James Monroe


James Monroe
James Monroe
5th President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
Vice President Daniel Tompkins
Preceded by James Madison
Succeeded by John Quincy Adams
8th United States Secretary of War
In office
September 27, 1814 – March 2, 1815
President James Madison
Preceded by John Armstrong
Succeeded by William Crawford
7th United States Secretary of State
In office
April 2, 1811 – March 4, 1817
President James Madison
Preceded by Robert Smith
Succeeded by John Quincy Adams
12th and 17th Governor of Virginia
In office
December 19, 1799 – December 1, 1802
Preceded by James Wood
Succeeded by John Page
In office
January 16,1811 – April 2, 1811
Preceded by George William Smith
Succeeded by George William Smith
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
April 18, 1803 – February 26, 1808
Nominated by Thomas Jefferson
Preceded by Rufus King
Succeeded by William Pinkney
United States Ambassador to France
In office
May 28, 1794 – September 9, 1796
Nominated by George Washington
Preceded by Gouverneur Morris
Succeeded by Charles Pinckney
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
November 9, 1790 – March 29, 1794
Preceded by John Walker
Succeeded by Stevens Mason
Delegate to the
Congress of the Confederation
from Virginia
In office
November 3, 1783 – November 7, 1786
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Henry Lee
Personal details
Born April 28, 1758(1758-04-28)
Westmoreland County, Virginia Colony
Died July 4, 1831(1831-07-04) (aged 73)
New York City, New York, United States
Political party Democratic-Republican Party
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Kortright
Alma mater College of William and Mary
Profession Lawyer
Planter
Religion Episcopal
Signature Cursive signature in ink
Military service
Service/branch Continental Army
Years of service 1775 - 1780
Rank Major
Battles/wars American Revolutionary War
 • Battle of Trenton

James Monroe (April 28, 1758 – July 4, 1831) was the fifth President of the United States (1817–1825). Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation.[1] His presidency was marked both by an "Era of Good Feelings" – a period of relatively little partisan strife – and later by the Panic of 1819 and a fierce national debate over the admission of the Missouri Territory. Monroe is most noted for his proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, which stated that the United States would not tolerate further European intervention in the Americas.

Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Monroe fought in the American Revolutionary War. He was injured in the Battle of Trenton with a musket ball to his shoulder. After studying law under Thomas Jefferson from 1780 to 1783, he served as a delegate in the Continental Congress. As an anti-federalist delegate to the Virginia convention that considered ratification of the United States Constitution, Monroe opposed ratification, claiming it gave too much power to the central government. Nonetheless, Monroe took an active part in the new government and in 1790 he was elected to the Senate of the first United States Congress, where he joined the Jeffersonians. He gained experience as an executive as the Governor of Virginia and rose to national prominence when as a diplomat in France he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Monroe was of French and Scottish descent.

During the War of 1812, Monroe held the critical roles of Secretary of State and the Secretary of War under President James Madison. [2] Facing little opposition from the fractured Federalist Party, Monroe was easily elected president in 1816, winning over 80 percent of the electoral vote and becoming the last president during the First Party System era of American politics. As president, he sought to ease partisan tensions and embarked on a tour of the country and was well received everywhere.[citation needed] As nationalism surged, partisan fury subsided and the "Era of Good Feelings" ensued until the Panic of 1819 struck and dispute over the admission of Missouri embroiled the country in 1820. Nonetheless, Monroe won near-unanimous reelection. In 1823, he announced the Monroe Doctrine, which became a landmark in American foreign policy. His presidency concluded the first period of American presidential history before the beginning of Jacksonian democracy and the Second Party System era. Following his retirement in 1825, Monroe was plagued by financial difficulties. He died in New York City on July 4, 1831.

Contents

Biography

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

James Monroe was born on April 28, 1758, in a wooded area of Westmoreland County, Virginia. The site is marked and is one mile from what is known today as Monroe Hall, Virginia.

Monroe's father, Spence Monroe (1727–1774) was a moderately prosperous planter who also learned the carpentry trade. His mother, Elizabeth Jones Monroe (1730–1774), married Spence Monroe in 1752. His paternal great-grandfather immigrated to America from Scotland in the mid-17th century. In 1650 Andrew Monroe patented a large tract of land in Washington Parish, Westmoreland County, Virginia.[3]

Education and military service

Monroe studied at Campbelltown Academy, a school run by the Reverend Archibald Campbell of Washington Parish, between the ages of 11 and 16. There he excelled as a prodigious pupil and progressed through Latin and mathematics at a rate faster than that of most boys his age. John Marshall, later Chief Justice of the United States, was among his classmates. At the age of 16, Monroe, the eldest son, inherited all his father's fortune and he became financially responsible for his establishing his siblings.[4]

