James Monroe

James Monroe (/mənˈroʊ/; April 28, 1758 – July 4, 1831) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825. A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Monroe was the last president of the Virginia dynasty, and his presidency coincided with the Era of Good Feelings. He is perhaps best known for issuing the Monroe Doctrine, a policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas. He also served as the governor of Virginia, a member of the United States Senate, the U.S. ambassador to France and Britain, the seventh Secretary of State, and the eighth Secretary of War.

Born into a planter family in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Monroe served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. After studying law under Thomas Jefferson from 1780 to 1783, he served as a delegate in the Continental Congress. As a delegate to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, Monroe opposed the ratification of the United States Constitution. In 1790, he won election to the Senate, where he became a leader of the Democratic-Republican Party. He left the Senate in 1794 to serve as President George Washington's ambassador to France, but was recalled by Washington in 1796. Monroe won election as Governor of Virginia in 1799 and strongly supported Jefferson's candidacy in the 1800 presidential election.

As President Jefferson's special envoy, Monroe helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase, through which the United States nearly doubled in size. Monroe fell out with his long-time friend, James Madison, after the latter rejected the Monroe–Pinkney Treaty that Monroe negotiated with Britain. He unsuccessfully challenged Madison in the 1808 presidential election, but in April 1811 he joined Madison's administration as Secretary of State. During the later stages of the War of 1812, Monroe simultaneously served as Madison's Secretary of State and Secretary of War. His war-time leadership established him as Madison's heir apparent, and he easily defeated Federalist Party candidate Rufus King in the 1816 presidential election.

Monroe's presidency was coterminous with the Era of Good Feelings, as the Federalist Party collapsed as a national political force. As president, Monroe signed the Missouri Compromise, which admitted Missouri as a slave state and banned slavery from territories north of the parallel 36°30′ north. In foreign affairs, Monroe and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams favored a policy of conciliation with Britain and a policy of expansionism against the Spanish Empire. In the 1819 Adams–Onís Treaty with Spain, the United States secured Florida and established its western border with New Spain. In 1823, Monroe announced the United States' opposition to any European intervention in the recently independent countries of the Americas with the Monroe Doctrine, which became a landmark in American foreign policy. Monroe was a member of the American Colonization Society, which supported the colonization of Africa by freed slaves, and Liberia's capital of Monrovia is named in his honor. Following his retirement in 1825, Monroe was plagued by financial difficulties. He died in New York City on July 4, 1831. He has been generally ranked as an above-average president.

James Monroe
James Monroe White House portrait 1819
5th President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
Vice PresidentDaniel D. Tompkins
Preceded byJames Madison
Succeeded byJohn Quincy Adams
8th United States Secretary of War
In office
September 27, 1814 – March 2, 1815
PresidentJames Madison
Preceded byJohn Armstrong Jr.
Succeeded byAlexander Dallas (acting)
7th United States Secretary of State
In office
April 6, 1811 – March 4, 1817
PresidentJames Madison
Preceded byRobert Smith
Succeeded byJohn Quincy Adams
12th and 16th Governor of Virginia
In office
January 16, 1811 – April 2, 1811
Preceded byGeorge W. Smith (acting)
Succeeded byGeorge W. Smith
In office
December 28, 1799 – December 1, 1802
Preceded byJames Wood
Succeeded byJohn Page
4th United States Minister to the United Kingdom
In office
August 17, 1803 – October 7, 1807
PresidentThomas Jefferson
Preceded byRufus King
Succeeded byWilliam Pinkney
5th United States Minister to France
In office
August 15, 1794 – December 9, 1796
PresidentGeorge Washington
Preceded byGouverneur Morris
Succeeded byCharles Cotesworth Pinckney
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
November 9, 1790 – May 27, 1794
Preceded byJohn Walker
Succeeded byStevens Thomson Mason
Delegate to the
Congress of the Confederation
from Virginia
In office
November 3, 1783 – November 7, 1786
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byHenry Lee III
Personal details
BornApril 28, 1758
Monroe Hall, Virginia, British America
DiedJuly 4, 1831 (aged 73)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting placeHollywood Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Spouse(s)
Elizabeth Kortright
(m. 1786; died 1830)
Children3, including Eliza
EducationCollege of William and Mary
Signature
James Monroe's signature
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service Continental Army
Virginia Militia
Years of service1775–1777 (Army)
1777–1780 (Militia)
RankUS-O4 insignia.svg Major (Army)
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel (Militia)
Battles/warsAmerican Revolutionary War
 • Battle of Trenton (WIA)

Early life

James Monroe was born on April 28, 1758, in his parents' house located in a wooded area of Westmoreland County, Virginia. The marked site is one mile from the unincorporated community known today as Monroe Hall, Virginia. The James Monroe Family Home Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. His father Spence Monroe (1727–1774) was a moderately prosperous planter who also practiced carpentry. His mother Elizabeth Jones (1730–1772) married Spence Monroe in 1752 and they had five children: Elizabeth, James, Spence, Andrew, and Joseph Jones.[1][2]

Birthplace of Monroe historical marker
Marker designating the site of James Monroe's birthplace in Monroe Hall, Virginia

His paternal 2nd great grandfather Patrick Andrew Monroe emigrated to America from Scotland in the mid-17th century, and was part of an ancient Scottish clan known as Clan Munro. In 1650 he patented a large tract of land in Washington Parish, Westmoreland County, Virginia. Monroe's mother was the daughter of a wealthy immigrant by the name of James Jones, who immigrated from Wales and had settled in nearby King George County, Virginia. Jones was an architect.[1] Also among James Monroe's ancestors were French Huguenot immigrants, who came to Virginia in 1700.[2]

At age eleven, Monroe was enrolled in the lone school in the county. Monroe attended this school for only eleven weeks a year, as his labor was needed on the farm. During this time, Monroe formed a lifelong friendship with an older classmate, John Marshall. Monroe's mother died in 1772, and his father died two years later. Though he inherited property from both of his parents, the sixteen-year-old Monroe was forced to withdraw from school to support his younger brothers. His childless maternal uncle, Joseph Jones, became a surrogate father to Monroe and his siblings. A member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, Jones took Monroe to the capital of Williamsburg, Virginia and enrolled him in the College of William and Mary. Jones also introduced Monroe to important Virginians such as Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. In 1774, opposition to the British government grew in the Thirteen Colonies in reaction to the "Intolerable Acts," and Virginia sent a delegation to the First Continental Congress. Monroe became involved in the opposition to Lord Dunmore, the colonial governor of Virginia, and he took part in the storming of the Governor's Palace.[3]

Revolutionary War service

In early 1776, about a year and a half after his enrollment, Monroe dropped out of college and joined the 3rd Virginia Regiment in the Continental Army.[4] As the fledgling army valued literacy in its officers, Monroe was commissioned with the rank of lieutenant, serving under Captain William Washington. After months of training, Monroe and seven hundred Virginia infantrymen were called north to serve in the New York and New Jersey campaign. Shortly after the Virginians arrived, George Washington led the army in a retreat from New York City into New Jersey and then across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. In December, Monroe took part in a surprise attack on a Hessian encampment. Though the attack was successful, Monroe suffered a severed artery in the battle and nearly died. In the aftermath of the battle, George Washington cited Monroe and William Washington for their bravery, and promoted Monroe to the rank of captain. After his wounds healed, Monroe returned to Virginia to recruit his own company of soldiers.[5] Monroe's participation in the battle was memorialized in John Trumbull's painting, The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776, as well as Emanuel Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware.[6]

The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton December 26 1776.jpeg
The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776, by John Trumbull, showing Captain William Washington, with a wounded hand, on the right and Lt. Monroe, severely wounded and helped by Dr. Riker, left of center

