Top 10 State of the Union Addresses

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2. James Monroe - December 2, 1823

James Monroe’s seventh State of the Union address in 1823 outlined a policy which stated that the United States would not meddle in the affairs of European governments and, most importantly, declared that any further efforts by European powers to colonize countries in the Western Hemisphere would be considered an act of aggression requiring U.S. intervention.

Monroe wrote:

Separated as we are from Europe by the great Atlantic Ocean, we can have no concern in the wars of the European Governments nor in the causes which produce them. The balance of power between them, into whichever scale it may turn in its various vibrations, can not affect us. It is the interest of the United States to preserve the most friendly relations with every power and on conditions fair, equal, and applicable to all.

But in regard to our neighbors our situation is different. It is impossible for the European Governments to interfere in their concerns, especially in those alluded to, which are vital, without affecting us; indeed, the motive which might induce such interference in the present state of the war between the parties, if a war it may be called, would appear to be equally applicable to us.

The policy, which became known as the "Monroe Doctrine," endured as one of the defining aspects of U.S. foreign policy over the next 150 years.

Text of Address

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