Monroe began forming a close relationship with his uncle, the influential Judge Joseph Jones, who had been educated at the Inns of Court in London. In 1774 Monroe enrolled in the College of William and Mary, but saw the atmosphere on the campus was not conducive to study, and the prospect of rebellion against King George charged most of the students, including Monroe, with patriotic fervor. In June 1775, after the battles of Lexington and Concord, Monroe joined 24 older men in raiding the arsenal at the Governor's Palace. The 200 muskets and 300 swords they appropriated helped arm the Williamsburg militia. The following spring, Monroe dropped out of college and joined the 3rd Virginia Regiment in the Continental Army.[5]

Between 1780 and 1783, he studied law under Thomas Jefferson.[6][7] Monroe was not particularly interested in legal theory or practice, but chose to take it up because he felt that it offered "the most immediate rewards" and that it would place him on a path to wealth, social standing, and political influence.[7]

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 hero, since he served as an officer of the Continental Army and personally took part in the combats.[8] He served with distinction at the Battle of Trenton, where he was shot in his left shoulder. He spent three months recuperating from his wound. In John Trumbull's painting Capture of the Hessians at the Battle of Trenton, Monroe can be seen lying wounded at left center of painting. In an even more famous painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware, Monroe is depicted holding the flag. Following his war service, he practiced law in Fredericksburg, Virginia.[9][10]

Marriage and children

James Monroe married Elizabeth Kortright (1768–1830), daughter of Laurence Kortright and Hannah Aspinwall Kortright, on February 16, 1786, in New York City. After a brief honeymoon on Long Island, the Monroes returned to New York to live with her father until Congress adjourned. The Monroes had the following children:

  • Eliza Monroe Hay (1786–1835) – married George Hay in 1808 and substituted as official White House host for her ailing mother.
  • James Spence Monroe (1799–1801)
  • Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur (1803–1850) – married her cousin Samuel L. Gouverneur on March 8, 1820, in the first wedding of a president's child in the White House.[11][12]

Monroe fulfilled his youthful dream of becoming the owner of a large plantation and wielding great political power, but his efforts in agriculture were never profitable. He sold his small inherited Virginia plantation in 1783 to enter law and politics, and though he owned land and slaves and speculated in property he was rarely on-site to oversee the operation. Therefore the slaves were treated harshly to make them more productive and the plantations barely supported themselves if at all. His lavish lifestyle often necessitated selling property to pay debts.[13]

Early political career

Virginia politics

Monroe was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1782. After serving for the Continental legislature he was elected to the Fourth Continental Congress in November of 1783. He was also elected to and served in the Fifth and Sixth Congresses, serving for a total of three years where he finally retired from that office by the rule of rotation. [14]

In Virginia the struggle in 1788 over the ratification of the proposed new Constitution involved far 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. George Washington and James Madison were leading supporters; Patrick Henry and George Mason were leading opponents. The central actors in the ratification fight were those who held the middle ground in the ideological struggle. 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. Virginia ratified the Constitution in June 1788, largely because these men suspended their reservations and vowed to press for changes after the new government had been established.[15]

Virginia narrowly ratified the Constitution and Monroe ran for a House seat in the 1st Congress but was defeated by Madison. In 1790 he was elected United States Senator. He soon joined the "Democratic-Republican" faction led by Jefferson and Madison and by 1791 was the party leader in the Senate.[16]

Ambassador to France

Monroe resigned his Senate seat after being appointed Minister to France in 1794.[17] As ambassador, Monroe secured the release of Thomas Paine when he was arrested for his opposition to the execution of Louis XVI on the condition that he be sent to America. [18]

He managed to free all the Americans held in French prisons, including Madame Lafayette. He issued American passports for the Lafayette family, (since they had been granted citizenship), before she traveled to Lafayette's place of imprisonment, in Olmutz.[19]

A strong friend of the French Revolution, Monroe tried to assure France that Washington's policy of strict neutrality did not favor Britain. But American policy had come to favor Britain, and Monroe was stunned by the signing of the Jay Treaty in London. With France and Britain at war, the Jay Treaty alarmed and angered the French. Washington discharged Monroe from his office as Minister to France due to inefficiency, disruptive maneuvers, and failure to safeguard the interests of his country.[20]

Monroe had long been concerned about untoward foreign influence on the presidency. He was alarmed at Spanish diplomat Don Diego de Gardoqui who in 1785 tried to convince Congress to allow Spain to close the Mississippi River to American traffic for 30 years. Here Monroe saw Spain over-influencing the republic, which could have risked the loss of the Southwest or dominance of the Northeast.[21] Monroe placed faith in a strong presidency and the system of checks and balances. In the 1790s he fretted over an aging George Washington being too heavily influenced by close advisers like Alexander Hamilton who was too close to Britain. Monroe favored France and so opposed the Jay Treaty in 1795. He was humiliated when Washington criticized him for his support of revolutionary France while he was minister to France.[22] He saw foreign and Federalist elements in the genesis of the Quasi War of 1798–1800 and in efforts to keep Thomas Jefferson away from the presidency in 1801. As governor he considered using the Virginia militia to force the outcome in favor of Jefferson.[23] Federalists responded in kind, some seeing Monroe as at best a French dupe and at worst a traitor.[24]