Lacking the wealth to induce soldiers to join his company, Monroe instead asked his uncle to return him to the front. Monroe was assigned to the staff of General William Alexander, Lord Stirling. During this time, Monroe formed a close friendship with the Marquis de Lafayette, a French volunteer who encouraged Monroe to view the war as part of a wider struggle against religious and political tyranny. Monroe served in the Philadelphia campaign and spent the winter of 1777–1778 at the encampment of Valley Forge, sharing a log hut with Marshall. After serving in the Battle of Monmouth, the destitute Monroe resigned his commission in December 1778 and joined his uncle in Philadelphia. After the British captured Savannah, the Virginia legislature decided to raise four regiments, and Monroe returned to his native state, hoping to receive his own command. With letters of recommendation from Washington, Stirling, and Alexander Hamilton, Monroe received a commission as a lieutenant colonel and was expected to lead one of the regiments, but recruitment again proved to be an issue. On the advice of Jones, Monroe returned to Williamsburg to study law, becoming a protege of Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson.[7]

With the British increasingly focusing their operations in the Southern colonies, the Virginians moved the capital to the more defensible city of Richmond, and Monroe accompanied Jefferson to the new capital. As Governor of Virginia, Jefferson held command over the state's militia, and he appointed Monroe to the rank of colonel, and Monroe established a messenger network to coordinate with the Continental Army and other state militias. Still unable to raise an army due to a lack of interested recruits, Monroe traveled to his home in King George County, and thus was not present for the British raid of Richmond. As both the Continental Army and the Virginia militia had an abundance of officers, Monroe did not serve during the Yorktown campaign, and, much to his frustration, Monroe did not take part in the Siege of Yorktown.[8] Although Andrew Jackson served as a courier in a militia unit at age thirteen, Monroe is regarded as the last U.S. President who was a Revolutionary War veteran, since he served as an officer of the Continental Army and took part in combat.[9] Monroe resumed studying law under Jefferson and continued until 1783.[10][11] He was not particularly interested in legal theory or practice, but chose to take it up because he thought it offered "the most immediate rewards" and could ease his path to wealth, social standing, and political influence.[11] Monroe was admitted to the Virginia bar and practiced in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Marriage and family

Elizabeth Monroe
Elizabeth Kortright

On February 16, 1786, Monroe married Elizabeth Kortright (1768–1830) in New York City.[12] She was the daughter of Hannah Aspinwall Kortright and Laurence Kortright, a wealthy trader and former British officer. Monroe met her while serving in the Continental Congress.[13]

After a brief honeymoon on Long Island, New York, the Monroes returned to New York City to live with her father until Congress adjourned. They then moved to Virginia, settling in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1789. They bought an estate in Charlottesville known as Ash Lawn–Highland, settling on the property in 1799. The Monroes had three children.[14]

  • Eliza Monroe Hay was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1786, and was educated in Paris at the school of Madame Campan during the time her father was the United States Ambassador to France. In 1808 she married George Hay, a prominent Virginia attorney who had served as prosecutor in the trial of Aaron Burr and later as a U.S. District Judge. She died in 1840.[15]
  • James Spence Monroe was born in 1799 and died sixteen months later in 1800.[16]
  • Maria Hester Monroe (1804–1850) married her cousin Samuel L. Gouverneur on March 8, 1820, in the White House, the first president's child to marry there.[17][18]

Plantations and slavery

OakHillfront
Oak Hill Mansion

Monroe sold his small inherited Virginia plantation in 1783 to enter law and politics. He later fulfilled his youthful dream of becoming the owner of a large plantation and wielding great political power, but his plantation was never profitable. Although he owned much more land and many more slaves, and speculated in property, he was rarely on-site to oversee the operations. Overseers treated the slaves harshly to force production, but the plantations barely broke even. Monroe incurred debts by his lavish and expensive lifestyle and often sold property (including slaves) to pay them off.[19] Overseers moved or separated slave families from different Monroe plantations in accordance with production and maintenance needs of each satellite plantation.[20] One of Monroe's slaves named Daniel often ran away from his plantation in Albermarle County, to visit other slaves or separated family members.[20] Monroe commonly referred to Daniel as a "scoundrel" and described the "worthlessness" of Daniel as a runaway slave.[20] The practice of moving and separating slave families was common treatment of slaves in the South.[20]

Early political career

Virginia politics

Monroe was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1782. After serving on Virginia's Executive Council,[21] he was elected to the Congress of the Confederation in November 1783 and served in Annapolis until Congress convened in Trenton, New Jersey in June 1784. He had served a total of three years when he finally retired from that office by the rule of rotation.[22] By that time, the government was meeting in the temporary capital of New York City. While serving in Congress, Monroe became an advocate for western expansion, and played a key role in the writing and passage of the Northwest Ordinance. The ordinance created the Northwest Territory, providing for federal administration of the territories West of Pennsylvania and North of the Ohio River. During this period, Jefferson continued to serve as a mentor to Monroe, and, at Jefferson's prompting, he befriended another prominent Virginian, James Madison.[23]

Monroe resigned from Congress in 1786 to focus on his legal career, and he became an attorney for the state. In 1787, Monroe won election to another term in the Virginia House of Delegates. Though he had become outspoken in his desire to reform the Articles, he was unable to attend the Philadelphia Convention due to his work obligations.[24] In 1788, Monroe became a delegate to the Virginia Ratifying Convention.[25] In Virginia, the struggle over the ratification of the proposed Constitution involved more than a simple clash between federalists and anti-federalists. Virginians held a full spectrum of opinions about the merits of the proposed change in national government. Washington and Madison were leading supporters; Patrick Henry and George Mason were leading opponents. Those who held the middle ground in the ideological struggle became the central figures. Led by Monroe and Edmund Pendleton, these "federalists who are for amendments," criticized the absence of a bill of rights and worried about surrendering taxation powers to the central government.[26] After Madison reversed himself and promised to pass a bill of rights, the Virginia convention ratified the constitution by a narrow vote, though Monroe himself voted against it. Virginia was the tenth state to ratify the Constitution, and all thirteen states eventually ratified the document.[27]

Senator

Henry and other anti-federalists hoped to elect a Congress that would amend the Constitution to take away most of the powers it had been granted ("commit suicide on [its] own authority," as Madison put it). Henry recruited Monroe to run against Madison for a House seat in the First Congress, and he had the Virginia legislature draw a congressional district designed to elect Monroe. During the campaign, Madison and Monroe often traveled together, and the election did not destroy their friendship. Madison prevailed over Monroe, taking 1,308 votes compared to Monroe's 972 votes. Following his defeat, Monroe returned to his legal duties and developed his farm in Charlottesville. After the death of Senator William Grayson in 1790, Monroe was elected to serve the remainder of Grayson's term.[28]

During the presidency of George Washington, U.S. politics became increasingly polarized between the supporters of Secretary of State Jefferson and the Federalists, led by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Monroe stood firmly with Jefferson in opposing Hamilton's strong central government and strong executive. The Democratic-Republican Party coalesced around Jefferson and Madison, and Monroe became one of the fledgling party's leaders in the Senate. He also helped organize opposition to John Adams in the 1792 election, though Adams defeated George Clinton to win re-election.[29] As the 1790s progressed, the French Revolutionary Wars came to dominate U.S. foreign policy, with British and French raids both threatening U.S. trade with Europe. Like most other Jeffersonians, Monroe supported the French Revolution, but Hamilton's followers tended to sympathize more with Britain. In 1794, hoping to find a way to avoid war with both countries, Washington appointed Monroe as his minister (ambassador) to France. At the same time, he appointed the anglophile Federalist John Jay as his minister to Britain.[30]

Ambassador to France

James Monroe (1758-1831)
The earliest preserved portrait of James Monroe as Minister Plenipotentiary to France in 1794

After arriving in France, Monroe addressed the National Convention, receiving a standing ovation for his speech celebrating republicanism. He experienced several early diplomatic successes, including the protection of U.S. trade from French attacks. He also used his influence to win the release of Thomas Paine and Adrienne de La Fayette, the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette.[31] Months after Monroe arrived in France, the U.S. and Great Britain concluded the Jay Treaty, outraging both the French and Monroe—not fully informed about the treaty prior to its publication. Despite the undesirable effects of the Jay Treaty on Franco-American relations, Monroe won French support for U.S. navigational rights on the Mississippi River—the mouth of which was controlled by Spain—and in 1795 the U.S. and Spain signed Pinckney's Treaty. The treaty granted the U.S. limited rights to use the port of New Orleans.[32]

