Due to her sympathy with oppressed Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey, Russia went to war and on October 20, 1827 an allied British-French-Russian fleet destroyed the allied Mohammedan fleet at the Battle of Navarino. But Britain and France then backed away from Russia and there was increasing friction. This friction culminated in the Crimean War of 1853-1856.
You can see how the British had been preoccupied by Turkey and Crimea for decades after the Monroe Doctrine was articulated in President James Monroe’s seventh annual message to Congress on December 2, 1823. The Monroe Doctrine stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention. (The Monroe Doctrine also promised that the United States would not meddle in the internal concerns of European countries.)
Once the Crimean War had ended in 1856, the British, contrary to the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine, began to focus attention upon the United States. “A close business relationship had grown up between the cotton-growing aristocracy of the southern states and cotton manufacturing England, and the southern states were swarming with British agents.”
In December 1861, in defiance of the Monroe Doctrine, a large British, French and Spanish invasion force landed at Vera Cruz, Mexico. This affront, together with direct British aid to the Confederacy, brought the fortunes of the North to a very low ebb. It appeared that Britain was preparing to more directly enter the American Civil War, on the side of the South.
It was at this extremity that President Abraham Lincoln appealed to Russia, the perennial enemy of Britain. When the document with Lincoln’s urgent appeal was given to Tsar Alexander II (image at top), he held it unopened in his hand and said:
Before we open this paper or know its contents, we grant any request it may contain. On the day on which your President was inaugurated, we, Alexander II of Russia, signed the protocol which liberated twenty-three million serfs. Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, has freed four million slaves. Therefore, whatever he asks of Russia, Russia will grant, for Alexander II will not be a factor in the enslavement of any man.
Not long thereafter, unannounced, a Russian fleet under Admiral Lisiviski steamed into New York harbor and anchored there. Concurrent to this, the Russian Pacific fleet under Admiral Popov arrived at San Francisco. Of this Russian action, Gideon Welles, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, said: “They arrived at the high tide of the Confederacy and the low tide of the North, causing England and France to hesitate long enough to turn the tide for the North.”
(Source for the above: The Empire of “The City”, by E.C. Knuth. Torrance, CA: Noontide Press, 1983)