Governor of Virginia and Diplomat

Out of office, Monroe returned to practicing law in Virginia until elected governor there as a Republican, his first term serving from 1799 to 1802. He was reelected Virginia's governor four times. [25] He called out the state militia to suppress Gabriel's Rebellion. Gabriel and 26 other enslaved people who participated were all hanged for treason.

President Jefferson sent Monroe to France to assist Robert R. Livingston to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. Monroe was then appointed Minister to the Court of St. James (Britain) from 1803 to 1807. In 1806 he negotiated a treaty with Britain, known as the Monroe–Pinkney Treaty. It would extend 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 hostile. When Monroe and the British signed a renewal in December 1806, Jefferson decided to reject it, and not submit it to the Senate. Although the new treaty called for ten more years of trade between the U.S. and the British Empire, and gave American merchants certain guarantees that would have been good for business, Jefferson refused to give up the potential weapon of commercial warfare against Britain and was unhappy that it did not end the hated British practice of impressment of American sailors. Jefferson did not attempt to obtain another treaty, and as a result, the two nations moved from peace toward the War of 1812.[26]

1808 election and the Quids

The Republican Party was increasingly factionalized with "Old Republicans" or "Quids" denouncing the Administration for abandoning true republican principles. The Quids, seeing that Monroe's foreign policy had been rejected by Jefferson, 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 James Madison. However, the regular Republicans overcame the Quids, kept control of the party in Virginia, and protected Madison's base. Monroe did not run and Madison was elected president.[27]

Secretary of State and Secretary of War

Monroe returned to the Virginia House of Delegates and was elected to another term as governor in 1811, but only served four months. He became Secretary of State in April of that year. He had little to do with the War of 1812, as President Madison and the War Hawks in Congress were dominant. The war went very badly, and when the British burned the capitol building on August 24, 1814, Madison removed John Armstrong as Secretary of War and turned to Monroe for help, appointing him Secretary of War on September 27th. [28] Monroe resigned as Secretary of State on October 1, but no successor was ever appointed, so he continued doing the work. Thus from October 1, 1814, to February 28, 1815, Monroe effectively held both cabinet posts. Monroe formulated plans for an offensive invasion of Canada to win the war, but a peace treaty was ratified in February 1815, before any armies moved north. Monroe therefore resigned as Secretary of War on March 15, 1815 and was formally reappointed Secretary of State. Monroe stayed on at State until March 4, 1817, when he began his term as the new President of the United States. [2]

Presidential elections of 1816 and 1820

The congressional nominating caucus experienced little opposition during the administrations of Jefferson and Madison, but this situation changed in the election year of 1816. An indeterminate number of anti-Virginia Republicans, led by the New York delegation, objected to the caucus system along with the Federalists. Disorganization and failure to agree on William H. Crawford, Daniel Tompkins, Henry Clay or another possible contender weakened opposition to Monroe. The boycott by Virginia delegates of the March 12 caucus removed the chances of Monroe's opponents, and he received the caucus nomination four days later. [29] With the Federalist Party in disarray due to the unpopularity of their opposition to the War of 1812, he was easily elected. [30] The Federalists did not even name a candidate, though Rufus King of New York did run in opposition to Monroe under the Federalist banner.[30] King carried only Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts and won only 34 of 217 electoral votes cast.[30] (See United States presidential election, 1816.)

The collapse of the Federalists left Monroe with no organized opposition at the end of his first term, and he ran for reelection unopposed,[30] the only president other than Washington to do so. A single elector from New Hampshire cast a vote for John Quincy Adams, preventing a unanimous vote in the electoral college.[30] (See United States presidential election, 1820.)

Presidency

Monroe as he appears in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Domestic politics

Republican party dominance

Monroe largely ignored old party lines in making appointments to lower posts, which reduced political tensions and enabled the "Era of Good Feelings", which lasted through his administration. He made two long national tours in 1817 to build national trust. Frequent stops on these tours allowed innumerable ceremonies of welcome and expressions of good will. The Federalist Party continued to fade away during his administration; it maintained its vitality and organizational integrity in Delaware and a few localities, but was no longer a national factor. Lacking serious opposition, the Republican party's Congressional caucus stopped meeting, and for practical purposes the Republican Party stopped operating.[31]

Domestic troubles

Monroe's popularity was undiminished even when following difficult nationalist policies as the country's commitment to nationalism was starting to show serious fractures. The Panic of 1819 caused a painful economic depression. The application for statehood in 1819 by the Missouri Territory as a slave state failed. An amended bill for gradually eliminating slavery in Missouri precipitated two years of bitter debate in Congress. The Missouri Compromise bill resolved the struggle, pairing Missouri as a slave state with Maine, a free state, and barring slavery north of latitude 36/30' N forever. The Missouri Compromise lasted until 1857, when it was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the Dred Scott decision.

