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James Monroe
15th President of the United States
5th under the US Constitution



JAMES MONROE was born on April 28, 1758 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was one of five children of Spence Monroe and Elizabeth Jones who were both natives of Virginia. The Monroe’s lived on a small farm and young James walked several miles each day to attend the school of Parson Campbell, who taught him the stern moral code that he followed throughout his life.

When he was 16, Monroe entered the College of William and Mary. During his first year there, his father died and the cost of his education and his guardianship was taken over by his uncle, Judge Joseph Jones, who became his trusted advisor. The year was 1774 and the colonies were moving ever closer to war with Great Britain. Young Monroe was finding it difficult to concentrate on his studies and in 1775, he left college to go to war. He became a lieutenant and during the Battle of Trenton, his captain was wounded and the command was given to him. However, he too was wounded at that battle and while recovering he was named aide-de-camp to Major General Lord Stirling. He fought with George Washington at Valley Forge and in 1779, and now a major, Monroe was commissioned to lead a militia of Virginia regiment as a lieutenant colonel. However, his unit was never formed and his military career was at its end. He became an aide to Thomas Jefferson, who was the Governor of Virginia at this time. He also became Jefferson’s student in the study of law and with Jefferson’s guidance, he began to see what course his life would take.

In 1782, at the age of 24, Monroe was elected to the Virginia State Legislature. He was the youngest member of the Executive Council and in 1783, was elected to the United States Congress that was meeting in New York City. He served in Congress for three years and during this time he became interested in the settlement of the “western” lands between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River. He was chairman of two important expansion committees – one dealing with travel on the Mississippi River and the other involving the government of the western lands.

Congress was meeting at that time in New York City, and while there Monroe met Elizabeth Kortright, whom he married on February 16, 1786. The couple had three children: Eliza Kortright Monroe (1786-1835), James Spence Monroe (1799-1800), and Maria Hester Monroe (1803-1850).

In October, 1786, Monroe resigned from Congress and settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia with his new bride. He was elected to the town council and once again to the Virginia Legislature. He was a delegate to the Virginia convention to ratify the new Constitution and was strongly opposed, feeling that it was a threat to fee navigation of the Mississippi. He voted against the constitution, but once it was ratified he accepted the new government without any misgivings.

In 1789, the Monroe’s moved to Albemarle County, Virginia. Their estate, Ash Lawn, was very near Jefferson’s estate, Monticello. In 1790, he was elected to a recently vacated seat in the United States Senate and was named to a full six-year term the following year. In the spring of 1794, Monroe accepted the diplomatic position of Minister Plenipotentiary to France. His assignment was to help maintain friendly relations with France despite efforts to remain on peaceful terms with France’s enemy, Great Britain. Monroe was recalled in September 1796 and felt he had been betrayed by his opponents who used him to appease France while they made great concessions to Britain in Jay’s Treaty that the United States had signed in 1794. He remained bitter about it for the rest of his life.

Monroe returned home in June 1797 and after two years of retirement from public office, he was elected governor of Virginia, a position that he served from 1799 until 1803. His great friend and mentor, Thomas Jefferson had been elected President in 1800 and in 1803, Monroe was sent back to France to help Robert R. Livingston complete the negotiations for the acquisition of New Orleans and West Florida. The French Emperor, Napoleon I, offered to sell instead the entire Louisiana colony and although the Americans were not authorized to make such a large purchase, they began negotiations. In April 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was concluded, more than doubling the size of the nation. Monroe spent the next two years in useless negotiations with Britain and Spain and returned to the United States in late 1807.

Monroe returned to Virginia politics and once more served in the legislature and was elected Governor for a second time. In 1811, Monroe became President Madison’s Secretary of State and when the War of 1812 was declared, he loyally supported Madison. He served as Secretary of State throughout the war and simultaneously served as Secretary of War for the latter part. He was back in uniform at the time of the British attack on Washington and led the Maryland militia in an unsuccessful attempt to hold off the British at Bladensburg. On December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed ending the war. In 1815, Monroe returned to the normal peacetime duties of Secretary of State.

Monroe was the logical presidential nominee at the end of Madison’s second term, and he won the election easily. On March 4, 1817 James Monroe took his oath of office. Some of the notable events of his term were: Congress fixed 13 as the number of stripes on the flag to honor the original colonies; the boundary between Canada and the United States was fixed at the 49th parallel.; Spain ceded Florida to the United States in exchange for the cancellation of $5 million in Spanish debt; The Missouri Compromise, admitted Missouri as a slave state, but forbade slavery in any states carved from the Louisiana Territory north of 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude. By the end of his first term, Monroe’s administration had been one of high idealism and integrity and his personal popularity was at an all time high. Monroe was virtually unopposed for reelection. He carried every state and received every electoral vote cast with the exception of one, cast by a New Hampshire elector for John Quincy Adams.

With the exception of the Monroe Doctrine, Monroe’s second term as president was relatively uneventful. The two principles of the Doctrine, noncolonization and nonintervention, were not new or original. However, it was Monroe who explicitly proclaimed them as policy and it was a keystone of foreign policy for many years.

Monroe had no thought of seeking a third term as the election of 1824 neared. He was 67 years old when he turned over the presidency to John Quincy Adams. He retired to Oak Hill, Virginia. He was plagued by financial worries and he was forced to sell his estate Ash Lawn to meet his debts. After his wife died, he sold Oak Hill and moved to New York City to live with his youngest daughter, Maria Hester Gouverneur and her husband. Monroe died there on July 4, 1831, the fifty-fifth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

 

Following images Courtesy of: National Archives and Records Administration

 

Message of President James Monroe at the commencement of the first session of the 18th Congress The Monroe Doctrine Unrestricted. (NWL-46-PRESMESS-18AE1-1)

Message of President James Monroe nominating John Quincy Adams to be Secretary of State, William Crawford to be Secretary of the Treasury, and Isaac Shelby to be Secretary of War. (NWL-46-MCCOOK-1(15))






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1876 Appleton's Biography on James Monroe.

