wounding Press Secretary James Brady.
3. President George W. H. Bush died on November 30, 2018. The 41st president (top 20 in the OKH presidential rankings) was an avid letter writer, a World War II vet, and the father of another president who wasn’t nearly as good. He was 94.
I hope everyone enjoyed the rest of the holiday weekend. All my football teams lost—two of them on Saturday and then, for good measure, another one on Sunday. I did eat my fair share of apple pie, so let’s call it a draw.
Today should be the last day of Thanksgiving leftovers from the perfect turkey I cooked on Thursday. I’m not kidding; I did an amazing job. Did I send you the picture?
December sneaks up on us this Friday, and I have to ask –
Anonymous has scheduled time for me to go up into the attic tomorrow evening and bring down the 7,000 boxes we have for Christmas lights and other decorations. I love the attic. I also love root canals and walking across a steel bar that’s 100 miles up from the ground. It should be another good time.
Blue is a few days away from being allowed to eat hard food and, more importantly, play with his toys. It’s been a difficult month for our boy, but I have to say he has been great during this entire time. He is patient when it comes to being hand-fed; this is no easy task for a dog who is entirely food-motivated. He will be rewarded this Christmas for being such a good boy.
Thank you for supporting Okay History. As a reward, I will be back this Friday with another Amendment Ranking.
We have five more to go!
Lots of polls this Monday morning. Have a great week. Appreciate you all!