Cumberland Road

Congress demanded high subsidies for internal improvements, such as for the improvement of the Cumberland Road, during Monroe's presidency.[32] Monroe vetoed the Cumberland Road Bill, which provided for yearly improvements to the road, because he believed it to be unconstitutional for the government to have such a large hand in what was essentially a civics bill deserving of attention on a state by state basis. This defiance underlined Monroe's populist ideals and added credit to the local offices that he was so fond of visiting on his speech tours.[33]

Native American Policies

Monroe sparked a constitutional controversy when, in 1817, he sent General Andrew Jackson to move against Spanish Florida to pursue hostile Seminole Indians and punish the Spanish for aiding them. News of Jackson's exploits ignited a congressional investigation of the 1st Seminole War. Dominated by Democratic-Republicans, the 15th Congress was generally expansionist and more likely to support the popular Jackson. Ulterior political agendas of many congressmen dismantled partisan and sectional coalitions, so that Jackson's opponents argued weakly and became easily discredited. After much debate, the House of Representatives voted down all resolutions that condemned Jackson in any way, thus implicitly endorsing Monroe's actions and leaving the issue surrounding the role of the executive with respect to war powers unanswered.[34]

Monroe believed that the Indians must progress from the hunting stage to become an agricultural people, noting in 1817, "A hunter or savage state requires a greater extent of territory to sustain it than is compatible with progress and just claims of civilised life."[35] His proposals to speed up the assimilation process were ignored by Congress.[36]

Foreign policy

Spanish Florida

Relations with Spain over the purchase of Spanish Florida proved to be troublesome, especially after General Andrew Jackson invaded that territory on what he believed to be the president's authorization, which Monroe later denied giving. But largely through the skillful work of John Quincy Adams, a treaty was signed with Spain in 1819 that ceded Florida to the United States in return for the assumption of $5,000,000 in claims and the relinquishment of any claims to Texas.[37] Florida was ceded to the U.S. in 1821.

Monroe Doctrine

After the Napoleonic wars (which ended in 1815), almost all of Spain's and Portugal's colonies in Latin America revolted and declared independence. Americans welcomed this development as a validation of the spirit of Republicanism. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams suggested delaying formal recognition until Florida was secured. The problem of imperial invasion was intensified by a Russian claim to the Pacific coast down to the fifty-first parallel and simultaneous European pressure to have all of Latin America returned to its colonial status.

Monroe informed Congress in March 1822, that permanent stable governments had been established in the United Provinces of La Plata (present-day Argentina), Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. Adams, under Monroe's supervision, wrote the instructions for the ministers (ambassadors) 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. The articulation of an "American system" distinct from that of Europe was a basic tenet of Monroe's policy toward Latin America. 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".

Monroe formally announced in his message to Congress on December 2, 1823, what was later called the Monroe Doctrine. He proclaimed that the Americas should be free from future European colonization and free from European interference in sovereign countries' affairs. It further stated the United States' intention to stay neutral in European wars and wars between European powers and their colonies, but to consider new colonies or interference with independent countries in the Americas as hostile acts toward the United States.

Although it is Monroe's most famous contribution to history, the speech was written by Adams, who designed the doctrine in cooperation with Britain.[38] Monroe and Adams realized that American recognition would not protect the new countries against military intervention to restore Spain's power. In October 1823, Richard Rush, the American minister in London, advised that Foreign Secretary George Canning was proposing that the U.S. and Britain jointly declare their opposition to European intervention. Britain, with its powerful navy, also opposed re-conquest of Latin America and suggested that the United States join in proclaiming a "hands off" policy. Galvanized by the British initiative, Monroe consulted with American leaders and then formulated a plan with Adams. Ex-Presidents Jefferson and Madison counseled Monroe to accept the offer, but Adams advised, "It would be more candid ... to avow our principles explicitly to Russia and France, than to come in as a cock-boat in the wake of the British man-of-war." Monroe accepted Adams' advice. Not only must Latin America be left alone, he warned, but also Russia must not encroach southward on the Pacific coast. "...the American continents," he stated, "by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European Power."