Washington decided Monroe was inefficient, disruptive, and failed to safeguard the national interest. He recalled Monroe in November 1796.[33] Returning to his home in Charlottesville, he resumed his dual careers as a farmer and lawyer.[34] Jefferson and Madison urged Monroe to run for Congress, but Monroe chose to focus on state politics instead.[35]

In 1798 Monroe published A View of the Conduct of the Executive, in the Foreign Affairs of the United States: Connected with the Mission to the French Republic, During the Years 1794, 5, and 6 . It was a long defence of his term as Minister to France. He followed the advice of his friend Robert Livingston who cautioned him to "repress every harsh and acrimonious" comment about Washington. However, he did complain that too often the U.S. government had been too close to Britain, especially regarding the Jay Treaty.[36] Washington made notes on this copy, writing, "The truth is, Mr. Monroe was cajoled, flattered, and made to believe strange things. In return he did, or was disposed to do, whatever was pleasing to that nation, reluctantly urging the rights of his own."[37]

Confrontations and strife with Alexander Hamilton

Back in 1792, then-Senator Monroe was investigating charges of corruption and misuse of Federal funds earmarked as pay for Revolutionary War veterans, when he encountered claims that Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton was involved.[38] Monroe, Frederick Muhlenberg, and Abraham Venable determined that Hamilton had been making payments to James Reynolds, a co-conspirator in the financial scheme using government money. The investigating committee prepared a report for George Washington, but confronted Hamilton before sending it. Hamilton confessed not to the corruption charge, but instead to an affair with Reynolds' wife, Maria. He claimed Reynolds had found out and was blackmailing him, and offered letters to prove his story. The investigators immediately dropped the matter, and Monroe promised Hamilton he would keep the matter private.

When another suspect in that investigation, Jacob Clingman, told Maria Reynolds about the claim she'd had an affair with Hamilton, she denied it, claiming the letters had been forged to help cover up the corruption. Clingman went to Monroe about this. Monroe added that interview to his notes, and sent the entire set to a friend, possibly Thomas Jefferson, for safekeeping. Unfortunately, the secretary who was involved in managing the notes of the investigation made copies and gave them to scandal writer James Callender.[39]

Five years later, shortly after Monroe was recalled from France, Callender published accusations against Hamilton based on those notes. Hamilton and his wife thought this was retaliation on the part of Monroe for the recall, and confronted by Hamilton via letter. In a subsequent meeting between the two of them, where Hamilton had suggested each bring a "second," Hamilton accused Monroe of lying, and challenged him to a duel. While such challenges were usually hot air, in this case Monroe replied "I am ready, get your pistols." Their seconds interceded, and an arrangement was made to give Hamilton documentation on what had occurred with the investigation.

Hamilton was not satisfied with the subsequent explanations, and at the end of an exchange of letters the two were threatening duels, again. Monroe chose Aaron Burr as his second. Burr worked as a negotiator between the two parties, believing they were both being "childish," and eventually helped settle matters.[40]

Governor of Virginia and diplomat

Governor of Virginia

On a party-line vote, the Virginia legislature elected Monroe as Governor of Virginia in 1799. He would serve as governor until 1802.[41] The constitution of Virginia endowed the governor with very few powers aside from commanding the militia when the Assembly called it into action. But Monroe used his stature to convince legislators to enhance state involvement in transportation and education and to increase training for the militia. Monroe also began to give State of the Commonwealth addresses to the legislature, in which he highlighted areas in which he believed the legislature should act. Monroe also led an effort to create the state's first penitentiary, and imprisonment replaced other, often harsher, punishments. In 1800, Monroe called out the state militia to suppress Gabriel's Rebellion, a slave rebellion originating on a plantation six miles from the capital of Richmond. Gabriel and 27 other enslaved people who participated were all hanged for treason.[42]

Monroe thought that foreign and Federalist elements had created the Quasi War of 1798–1800, and he strongly supported Thomas Jefferson's candidacy for president in 1800. Federalists were likewise suspicious of Monroe, some viewing him at best as a French dupe and at worst a traitor.[43] With the power to appoint election officials in Virginia, Monroe exercised his influence to help Jefferson win Virginia's presidential electors.[44] He also considered using the Virginia militia to force the outcome in favor of Jefferson.[45] Jefferson won the 1800 election, and he appointed Madison as his Secretary of State. As a member of Jefferson's party and the leader of the largest state in the country, Monroe emerged as one of Jefferson's two most likely successors, alongside Madison.[46]

Louisiana Purchase and ambassador to Britain

Shortly after the end of Monroe's gubernatorial tenure, President Jefferson sent Monroe back to France to assist Ambassador Robert R. Livingston in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase. In the 1800 Treaty of San Ildefonso, France had acquired the territory of Louisiana from Spain; at the time, many in the U.S. believed that France had also acquired West Florida in the same treaty. The American delegation originally sought to acquire West Florida and the city of New Orleans, which controlled the trade of the Mississippi River. Determined to acquire New Orleans even if it meant war with France, Jefferson also authorized Monroe to form an alliance with the British if the French refused to sell the city.[47]

Meeting with François Barbé-Marbois, the French foreign minister, Monroe and Livingston agreed to purchase the entire territory of Louisiana for $15 million; the purchase became known as the Louisiana Purchase. In agreeing to the purchase, Monroe violated his instructions, which had only allowed $9 million for the purchase of New Orleans and West Florida. The French did not acknowledge that West Florida remained in Spanish possession, and the United States would claim that France had sold West Florida to the United States for several years to come. Though he had not ordered the purchase of the entire territory, Jefferson strongly supported Monroe's actions, which ensured that the United States would continue to expand to the West. Overcoming doubts about whether the Constitution authorized the purchase of foreign territory, Jefferson won congressional approval for the Louisiana Purchase, and the acquisition doubled the size of the United States. Monroe would travel to Spain in 1805 to try to win the cession of West Florida, but, with the support of France, Spain refused to consider relinquishing the territory.[48]

After the resignation of Rufus King, Monroe was appointed as the ambassador to Great Britain in 1803. The greatest issue of contention between the United States and Britain was that of the impressment of U.S. sailors. Many U.S. merchant ships employed British seamen who had deserted or dodged conscription, and the British frequently impressed sailors on U.S. ships in hopes of quelling their manpower issues. Many of the sailors they impressed had never been British subjects, and Monroe was tasked with persuading the British to stop their practice of impressment. Monroe found little success in this endeavor, partly due to Jefferson's alienation of the British minister to the United States, Anthony Merry. Rejecting Jefferson's offer to serve as the first governor of Louisiana Territory, Monroe continued to serve as ambassador to Britain until 1807.[49]

In 1806 he negotiated the Monroe–Pinkney Treaty with Great Britain. It would have extended the Jay Treaty of 1794 which had expired after ten years. Jefferson had fought the Jay Treaty intensely in 1794–95 because he felt it would allow the British to subvert American republicanism. The treaty had produced ten years of peace and highly lucrative trade for American merchants, but Jefferson was still opposed. When Monroe and the British signed the new treaty in December 1806, Jefferson refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification. Although the treaty called for ten more years of trade between the United States and the British Empire and gave American merchants guarantees that would have been good for business, Jefferson was unhappy that it did not end the hated British practice of impressment, and refused to give up the potential weapon of commercial warfare against Britain. The president made no attempt to obtain another treaty, and as a result, the two nations drifted from peace toward the War of 1812.[50] Monroe was severely pained by the administration's repudiation of the treaty, and he fell out with Secretary of State James Madison.[51]