The Monroe Doctrine at the time of its adoption thus pertained more to the Russians in North America than to the former Spanish colonies. The result was a system of American isolationism under the sponsorship of the British navy. The Monroe Doctrine held that the United States considered the Western Hemisphere as no longer a place for European colonization; that any future effort to gain further political control in the hemisphere or to violate the independence of existing states would be treated as an act of hostility; and finally that there existed two different and incompatible political systems in the world. The United States, therefore, promised to refrain from intervention in European affairs and demanded Europe to abstain from interfering with American matters. There were few serious European attempts at intervention.[38]

Administration and Cabinet

Monroe made balanced Cabinet choices, naming a southerner, John C. Calhoun, as Secretary of War, and a northerner, John Quincy Adams, as Secretary of State. Both proved outstanding, as Adams was a master diplomat[39] and Calhoun completely reorganized the War Department to overcome the serious deficiencies that hobbled it during the war of 1812.[40] Monroe decided on political grounds not to offer Henry Clay the State Department, and Clay turned down the War Department and remained Speaker of the House, so Monroe lacked an outstanding westerner in his cabinet.

The Monroe Cabinet
Office Name Term
President James Monroe 1817–1825
Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins 1817–1825
Secretary of State John Quincy Adams 1817–1825
Secretary of Treasury William H. Crawford 1817–1825
Secretary of War John C. Calhoun 1817–1825
Attorney General Richard Rush 1817
William Wirt 1817–1825
Secretary of the Navy Benjamin W. Crowninshield 1817–1818
Smith Thompson 1819–1823
Samuel L. Southard 1823–1825


Judicial appointments

Monroe appointed one Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States, Smith Thompson. He appointed 21 other federal judges, all to United States district courts, as no vacancies occurred on the one circuit court existing at the time.

States admitted to the Union

Post-presidency

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 on the grounds of the University of Virginia. This university's modern campus was Monroe's family farm from 1788 to 1817, but he had sold it in the first year of his presidency to the new college. He served on the college's Board of Visitors under Jefferson and then under the second rector and another former President James Madison, almost until his death.

Monroe had racked up many debts during his years of public life. As a result, he was forced to sell off his Highland Plantation (now called Ash Lawn-Highland; it is owned by his alma mater, the College of William and Mary, which has opened it to the public). Throughout his life, he was not financially solvent, and his wife's poor health made matters worse.[41]

For these reasons, he and his wife lived in Oak Hill, Virginia, until Elizabeth's death on September 23, 1830. In August 1825, the Marquis de Lafayette and President John Quincy Adams, were guests of the Monroes there.[42]

Death

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 in the White House. John Quincy Adams visited him there in April 1831.[43] Adams found him alert and eager to discuss the situation in Europe, but in ill health. Adams cut the visit short when he thought he was tiring Monroe.

Monroe died there from heart failure and tuberculosis on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third president in a row to die on Independence Day, July 4. His death came 55 years after the U.S. Declaration of Independence was proclaimed and 5 years after the death of two other Founding Fathers who became Presidents: 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 the body was re-interred to the President's Circle at the 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," 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.[44]

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 frequently attended Episcopalian churches, though there is no record he ever took communion. He has been classified by some historians as a Deist because he used deistic language to refer to an impersonal God.[45] Unlike Jefferson, Monroe was rarely attacked as an atheist and infidel for his deistic views. An exception came in 1832 when James Renwick Willson, a Reformed Presbyterian minister in Albany, New York, criticized Monroe for having "lived and died like a second-rate Athenian philosopher."[46]

As Secretary of State, Monroe dismissed Mordecai Manuel Noah from his post as consul to Tunis in 1815, for the apparent reason that he was Jewish.[47] Noah protested and gained letters from Adams, Jefferson, and Madison supporting church-state separation and tolerance for Jews.[48]

Slavery

On October 15, 1799, some slave traders attempted to transport a group of slaves from Southampton to Georgia when the slaves revolted and killed the slave traders.[49] According to Scheer's article on the subject, the slave patrol responded and killed ten slaves on the spot in extra judicial killings without the benefit of trial. The five men taken alive were tried in an oyer and terminer court[clarification needed] without the benefit of a jury, and four were convicted (the fifth pleaded benefit of clergy and was flogged and branded). Governor Monroe postponed their executions to check their identities, granting a pardon to one, and allowing two to hang, while the other died in jail from exposure to the cold. Scheer's argument is that Monroe "help[ed] secure a modicum of civil protection for slaves sentenced to death for capital crimes."[50]

When Monroe was Governor of Virginia in 1800, hundreds of slaves from Virginia intended to kidnap Governor Monroe, take Richmond, and negotiate for their freedom. Due to a storm on August 30, they were unable to attack. This is known as Gabriel's slave conspiracy[51]