1808 election and the Quids

On his return to Virginia in 1807, Monroe received a warm reception, and many urged him to run in the 1808 presidential election.[52] After Jefferson refused to submit the Monroe-Pinkney Treaty, Monroe had come to believe that Jefferson had snubbed the treaty out of the desire to avoid elevating Monroe above Madison in 1808.[53] Out of deference to Jefferson, Monroe agreed to avoid actively campaigning for the presidency, but he did not rule out accepting a draft effort.[54] The Democratic-Republican Party was increasingly factionalized, with "Old Republicans" or "Quids" denouncing the Jefferson administration for abandoning what they considered to be true republican principles. The Quids tried to enlist Monroe in their cause. The plan was to run Monroe for president in the 1808 election in cooperation with the Federalist Party, which had a strong base in New England. John Randolph of Roanoke led the Quid effort to stop Jefferson's choice of Madison. The regular Democratic-Republicans overcame the Quids in the nominating caucus, kept control of the party in Virginia, and protected Madison's base.[55] Monroe did not publicly criticize Jefferson or Madison during Madison's campaign against Federalist Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, but he refused to support Madison.[56] Madison defeated Pinckney by a large margin, carrying all but one state outside of New England. Monroe won 3,400 votes in Virginia, but received little support elsewhere.[54] After the election Monroe quickly reconciled with Jefferson, but did not speak with Madison until 1810.[51] Returning to private life, he devoted his attentions to farming at his Charlottesville estate.[57]

Secretary of State and Secretary of War

Madison administration

Monroe returned to the Virginia House of Burgesses and was elected to another term as governor in 1811, but served only four months. In April 1811, Madison appointed Monroe as Secretary of State in hopes of shoring up the support of the more radical factions of the Democratic-Republicans.[51] Madison also hoped that Monroe, an experienced diplomat with whom he had once been close friends, would improve upon the performance of the previous Secretary of State, Robert Smith. Madison assured Monroe that their differences regarding the Monroe-Pinkney Treaty had been a misunderstanding, and the two resumed their friendship.[58] On taking office, Monroe hoped to negotiate treaties with the British and French to end the attacks on American merchant ships. While the French agreed to reduce the attacks and release seized American ships, the British were less receptive to Monroe's demands.[59] Monroe had long worked for peace with the British, but he came to favor war with Britain, joining with "war hawks" such as Speaker of the House Henry Clay. With the support of Monroe and Clay, Madison asked Congress to declare war upon the British, and Congress complied on June 18, 1812, thus beginning the War of 1812.[60]

The war went very badly, and the Madison administration quickly sought peace, but were rejected by the British.[61] The U.S. Navy did experience several successes after Monroe convinced Madison to allow the Navy's ships to set sail rather than remaining in port for the duration of the war.[62] After the resignation of Secretary of War William Eustis, Madison asked Monroe to serve in dual roles as Secretary of State and Secretary of War, but opposition from the Senate limited Monroe to serving as acting Secretary of War until Brigadier General John Armstrong won Senate confirmation.[63] Monroe and Armstrong clashed over war policy, and Armstrong blocked Monroe's hopes of being appointed to lead an invasion of Canada.[64] As the war dragged on, the British offered to begin negotiations in Ghent, and the United States sent a delegation led by John Quincy Adams to conduct negotiations. Monroe allowed Adams leeway in setting terms, so long as he ended the hostilities and preserved American neutrality.[65]

When the British burned the U.S. Capitol and the White House on August 24, 1814, Madison removed Armstrong as Secretary of War and turned to Monroe for help, appointing him Secretary of War on September 27.[66] Monroe resigned as Secretary of State on October 1, 1814, but no successor was ever appointed and thus from October 1814 to February 28, 1815, Monroe effectively held both Cabinet posts.[67] Now in command of the war effort, Monroe ordered General Andrew Jackson to defend against a likely attack on New Orleans by the British, and he asked the governors of nearby states to send their militias to reinforce Jackson. He also called on Congress to draft an army of 100,000 men, increase compensation to soldiers, and establish a new national bank to ensure adequate funding for the war effort.[68] Months after Monroe took office as Secretary of War, the war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. The treaty resulted in a return to the status quo ante bellum, and many outstanding issues between the United States and Britain remained. But Americans celebrated the end of the war as a great victory, partly due to the news of the treaty reaching the United States shortly after Jackson's victory in the Battle of New Orleans. With the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the British also ended the practice of impressment. After the war, Congress authorized the creation a national bank in the form of the Second Bank of the United States.[69]

Election of 1816

Monroe decided to seek the presidency in the 1816 election, and his war-time leadership had established him as Madison's heir apparent. Monroe had strong support from many in the party, but his candidacy was challenged at the 1816 Democratic-Republican congressional nominating caucus. Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford had the support of numerous Southern and Western Congressmen, while Governor Daniel D. Tompkins was backed by several Congressmen from New York. Crawford appealed especially to many Democratic-Republicans who were wary of Madison and Monroe's support for the establishment of the Second Bank of the United States.[70] Despite his substantial backing, Crawford decided to defer to Monroe on the belief that he could eventually run as Monroe's successor, and Monroe won his party's nomination. Tompkins won the party's vice presidential nomination. The moribund Federalists nominated Rufus King as their presidential nominee, but the party offered little opposition following the conclusion of a popular war that they had opposed. Monroe received 183 of the 217 electoral votes, winning every state but Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware.[71]

Presidency

Domestic affairs

Democratic-Republican Party dominance

Monroe largely ignored old party lines in making federal appointments, which reduced political tensions and augmented the sense of "oneness" that pervaded the United States. He made two long national tours to build national trust. At Boston, a newspaper hailed his 1817 visit as the beginning of an "Era of Good Feelings". Frequent stops on his tours included ceremonies of welcome and expressions of good-will. The Federalist Party continued to fade during his administration; it maintained its vitality and organizational integrity in Delaware and a few localities, but lacked influence in national politics. Lacking serious opposition, the Democratic-Republican Party's Congressional caucus stopped meeting, and for practical purposes the party stopped operating.[72]

Administration and cabinet

The Monroe Cabinet
OfficeNameTerm
PresidentJames Monroe1817–1825
Vice PresidentDaniel D. Tompkins1817–1825
Secretary of StateJohn Quincy Adams1817–1825
Secretary of TreasuryWilliam H. Crawford1817–1825
Secretary of WarJohn C. Calhoun1817–1825
Attorney GeneralRichard Rush1817
William Wirt1817–1825
Secretary of the NavyBenjamin Crowninshield1817–1818
Smith Thompson1819–1823
Samuel L. Southard1823–1825

Monroe appointed a geographically-balanced cabinet, through which he led the executive branch.[73] At Monroe's request, Crawford continued to serve as Treasury Secretary. Monroe also chose to retain Benjamin Crowninshield of Massachusetts as Secretary of the Navy and Richard Rush of Pennsylvania as Attorney General. Recognizing Northern discontent at the continuation of the Virginia dynasty, Monroe chose John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts as Secretary of State, making Adams the early favorite to eventually succeed Monroe. An experienced diplomat, Adams had abandoned the Federalist Party in 1807 in support of Thomas Jefferson's foreign policy, and Monroe hoped that the appointment would encourage the defection of more Federalists. After General Andrew Jackson declined appointment as Secretary of War, Monroe turned to South Carolina Congressman John C. Calhoun, leaving the Cabinet without a prominent Westerner. In late 1817 Rush became the ambassador to Britain, and William Wirt succeeded him as Attorney General.[74] With the exception of Crowninshield, the rest of Monroe's initial cabinet appointees remained in place for the remainder of his presidency.[75]

Missouri Compromise

In February 1819, a bill to enable the people of the Missouri Territory to draft a constitution and form a government preliminary to admission into the Union came before the House of Representatives. During these proceedings, Congressman James Tallmadge, Jr. of New York "tossed a bombshell into the Era of Good Feelings"[76] by offering the Tallmadge Amendment, which prohibited the further introduction of slaves into Missouri and required that all future children of slave parents therein should be free at the age of twenty-five years. After three days of rancorous and sometimes bitter debate, the bill, with Tallmadge's amendments, passed. The measure then went to the Senate, where both amendments were rejected.[77] A House–Senate conference committee was unable to resolve the disagreements on the bill, and so the entire measure failed.[78] The ensuing debates pitted the northern "restrictionists" (antislavery legislators who wished to bar slavery from the Louisiana territories) against southern "anti-restrictionists" (proslavery legislators who rejected any interference by Congress inhibiting slavery expansion).[79]