Monroe called out the militia, and slave patrols captured some slaves. Sidbury says some trials had a few measures to prevent abuses like an appointed attorney, but were "hardly 'fair'". Slave codes prevented slaves from being treated like whites, and had quick trials without a jury.[52] Monroe influenced the Executive Council to pardon and sell some slaves instead of hanging them.[53] Nonetheless, historians say the Virginia courts executed between 26 and 35 slaves.[49]

Monroe owned dozens of slaves, and according to William Seale, took some of his slaves to serve him when he resided at the White House from 1817 to 1825; this was not unique, as other slave owning presidents also had the custom of bringing their slaves to work for them since there was no domestic staff provided for the presidents at that time.[54]

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 extreme chagrin of states' rights proponents, he was even willing to accept the federal government's financial assistance in emancipating and deporting the slaves. 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."[55]

Monroe was part of the African Colonization Society formed in 1816, which included members like Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson. These men were not abolitionists, but they did find common ground with some abolitionists who supported colonization, and together they helped send several thousand freed slaves to Africa from 1820 to 1840. The concern slave owners like Monroe and Jackson had was to prevent free blacks from influencing slaves to rebel in southern states. With about $100,000 in Federal grant money, the organization also bought land for those people in what is today Liberia.[56] The capital of Liberia was named Monrovia after him.[57]

Famous quotations

During his years of service in the U.S. Government James Monroe was noted for a number of famous quotes. Some of the more notable ones are listed below:

  • "It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin." [58]
  • "Peace and good will have been, and will hereafter be, cultivated with all, and by the most faithful regard to justice. They have been dictated by a love of peace, of economy, and an earnest desire to save the lives of our fellow-citizens from that destruction and our country from that devastation which are inseparable from war when it finds us unprepared for it."[59]
  • "The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil."[60]
  • "Never did a government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete. If we look to the history of other nations, ancient or modern, we find no example of a growth so rapid, so gigantic, of a people so prosperous and happy." [59]
  • "Such, then, being the highly favored condition of our country, it is in the interest of every citizen to maintain it. What are the dangers which menace us? If any exist, they ought to be ascertained and guarded against." [59]
  • "The earth was given to mankind to support the greatest number of which it is capable, and no tribe or people have a right to withhold from the wants of others more than is necessary for their own support and comfort." [59]
  • "We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it, perhaps, our liberties. A people who fail to do it can scarcely be said to hold a place among independent nations. National honor is national property of the highest value. The sentiment in the mind of every citizen is national strength. It ought therefore to be cherished."

Legacy

Presidential Dollar of James Monroe  
First Monroe Postage stamp, Issue of 1904  
Statue of Monroe at Ash Lawn-Highland  
Monroe Hall at the University of Virginia; Monroe once owned the land on which the university sits.  

Trivia

  • Monroe was the last U.S. President to wear a powdered wig tied in a queue, a tricorne and knee breeches according to the old fashioned style of the eighteenth century.[61][62]
  • Monroe served two full terms, succeeding James Madison who served two full terms, who succeeded Thomas Jefferson who served two full terms. He would be the last two-term President to succeed another two-term President until George W. Bush succeeded Bill Clinton nearly 200 years later. Moreover, Bush and Clinton belonged to rival political parties, whereas Jefferson, Madison and Monroe were in the same party, and Madison and Monroe had each served in their predecessors' cabinets, making Monroe the last two-term president to succeed a member of the same party.
  • Monroe was the last president who had never been photographed and whose portraits are preserved today only on paintings.[63]

See also

Bibliography

  • Ammon, Harry. James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity. (1971, 2nd ed. 1990). 706 pp. standard scholarly biography excerpt and text search
  • Ammon, Harry. "James Monroe" in Henry F. Graff ed., The Presidents: A Reference History (1997)
  • Bemis, Samuel Flagg. John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy (1949), the standard history of Monroe's foreign policy.
  • Cunningham, Noble E., Jr. The Presidency of James Monroe. 1996. 246 pp. standard scholarly survey
  • Dangerfield, George. Era of Good Feelings (1953) excerpt and text search
  • Dangerfield, George. The Awakening of American Nationalism: 1815–1828 (1965) standard scholarly survey excerpt and text search
  • Elkins, Stanley M. and Eric McKitrick. The Age of Federalism (1995). most advanced analysis of the politics of the 1790s. online edition
  • Heidler, David S. "The Politics of National Aggression: Congress and the First Seminole War," Journal of the Early Republic 1993 13(4): 501–530. in JSTOR
  • Finkelman, Paul, ed. Encyclopedia of the New American Nation, 1754–1829 (2005), 1600 pp.
  • Gilman, Daniel Coit. James Monroe (1911) 312 pages; old barely adequate biography. online edition
  • Hart, Gary. James Monroe (2005) superficial, short, popular biography
  • Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (2007), Pulitzer Prize; a sweeping interpretation of the entire era
  • Holmes, David L. The Faiths of the Founding Fathers, May 2006, online version
  • Kranish, Michael. "At Capitol, slavery's story turns full circle", The Boston GLobe, Boston, December 28, 2008.
  • May, Ernest R. The Making of the Monroe Doctrine (1975), argues it was issued to influence the outcome of the presidential election of 1824.
  • Morgan, George. The Life of James Monroe (1921) 484 pages; old and barely adequate biography. online edition
  • Perkins, Bradford. Castlereagh and Adams: England and the United States, 1812–1823 (1964)
  • Perkins, Dexter. The Monroe Doctrine, 1823–1826 (1927), the standard monograph about the origins of the doctrine.
  • Powell, Walter & Steinberg, Richard. The nonprofit sector: a research handbook, Yale, 2006, pg 40.
  • 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
  • Skeen, Carl Edward. 1816: America Rising (1993) popular history
  • 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.. "The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness" (2009), a new biography.
  • White, Leonard D. The Jeffersonians: A Study in Administrative History, 1801–1829 (1951), explains the operation and organization of federal administration
  • Whitaker, Arthur P. The United States and the Independence of Latin America (1941)
  • Wilmerding, Jr., Lucius, James Monroe: Public Claimant (1960) A study regarding Monroe's attempts to get reimbursement for personal expenses and losses from his years in public service after his Presidency ended.
  • Wood, Gordon S. Empire of Liberty: A history of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)

References

  • Monroe, James. The Political Writings of James Monroe. ed. by James P. Lucier, (2002). 863 pp.
  • Writings of James Monroe, edited by Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed., 7 vols. (1898–1903) online edition at books.google.com