During the following session, the House passed a similar bill with an amendment, introduced on January 26, 1820, by John W. Taylor of New York, allowing Missouri into the union as a slave state. The question had been complicated by the admission in December of Alabama, a slave state, making the number of slave and free states equal. In addition, there was a bill in passage through the House (January 3, 1820) to admit Maine as a free state.[80] The Senate decided to connect the two measures. It passed a bill for the admission of Maine with an amendment enabling the people of Missouri to form a state constitution. Before the bill was returned to the House, a second amendment was adopted on the motion of Jesse B. Thomas of Illinois, excluding slavery from the Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north (the southern boundary of Missouri), except within the limits of the proposed state of Missouri. The House then approved the bill as amended by the Senate.[81] The legislation passed, which became known as the Missouri Compromise, won the support of Monroe and both houses of Congress, and compromise temporarily settled the issue of slavery in the territories.[82]

Internal improvements

MONROE, James-President (BEP engraved portrait)
BEP engraved portrait of Monroe as President

As the United States continued to grow, many Americans advocated a system of internal improvements to help the country develop. Federal assistance for such projects evolved slowly and haphazardly—the product of contentious congressional factions and an executive branch generally concerned with avoiding unconstitutional federal intrusions into state affairs.[83] Monroe believed that the young nation needed an improved infrastructure, including a transportation network to grow and thrive economically, but did not think that the Constitution authorized Congress to build, maintain, and operate a national transportation system.[84] Monroe repeatedly urged Congress to pass an amendment allowing Congress the power to finance internal improvements, but Congress never acted on his proposal, in part because many congressmen believed that the Constitution did in fact authorize the federal financing of internal improvements.[85] In 1822, Congress passed a bill authorizing the collection of tolls on the Cumberland Road, with the tolls being used to finance repairs on the road. Adhering to stated position regarding internal improvements, Monroe vetoed the bill.[85] In an elaborate essay, Monroe set forth his constitutional views on the subject. Congress might appropriate money, he admitted, but it might not undertake the actual construction of national works nor assume jurisdiction over them.[86]

In 1824, the Supreme Court ruled in Gibbons v. Ogden that the Constitution's Commerce Clause gave the federal government the authority to regulate interstate commerce. Shortly thereafter, Congress passed two important laws that, together, marked the beginning of the federal government's continuous involvement in civil works. The General Survey Act authorized the president to have surveys made of routes for roads and canals "of national importance, in a commercial or military point of view, or necessary for the transportation of public mail." The president assigned responsibility for the surveys to the Army Corps of Engineers. The second act, passed a month later, appropriated $75,000 to improve navigation on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers by removing sandbars, snags, and other obstacles. Subsequently, the act was amended to include other rivers such as the Missouri. This work, too, was given to the Corps of Engineers—the only formally trained body of engineers in the new republic and, as part of the nation's small army, available to serve the wishes of Congress and the executive branch.[83]

Panic of 1819

Two years into his presidency, Monroe faced an economic crisis known as the Panic of 1819, the first major depression to hit the country since the ratification of the Constitution in 1788.[87] The panic stemmed from declining imports and exports, and sagging agricultural prices[84] as global markets readjusted to peacetime production and commerce in the aftermath of the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars.[88][89] The severity of the economic downturn in the U.S. was compounded by excessive speculation in public lands,[90][91] fueled by the unrestrained issue of paper money from banks and business concerns.[92][93] Monroe lacked the power to intervene directly in the economy, as banks were largely regulated by the states, and he could do little to stem the economic crisis.[94]

Before the onset of the Panic of 1819, some business leaders had called on Congress to increase tariff rates to address the negative balance of trade and help struggling industries.[95] As the panic spread, Monroe declined to call a special session of Congress to address the economy. When Congress finally reconvened in December 1819, Monroe requested an increase in the tariff but declined to recommend specific rates.[96] Congress would not raise tariff rates until the passage of the Tariff of 1824.[97] The panic resulted in high unemployment and an increase in bankruptcies and foreclosures,[84][98] and provoked popular resentment against banking and business enterprises.[99][100]

Foreign affairs

According to William E. Week, "Monroe evolved a comprehensive strategy aimed at expanding the Union externally while solidifying it internally". He expanded trade and pacified relations with Great Britain while expanding the United States at the expense of the Spanish Empire, from which he obtained Florida and the recognition of a border across the continent. Faced with the breakdown of the expansionist consensus over the question of slavery, the president tried to provide both North and South with guarantees that future expansion would not tip the balance of power between slave and free states, a system that, Weeks remarks, did indeed allow the continuation of American expansion for the best of four decades.[101]

Treaties with Britain and Russia

Monroe pursued warmer relations with Britain in the aftermath of the War of 1812.[102] In 1817 the United States and Britain signed the Rush–Bagot Treaty, which regulated naval armaments on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain and demilitarized the border between the U.S. and British North America.[103] The Treaty of 1818, also with Great Britain, was concluded October 20, 1818, and fixed the present Canada–United States border from Minnesota to the Rocky Mountains at the 49th parallel. The accords also established a joint U.S.–British occupation of Oregon Country for the next ten years.[104] Though they did not solve every outstanding issue between the U.S. and Britain, the treaties allowed for greater trade between the United States and the British Empire and helped avoid an expensive naval arms race in the Great Lakes.[102] Late in Monroe's second term, the U.S. concluded the Russo-American Treaty of 1824 with the Russian Empire, setting the southern limit of Russian sovereignty on the Pacific coast of North America at the 54°40′ parallel (the present southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle).[105]

Acquisition of Florida

Spain had long rejected repeated American efforts to purchase Florida. But by 1818, Spain was facing a troubling colonial situation in which the cession of Florida made sense. Spain had been exhausted by the Peninsular War in Europe and needed to rebuild its credibility and presence in its colonies. Revolutionaries in Central America and South America were beginning to demand independence. Spain was unwilling to invest further in Florida, encroached on by American settlers, and it worried about the border between New Spain and the United States. With only a minor military presence in Florida, Spain was not able to restrain the Seminole warriors who routinely crossed the border and raided American villages and farms, as well as protected southern slave refugees from slave owners and traders of the southern United States.[106]

Adams onis map
Map showing the results of the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819

In response to these Seminole attacks, Monroe ordered a military expedition to cross into Spanish Florida and attack the Seminoles. The expedition, led by Andrew Jackson, defeated numerous Seminoles but also seized the Spanish territorial capital of Pensacola. With the capture of Pensacola, Jackson established de facto American control of the entire territory. While Monroe supported Jackson's actions, many in Congress harshly criticized what they saw as an undeclared war. With the support of Secretary of State Adams, Monroe defended Jackson against domestic and international criticism, and the United States began negotiations with Spain.[107]

Spain faced revolt in all her American colonies and could neither govern nor defend Florida. On February 22, 1819, Spain and the United States signed the Adams–Onís Treaty, which ceded the Floridas in return for the assumption by the United States of claims of American citizens against Spain to an amount not exceeding $5,000,000. The treaty also contained a definition of the boundary between Spanish and American possessions on the North American continent. Beginning at the mouth of the Sabine River the line ran along that river to the 32nd parallel, then due north to the Red River, which it followed to the 100th meridian, due north to the Arkansas River, and along that river to its source, then north to the 42nd parallel, which it followed to the Pacific Ocean. As the United States renounced all claims to the west and south of this boundary (Texas), so Spain surrendered any title she had to the Northwest (Oregon Country).[108]

Monroe Doctrine

Monroe was deeply sympathetic to the Latin American revolutionary movements against Spain. He was determined that the United States should never repeat the policies of the Washington administration during the French Revolution, when the nation had failed to demonstrate its sympathy for the aspirations of peoples seeking to establish republican governments. He did not envisage military involvement but only the provision of moral support, as he believed that a direct American intervention would provoke other European powers into assisting Spain.[109] Monroe initially refused to recognize the Latin American governments due to ongoing negotiations with Spain over Florida.[110]

In March 1822, Monroe officially recognized the countries of Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Mexico, all of which had won independence from Spain.[104] Secretary of State Adams, under Monroe's supervision, wrote the instructions for the ministers to these new countries. They declared that the policy of the United States was to uphold republican institutions and to seek treaties of commerce on a most-favored-nation basis. The United States would support inter-American congresses dedicated to the development of economic and political institutions fundamentally differing from those prevailing in Europe. Monroe took pride as the United States was the first nation to extend recognition and to set an example to the rest of the world for its support of the "cause of liberty and humanity".[111]