Notes

  1. ^ Harlow Unger, James Monroe: The Last Founding Father (2009).
  2. ^ a b Hart, Gary, 'James Monroe' (2005), p.68
  3. ^ Harry Ammon, James Monroe: the quest for national identity (1990) p. 577
  4. ^ Ammon, James Monroe p 3
  5. ^ Ammon, James Monroe pp 3-8
  6. ^ Holmes, David R. (2006). The faiths of the founding fathers. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. p. 104. ISBN 0-19-530092-0. 
  7. ^ a b Pessen, Edward (1984). The Log Cabin Myth: The Social Backgrounds of the Presidents. Yale University Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-300-03166-1. 
  8. ^ http://www.vernonkids.com/cedarmountain/4thgradelinks/President%20Trivia/Presidential%20Trivia.htm
  9. ^ "James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library | James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library Home Page". Umw.edu. http://www.umw.edu/jamesmonroemuseum/default.php. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Homes Of Virginia – Jame's Monroe's Law Office". Oldandsold.com. http://www.oldandsold.com/articles11/virginia-homes-13.shtml. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  11. ^ "How many wedding ceremonies have been held at the White House?". While House History web site. The White House Historical Association. http://www.whitehousehistory.org/whha_history/history_faqs-06.html. Retrieved March 13, 2011. 
  12. ^ Doug Wead (2008). "Murder at the Wedding Maria Hester Monroe". http://www.whitehouseweddings.com/murder.htm. Retrieved March 13, 2011.  Excerpt from All The President's Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families. Simon and Schuster. 2004. ISBN 978-074344633-4. 
  13. ^ Gerard W. Gawalt, "James Monroe, Presidential Planter," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1993 101(2): 251–272
  14. ^ Morgan, George, The life of James Monroe, (1921) p.94
  15. ^ Jon Kukla, "A Spectrum of Sentiments: Virginia's Federalists, Antifederalists, and 'Federalists Who Are for Amendments,' 1787–1788," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1988 96(3): 276–296.
  16. ^ Harry Ammon, James Monroe (1971) p. 89
  17. ^ "MONROE, James – Biographical Information". United States Congress. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000858. Retrieved July 24, 2009. 
  18. ^ Morgan, George (1921), 'The life of James Monroe', p.75
  19. ^ Ammon, James Monroe pp 137–8
  20. ^ Herbert E. Klingelhofer, "George Washington Discharges Monroe for Incompetence," Manuscripts 1965 17(1): 26–34
  21. ^ Ammon, James Monroe pp 55–56
  22. ^ Ammon, James Monroe p. 151
  23. ^ Ammon, James Monroe p. 193
  24. ^ Arthur Scherr, "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
  25. ^ Morgan, George, 'The life of James Monroe', p.xvi
  26. ^ Alan Axelrod, Profiles in Folly: History's Worst Decisions and Why They Went Wrong (2008) p. 154
  27. ^ David A. Carson, "Quiddism and the Reluctant Candidacy of James Monroe in the Election of 1808," Mid-America 1988 70(2): 79–89
  28. ^ Hart, Gary, 'James Monroe' (2005), p.52
  29. ^ William G. Morgan, "The Congressional Nominating Caucus of 1816: the Struggle Against the Virginia Dynasty," Virginia Magazine of History & Biography 1972 80(4): 461–475
  30. ^ a b c d e "America President: James Monroe: Campaigns and Elections". Miller Center of Public Affairs. http://millercenter.org/academic/americanpresident/monroe/essays/biography/3. Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  31. ^ Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Jr., ed. History of U.S. political parties: Volume 1 (1973) pp. 24–25, 267
  32. ^ "The administration of James Monroe." Bancroft, Hubert H., ed. (1902). "The Great Republic by the Master Historians". http://www.publicbookshelf.com/public_html/The_Great_Republic_By_the_Master_Historians_Vol_III/jamesmonr_bd.html. 
  33. ^ "Cumberland Road". Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States by the Best American and European Writers. 1899. http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/Lalor/llCy338.html. 
  34. ^ David S. Heidler, "The Politics of National Aggression: Congress and the First Seminole War." Journal of the Early Republic 1993 13(4): 501–530.
  35. ^ Francis Paul Prucha, The great father: the United States government and the American Indians (1986) p. 65
  36. ^ Ammon, James Monroe, pp 536–40
  37. ^ Ammon, James Monroe, pp 409–48
  38. ^ a b Ammon, James Monroe, pp 476–92
  39. ^ Samuel Flagg Bemis, John Quincy Adams and the foundations of American foreign policy, (1944) pp 244–61
  40. ^ Charles Maurice Wiltse, John C. Calhoun: Nationalist, 1782–1828 (1944) pp 142–53
  41. ^ "Ashlawn website". Ashlawnhighland.org. http://www.ashlawnhighland.org. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  42. ^ Auguste Levasseur. Alan R. Hoffman. ed. Lafayette in America. p. 549. 
  43. ^ Jon Meacham. American Lion. p. 181. 
  44. ^ Bliss Isely, The Presidents: Men of Faith (2006) p 99-107, quote on p 105
  45. ^ Holmes, David L. (Autumn 2003). "The Religion of James Monroe". Virginia Quarterly Review 79 (4): 589–606. http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2003/autumn/holmes-religion-james-monroe/. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  46. ^ "Prince Messiah's Claims to Dominion Over All Governments". Covenanter.org. http://www.covenanter.org/JRWillson/princemessiah.htm. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  47. ^ Bassett, Charles Walker; Maisel, Louis Sandy; Forman, Ira N.; Altschiller, Donald (2001). Jews in American politics. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 30. ISBN 0-7425-0181-7. 
  48. ^ Richard H. Popkin, "Thomas Jefferson's Letter to Mordecai Noah," American Book Collector 1987 8(6): 9–11
  49. ^ a b Aptheker, Herbert (1993). American Negro Slave Revolts (6th ed.). New York: International Publishers. pp. 219–225. ISBN 978-0717806058. http://books.google.com/books?id=PkCwK3Uv71IC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA219#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  50. ^ Scheer, Arthur. "Governor James Monroe and Southampton Slave Resistance of 1799", The Historian, Vol. 61, 1999, available on Questia
  51. ^ Rodriguez, Junius. "Slavery in the United States: a social, political, and historical encyclopedia", , Santa Barbara, 2007, pg 428.
  52. ^ Sidbury, James. "Ploughshares into swords: race, rebellion, and identity in Gabriel's Virginia, 1730–1810. ", Cambridge, 1997, pg 127–128.
  53. ^ Morris, Thomas. " Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619–1860 ", 1996, pg 272.
  54. ^ Kranish, Michael. "At Capitol, slavery's story turns full circle", The Boston GLobe, Boston, December 28, 2008.
  55. ^ Ammon, 1990, pp 563–66
  56. ^ Powell & Steinberg . "The nonprofit sector: a research handbook", Yale, 2006, pg 40.
  57. ^ Ammon, 1990, pp 522–23
  58. ^ Ammon, Harry, 'James Monroe, the quest for national identity', (1990), p.177
  59. ^ a b c d Great Presidential Quotes
  60. ^ "James Monroe Quotes". Brainyquote.com. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/james_monroe.html. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  61. ^ Digital History, Steven Mintz. "Digital History". Digitalhistory.uh.edu. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=567. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  62. ^ Real Life at the White House: 200 ... – Google Knihy. Books.google.cz. May 3, 2002. ISBN 9780415939515. http://books.google.com/?id=p1unoHtahSsC&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=James+Monroe++in+wig&q=James%20Monroe%20%20in%20wig. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  63. ^ http://www.ipl.org/div/potus/jqadams.html

External links



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