For their part, the British also had a strong interest in ensuring the demise of Spanish colonialism, with all the trade restrictions mercantilism imposed. In October 1823, Richard Rush, the American minister in London, advised that Foreign Secretary George Canning was proposing that the U.S. and Britain issue a joint declaration to deter any other power from intervening in Central and South America. Adams vigorously opposed cooperation with Great Britain, contending that a statement of bilateral nature could limit United States expansion in the future. He also argued that the British were not committed to recognizing the Latin American republics and must have had imperial motivations themselves.[112]

Two months later, the bilateral statement proposed by the British became a unilateral declaration by the United States. While Monroe thought that Spain was unlikely to re-establish its colonial empire on its own, he feared that France or the Holy Alliance might seek to establish control over the former Spanish possessions.[113] On December 2, 1823, in his annual message to Congress, Monroe articulated what became known as the Monroe Doctrine. He first reiterated the traditional U.S. policy of neutrality with regard to European wars and conflicts. He then declared that the United States would not accept the recolonization of any country by its former European master, though he also avowed non-interference with existing European colonies in the Americas.[114] Finally, he stated that European countries should no longer consider the Western Hemisphere open to new colonization, a jab aimed primarily at Russia, which was attempting to expand its colony on the northern Pacific Coast.[104][111]

Election of 1820

The collapse of the Federalists left Monroe with no organized opposition at the end of his first term, and he ran for reelection unopposed,[115] the only president other than Washington to do so. A single elector from New Hampshire, William Plumer, cast a vote for John Quincy Adams, preventing a unanimous vote in the Electoral College.[115] He did so because he thought Monroe was incompetent. Later in the century, the story arose that he had cast his dissenting vote so that only George Washington would have the honor of unanimous election. Plumer never mentioned Washington in his speech explaining his vote to the other New Hampshire electors.[116]

States admitted to the Union

Five new states were admitted to the Union while Monroe was in office:

Post-presidency

James Monroe marker at Univ. of VA IMG 4248
Monroe once owned a farm at the location of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

When his presidency ended on March 4, 1825, James Monroe resided at Monroe Hill, what is now included in the grounds of the University of Virginia. He served on the university's Board of Visitors under Jefferson and under the second rector James Madison, both former presidents, almost until his death. He and his wife lived at Oak Hill in Aldie, Virginia, until Elizabeth's death on September 23, 1830. In August 1825, the Monroes had received the Marquis de Lafayette and President John Quincy Adams as guests there.[123]

Monroe incurred many unliquidated debts during his years of public life. He sold off his Highland Plantation. It is now owned by his alma mater, the College of William and Mary, which has opened it to the public as a historic site. Throughout his life, he was financially insolvent, and this was exacerbated by his wife's poor health.[124]

Monroe was elected as a delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-1830. He was one of four delegates elected from the senatorial district made up of his home district of Loudoun and Fairfax County.[125] In October 1829, he was elected by the Convention to serve as the presiding officer, until his failing health required him to withdraw on December 8, after which Philip Pendleton Barbour of Orange County was elected presiding officer.

Monroe Tomb 02
Monroe's grave at Hollywood Cemetery.

Upon Elizabeth's death in 1830, Monroe moved to New York City to live with his daughter Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur, who had married Samuel L. Gouverneur. Monroe's health began to slowly fail by the end of the 1820s.[126] On July 4, 1831, Monroe died from heart failure and tuberculosis, thus becoming the third president to have died on Independence Day. His death came 55 years after the United States Declaration of Independence was proclaimed and 5 years after the death of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Monroe was originally buried in New York at the Gouverneur family's vault in the New York City Marble Cemetery. Twenty-seven years later, in 1858, his body was re-interred at the President's Circle in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. The James Monroe Tomb is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

Religious beliefs

"When it comes to Monroe's thoughts on religion," historian Bliss Isely notes, "less is known than that of any other President." No letters survive in which he discussed his religious beliefs. Nor did his friends, family or associates comment on his beliefs. Letters that do survive, such as ones written after the death of his son, contain no discussion of religion.[127]

Monroe was raised in a family that belonged to the Church of England when it was the state church in Virginia before the Revolution. As an adult, he attended Episcopal churches. Some historians see "deistic tendencies" in his few references to an impersonal God.[128] Unlike Jefferson, Monroe was rarely attacked as an atheist or infidel. In 1832 James Renwick Willson, a Reformed Presbyterian minister in Albany, New York, criticized Monroe for having "lived and died like a second-rate Athenian philosopher."[129]

Slavery

Monroe owned dozens of slaves. According to William Seale, he took several slaves with him to Washington to serve at the White House from 1817 to 1825. This was typical of other slaveholders, as Congress did not provide for domestic staff of the presidents at that time.[130]

As president of Virginia's constitutional convention in the fall of 1829, Monroe reiterated his belief that slavery was a blight which, even as a British colony, Virginia had attempted to eradicate. "What was the origin of our slave population?" he rhetorically asked. "The evil commenced when we were in our Colonial state, but acts were passed by our Colonial Legislature, prohibiting the importation, of more slaves, into the Colony. These were rejected by the Crown." To the dismay of states' rights proponents, he was willing to accept the federal government's financial assistance to emancipate and transport freed slaves to other countries. At the convention, Monroe made his final public statement on slavery, proposing that Virginia emancipate and deport its bondsmen with "the aid of the Union."[131]

Monroe was part of the American Colonization Society, which supported the establishment of colonies outside of the United States for free African-Americans. The society helped send several thousand freed slaves to the new colony of Liberia in Africa from 1820 to 1840. Slave owners like Monroe and Andrew Jackson wanted to prevent free blacks from encouraging slaves in the South to rebel. With about $100,000 in federal grant money, the organization also bought land for the freedmen in what is today Liberia.[132] The capital of Liberia was named Monrovia after President Monroe.[133]

When Monroe was Governor of Virginia in 1800, hundreds of slaves from Virginia planned to kidnap him, take Richmond, and negotiate for their freedom. Due to a storm on August 30, they were unable to attack. What became known as Gabriel's slave conspiracy became public knowledge.[134] In response, Governor Monroe called out the militia; the slave patrols soon captured some slaves accused of involvement. Sidbury says some trials had a few measures to prevent abuses, such as an appointed attorney, but they were "hardly 'fair'". Slave codes prevented slaves from being treated like whites, and they were given quick trials without a jury.[135] Monroe influenced the Executive Council to pardon and sell some slaves instead of hanging them.[136] Historians say the Virginia courts executed between 26 and 35 slaves. None of the executed slaves had killed any whites because the uprising had been foiled before it began.[137]

Legacy and memory

US-$100-SC-1891-Fr.344

$100 silver certificate depicting Monroe

James Monroe Presidential $1 Coin obverse

Presidential Dollar of James Monroe

Monroe 1904 Issue-3c

First Monroe Postage stamp, Issue of 1904

JamesMonroeStatue

Statue of Monroe at Highland

Univ. VA Monroe Hall IMG 4268

Monroe Hall at the University of Virginia; Monroe once owned the land on which the university sits.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Maine is one of 3 states that were set off from already existing states (Kentucky and West Virginia are the others). The Massachusetts General Court passed enabling legislation on June 19, 1819, separating the "District of Maine" from the rest of the State (an action approved by the voters in Maine on July 19, 1819, by 17,001 to 7,132); then, on February 25, 1820, passed a follow-up measure officially accepting the fact of Maine's imminent statehood.[121]

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Bibliography

Secondary sources

  • Ammon, Harry (1971). James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity. McGraw-Hill. 706 pp. standard scholarly biography
  • Ammon, Harry. "James Monroe" in Henry F. Graff ed., The Presidents: A Reference History (3rd ed. 2002) online
  • Cresson, William P. James Monroe (1946). 577 pp. good scholarly biography
  • Cunningham, Noble E., Jr. The Presidency of James Monroe. 1996. 246 pp. standard scholarly survey
  • Dangerfield, George (1965). The Awakening of American Nationalism: 1815–1828. Harper and Rowe. ISBN 0881338230.
  • Hart, Gary (2005). James Monroe. Henry Holy and Co. ISBN 978-0805069600. superficial, short, popular biography
  • Haworth, Peter Daniel. "James Madison and James Monroe Historiography: A Tale of Two Divergent Bodies of Scholarship." in A Companion to James Madison and James Monroe (2013): 521-539.
  • Howe, Daniel Walker (2007). What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848. Oxford Univ. Press. Pulitzer Prize; a sweeping interpretation of the era
  • Holmes, David L. The Faiths of the Founding Fathers, May 2006, online version
  • Johnson, Allen (1915). Union and Democracy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Leibiger, Stuart, ed. A Companion to James Madison and James Monroe (2012) excerpt; emphasis on historiography
  • May, Ernest R. The Making of the Monroe Doctrine (1975), argues it was issued to influence the outcome of the presidential election of 1824.
  • Perkins, Dexter. The Monroe Doctrine, 1823–1826 (1927), the standard monograph about the origins of the doctrine.
  • (in Italian) Nico Perrone, Progetto di un impero. 1823. L'annuncio dell'egemonia americana infiamma la borsa (Project of an Empire. 1823. The Announcement of American Hegemony Inflames the Stock Exchange), Naples, La Città del Sole, 2013 ISBN 978-88-8292-310-5
  • Powell, Walter & Steinberg, Richard. The nonprofit sector: a research handbook, Yale, 2006, p. 40.
  • Pulliam, David Loyd (1901). The Constitutional Conventions of Virginia from the foundation of the Commonwealth to the present time. John T. West, Richmond. ISBN 978-1-2879-2059-5.
  • Renehan Edward J., Jr. The Monroe Doctrine: The Cornerstone of American Foreign Policy (2007)
  • Scherr, Arthur. "James Monroe and John Adams: An Unlikely 'Friendship'". The Historian 67#3 (2005) pp 405+. online edition
  • Scherr, Arthur. "James Monroe on the Presidency and 'Foreign Influence: from the Virginia Ratifying Convention (1788) to Jefferson's Election (1801)." Mid-America 2002 84(1–3): 145–206. ISSN 0026-2927.
  • Scherr, Arthur. "Governor James Monroe and the Southampton Slave Resistance of 1799." Historian 1999 61(3): 557–578. ISSN 0018-2370 Fulltext online in SwetsWise and Ebsco.
  • Unger, Harlow G. (2009). The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness. Da Capo Press. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved March 7, 2015. a new biography.
  • Weeks, William Earl (1992). John Quincy Adams and American Global Empire. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press.
  • Wilentz, Sean (Fall 2004). "Jeffersonian Democracy and the Origins of Political Antislavery in the United States: The Missouri Crisis Revisited". The Journal of the Historical Society. IV (3).
  • Wood, Gordon S. Empire of Liberty: A history of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)

Primary sources

  • Preston, Daniel, ed. The Papers of James Monroe: Selected Correspondence and Papers (6 vol, 2006 to 2017), the major scholarly edition; in progress, with coverage to 1814.
  • Writings of James Monroe, edited by Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed., 7 vols. (1898–1903) online edition at Google Books

External links

1808 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1808 was the sixth quadrennial presidential election, held from Friday, November 4, to Wednesday, December 7, 1808. The Democratic-Republican candidate James Madison defeated Federalist candidate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney decisively. Madison's victory made him the first individual to succeed a president of the same party.

Madison had served as Secretary of State since President Thomas Jefferson took office in 1801. Jefferson, who had declined to run for a third term, threw his strong support behind Madison, a fellow Virginian. Sitting Vice President George Clinton and former Ambassador James Monroe both challenged Madison for leadership of the party, but Madison won his party's nomination and Clinton was re-nominated as vice president. The Federalists chose to re-nominate Pinckney, a former ambassador who had served as the party's 1804 nominee.

Despite the unpopularity of the Embargo Act of 1807, Madison won the vast majority of electoral votes outside of the Federalist stronghold of New England. Clinton received six electoral votes for president from his home state of New York. This election was the first of two instances in American history in which a new president was selected but the incumbent vice president won re-election, the other being in 1828.

1816 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1816 was the eighth quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Friday, November 1 to Wednesday, December 4, 1816. In the first election following the end of the War of 1812, Democratic-Republican candidate James Monroe defeated Federalist Rufus King. The election was the last in which the Federalist Party fielded a presidential candidate.

As President James Madison chose to retire after serving two terms, the Democratic-Republicans held a congressional nominating caucus in March 1816. With the support of Madison and former President Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State Monroe defeated Secretary of War William H. Crawford to win his party's presidential nomination. Governor Daniel D. Tompkins of New York won the Democratic-Republican vice presidential nomination, continuing the party's tradition of balancing a presidential nominee from Virginia with a vice presidential nominee from either New York or New England. The Federalists did not formally nominate a ticket, but Senator King of New York emerged as the de facto Federalist candidate.

The previous four years of American politics were dominated by the effects of the War of 1812. While the war had not ended in victory, the peace concluded in 1815 was satisfactory to the American people, and the Democratic-Republicans received the credit for its conclusion. The Federalists found themselves discredited by their opposition to the war, as well as the secessionist rhetoric from New England embodied by the Hartford Convention. Furthermore, President Madison had succeeded in realizing certain measures favored by the Federalists, including a national bank and protective tariffs. The Federalists had little to campaign on, and King himself held little hope of ending the Democratic-Republican winning streak in presidential elections. Monroe won the Electoral College by the wide margin, carrying 16 of the 19 states. This would be the last election where Federalists

would run a candidate.

1820 United States elections

The 1820 United States elections elected the members of the 17th United States Congress. The election took place during Era of Good Feelings and the First Party System. Despite the Panic of 1819, the Democratic-Republican Party maintained control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, while the Federalist Party provided only limited opposition. Missouri joined the union during the 17th Congress.

In the presidential election, incumbent Democratic-Republican President James Monroe received no major opposition, although fellow Democratic-Republican John Quincy Adams received one electoral vote. The Federalists did not nominate a presidential candidate, although four Federalists received a scattering of electoral votes for vice president. Monroe joined George Washington as the only presidential candidates who won election without any serious opposition.

In the House, Federalists picked up a small number of seats, but Democratic-Republicans continued to dominate the chamber.In the Senate, Democratic-Republicans picked up a moderate number of seats, increasing their already-dominant majority.

1820 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1820 was the ninth quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Wednesday, November 1, to Wednesday, December 6, 1820. Taking place at the height of the Era of Good Feelings, the election saw incumbent Democratic-Republican President James Monroe win re-election without a major opponent. It was the third and last United States presidential election in which a presidential candidate ran effectively unopposed. It was also the last election of a president from the Revolutionary generation.

Monroe and Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins faced no opposition from other Democratic-Republicans in their quest for a second term. The Federalist Party had fielded a presidential candidate in each election since 1796, but the party's already-waning popularity had declined further following the War of 1812. Although able to field a nominee for vice president, the Federalists could not put forward a presidential candidate, leaving Monroe without organized opposition.

Monroe won every state and received all but one of the electoral votes. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams received the only other electoral vote, which came from faithless elector William Plumer. Four different Federalists received electoral votes for vice president, but Tompkins won re-election by a large margin. No other post-Twelfth Amendment presidential candidate has matched Monroe's share of the electoral vote, and Monroe and George Washington remain the only presidential candidates to run without any major opposition. Monroe's victory was the last of six straight victories by Virginians in presidential elections.

1824 State of the Union Address

The 1824 State of the Union Address was written by James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States. Delivered to the 18th United States Congress on Tuesday, December 7, 1824. James Monroe presided over the Era of Good Feelings. He began with, "The view which I have now to present to you of our affairs, foreign and domestic, realizes the most sanguine anticipations which have been entertained of the public prosperity. If we look to the whole, our growth as a nation continues to be rapid beyond example;" He ended with, "From the present prosperous and happy state I derive a gratification which I can not express. That these blessings may be preserved and perpetuated will be the object of my fervent and unceasing prayers to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe."

In the middle of the address, Mr. Monroe said, "There is no object which as a people we can desire which we do not possess or which is not within our reach. Blessed with governments the happiest which the world ever knew, with no distinct orders in society or divided interests in any portion of the vast territory over which their dominion extends, we have every motive to cling together which can animate a virtuous and enlightened people." James Monroe, a founder of his country, predicts that his country will become a world power, and must animate with virtue and enlightenment.

Elizabeth Monroe

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe (June 30, 1768 – September 23, 1830) was the First Lady of the United States from 1817 to 1825, as the wife of James Monroe, President of the United States. Due to the fragile condition of Elizabeth's health, many of the duties of official White House hostess were assumed by her eldest daughter, Eliza Monroe Hay.

Era of Good Feelings

The Era of Good Feelings marked a period in the political history of the United States that reflected a sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans in the aftermath of the War of 1812. The era saw the collapse of the Federalist Party and an end to the bitter partisan disputes between it and the dominant Democratic-Republican Party during the First Party System. President James Monroe strove to downplay partisan affiliation in making his nominations, with the ultimate goal of national unity and eliminating parties altogether from national politics. The period is so closely associated with Monroe's presidency (1817–1825) and his administrative goals that his name and the era are virtually synonymous.During and after the 1824 presidential election, the Democratic-Republican Party split between supporters and opponents of Jacksonian Nationalism, leading to the Second Party System.

The designation of the period by historians as one of good feelings is often conveyed with irony or skepticism, as the history of the era was one in which the political atmosphere was strained and divisive, especially among factions within the Monroe administration and the Democratic-Republican Party.The phrase Era of Good Feelings was coined by Benjamin Russell, in the Boston Federalist newspaper, Columbian Centinel, on July 12, 1817, following Monroe's visit to Boston, Massachusetts, as part of his good-will tour of the United States.

First inauguration of James Monroe

The first inauguration of James Monroe as the fifth President of the United States was held on Tuesday, March 4, 1817, in front of the Old Brick Capitol, where the Supreme Court building now stands. The inauguration marked the commencement of the first four-year term of James Monroe as President and Daniel D. Tompkins as Vice President. The Chief Justice, John Marshall administered the oath of office.

Highland (James Monroe house)

Highland, formerly Ash Lawn–Highland, located near Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, and adjacent to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, was the estate of James Monroe, fifth President of the United States. Purchased in 1793, Monroe and his family permanently settled on the property in 1799 and lived at Highland for twenty-four years. Personal debt forced Monroe to sell the plantation in 1825. Before and after selling Highland, Monroe spent much of his time living at the plantation house at his large Oak Hill estate near Leesburg, Virginia.

Monroe named his Charlottesville home "Highland". Later, "Ash Lawn" was added to it, today no longer acknowledged.

The estate is now owned, operated and maintained by Monroe's alma mater, the College of William & Mary.

James M. Jackson

James Monroe Jackson (December 3, 1825 – February 14, 1901) was a lawyer and Democratic politician from West Virginia who served as a United States Representative in the 51st United States Congress.

James Monroe (congressman)

James Monroe (July 18, 1821 – July 6, 1898) was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.

James Monroe High School (California)

James Monroe High School (JMHS) is a high school in the North Hills area of Los Angeles, California, belonging to the Los Angeles Unified School District. The school is located at 9229 Haskell Avenue, North Hills, CA 91343. It is home to Small Learning Communities (SLCs) and two magnet schools. The school's mascot is the Viking.

James Monroe Iglehart

James Monroe Iglehart (born September 4, 1974) is an American stage actor and singer.

Iglehart is perhaps best known for his Tony Award-winning performance as the Genie in the original Broadway production of Aladdin. Iglehart assumed the role of Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in the Broadway company of Hamilton in April 2017.

James Monroe Law Office

The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library is a historic museum at 908 Charles Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is located on the site of the James Monroe Law Office, used by future United States President James Monroe from 1786 to 1789. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966. It is now owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and operated by the University of Mary Washington. The museum features original objects and memorabilia related to James Monroe, and includes several items relating to other members of his family, including dresses worn by First Lady Elizabeth Monroe.

James Monroe Miller

James Monroe Miller (May 6, 1852 – January 20, 1926) was a U.S. Representative from Kansas.

Born in Three Springs, Pennsylvania, Miller attended the district school and graduated from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1875.

He moved to Skiddy, Kansas, in 1875.

Miller was Superintendent of schools in Council Grove, Kansas, for two terms, and while holding this position studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1879 and commenced practice in Council Grove, Kansas. Miller was elected prosecuting attorney of Morris County, Kansas, in 1880 and again in 1884 and 1886.He served as member of the State house of representatives in 1894 and 1895.

Miller was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-sixth and to the five succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1911). He served as chairman of the Committee on Claims (Fifty-ninth and Sixtieth Congresses), Committee on Elections No. 2 (Sixty-first Congress). He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1910.

Miller resumed the practice of law in Council Grove, Kansas, and died there January 20, 1926. He was interred in Greenwood Cemetery.

List of federal judges appointed by James Monroe

Following is a list of all Article III United States federal judges appointed by President James Monroe during his presidency. In total Monroe appointed 22 Article III federal judges, including 1 Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States and 21 judges to the United States district courts.

Presidency of James Monroe

The presidency of James Monroe began on March 4, 1817, when James Monroe was inaugurated as President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1825. Monroe, the fifth United States president, took office after winning the 1816 presidential election by an overwhelming margin over Federalist Rufus King. This election was the last in which the Federalists fielded a presidential candidate, and Monroe was unopposed in the 1820 presidential election. A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Monroe was succeeded by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams.

Monroe sought to eliminate political parties, and the Federalist Party faded as a national institution during his presidency. The Democratic-Republicans also stopped functioning as a unified political party, and the period during which Monroe served as president is often referred to as the "Era of Good Feelings" due to the lack of partisan conflict. Domestically, Monroe faced the Panic of 1819, the first major recession in the United States since the ratification of the Constitution. He supported many federally-funded infrastructure projects, but vetoed other projects due to constitutional concerns. Monroe supported the Missouri Compromise, which admitted Missouri as a slave state but excluded slavery in the remaining territories north of the parallel 36°30′ north.

In foreign policy, Monroe and Secretary of State Adams acquired East Florida from Spain with the Adams–Onís Treaty, realizing a long-term goal of Monroe and his predecessors. Reached after the First Seminole War, the Adams–Onís Treaty also solidified U.S. control over West Florida, established the western border of the United States, and included the cession of Spain's claims on Oregon Country. The Monroe administration also reached two treaties with Britain, marking a rapprochement between the two countries in the aftermath of the War of 1812. The Rush–Bagot Treaty demilitarized the U.S. border with British North America, while the Treaty of 1818 settled some boundary disputes and provided for the joint settlement of Oregon Country. Monroe was deeply sympathetic to the revolutionary movements in Latin America and opposed European influence in the region. In 1823, Monroe promulgated the Monroe Doctrine, which declared that the U.S. would remain neutral in European affairs, but would not accept new colonization of Latin America by European powers.

In the 1824 presidential election, four members of the Democratic-Republican Party sought to succeed Monroe, who remained neutral among the candidates. Adams emerged as the victor over General Andrew Jackson and Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford in a contingent election. Polls of historians and political scientists have generally ranked Monroe as an above-average president.

Second inauguration of James Monroe

The second inauguration of James Monroe as President of the United States was held on Monday, March 5, 1821, in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol. The inauguration marked the commencement of the second four-year term of James Monroe as President and Daniel D. Tompkins as Vice President. Monroe was sworn in by John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United States.

Because of a snowstorm, the inauguration was held indoors; also, because March 4, 1821, was a Sunday, James Monroe moved the inauguration to the following day after talking with justices of the Supreme Court.

Smith Thompson

Smith Thompson (January 17, 1768 – December 18, 1843) was a United States Secretary of the Navy from 1819 to 1823, and a United States Supreme Court Associate Justice from 1823 until his death in 1843.

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