MONROE, James, fifth president of the United States, died in Westmoreland county, Virginia, 28 April, 1758" died in New York city, 4 July, 1831. Although the attempts to trace his pedigree have not been successful, it appears certain that the Monroe family came to Virginia as early as 1650, and that they were of Scottish origin. James Monroe's father was Spence Monroe, and his mother was Eliza, sister of Judge Joseph Jones, twice a delegate from Virginia to the Continental congress. The boyhood of the future president was passed in his native county, a neighborhood famous for early manifestations of patriotic fervor. His earliest recollections must have been associated with public remonstrance against the stamp-act (in 1766), and with the reception (in 1769)of a portrait of Lord Chatham, which was sent to the gentlemen of Westmoreland, from London, by one of their correspondents, Edmund Jennings, of Lincoln's Inn. 

To the college of William and Mary, then rich and prosperous, James Monroe was sent but soon after his student life began it was interrupted by the Revolutionary war. Three members of the faculty and twenty-five or thirty students, Monroe among them, entered the military service. He joined the army in 1776 at the headquarters of Washington in New York, as a lieutenant in the 31 Virginia regiment under Colonel Hugh Mercer. He was with the troops at Harlem, at White Plains, and at Trenton, where, in leading the advance guard, he was wounded in the shoulder. 

During 1777-'8 he served as a volunteer aide, with the rank of major, on the staff of the Earl of Stifling, and took part in the battles of the Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. After these services he was commended by Washington for a commission in the state troops of Virginia, but without success, he formed the acquaintance of Governor Jefferson, and was sent by him as a military commissioner to collect information in regard to the condition and prospects of the southern army. He thus attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel but his services in the field were completely interrupted, to his disappointment trod chagrin. His uncle, Judge Jones, at all times a trusted and intimate counselor, then wrote to him; " You do well to cultivate the friendship of Mr. Jefferson . . . and while you continue to deserve his esteem, he will not withdraw his countenance." 

The future proved the sagacity of this advice, for Monroe's intimacy with Jefferson, which was then established, continued through life, and was the key to his early advancement, and perhaps his ultimate success. The civil life of Monroe began on his election in 1782 to a seat in the assembly of Virginia, and his appointment as a member of the executive counsel. He was next a delegate to the 4th, 5th, and 6th congresses of the confederation, where, notwithstanding his youth, he was active and influential. Bancroft says of him that when Jefferson embarked for France, Monroe remained "not the ablest but the most conspicuous representative of Virginia on the floor of congress, lie sought the friendship of nearly every leading statesman of his commonwealth, and every one seemed glad to call him a friend." 

On 1 March, 1784, the Virginia delegates presented to congress a deed that ceded to the United States Virginia's claim to the northwest territory, and soon afterward Jefferson presented his memorable plan for the temporary government of all the western possessions of the United States from the southern boundary (lat. 31. N.) to the Lake of the Woods. From that time until its settlement by the ordinance of 13 July, 1787, this question was of paramount importance. Twice within a few months Monroe crossed the Alleghenies for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the actual condition of the country. One of the fruits of his western observations was a memoir, written in 1786, to prove the rights of the people of the west to the free navigation of the Mississippi. 

Toward the close of 1784 Monroe was selected as one of nine judges to decide the boundary dispute between Massachusetts and New York. He resigned this place in May, 1786, in consequence of an acrimonious controversy in which he became involved. Both the states that were at difference with each other were at variance with Monroe in respect to the right to navigate the Mississippi, and lie thought himself thus debarred from being acceptable as an umpire to either of the contending parties, to whom he owed his appointment.  

In the congress of 1785 Monroe was interested in the regulation of commerce by the confederation, and he certainly desired to secure that result: but he was also jealous of the rights of the southern states, and afraid that their interests would be overbalanced by those of the north. His policy was therefore timid and dilatory. A report upon the subject by the committee, of which he was chairman, was presented to congress, 28 March, 1785, and led to a long discussion, but nothing came of it. The weakness of the confederacy grew more and more obvious, and the country was drifting toward a stronger government. But the measures proposed by Monroe were not entirely abortive. Says John Q. Adams: "They led first to the partial convention of delegates from five states at Annapolis in September, 1786, and then to the general convention at Philadelphia in 1787, which prepared and proposed the constitution of the United States. Whoever contributed to that event is justly entitled to the gratitude of the present age as a public benefactor, and among them the name of Monroe should be conspicuously enrolled." 

According to the principle of rotation then in force, Monroe's congressional service expired in 1786, at the end of a three years' term. He then intended to make his home in Fredericksburg, and to practice law, though he said he should be happy to keep clear of the bar if possible. But it was not long before he was again called into public life. He was chosen at once a delegate to the assembly, and soon afterward became a member of the Virginia convention to consider the ratification of the proposed constitution of the United States, which assembled at Richmond in 1788. In this convention the friends of the new constitution were led by James Madison, John Marshall, and Edmund Randolph

Patrick Henry was their chief opponent, and James Monroe was by his side, in company with William Grayson and George Mason. In one of his speeches, Monroe made an elaborate historical argument, based on the experience of Greece, Germany, Switzerland, and New England, against too firm consolidation, and he predicted conflict between the state and national authorities, and the possibility that a president once elected might be elected for life. In another speech he endeavored to show that the rights of the western territory would be less secure under the new constitution than they were under the confederation. He finally assented to the ratification on condition that certain amendments should be adopted. As late as 1816 he recurred to the fears of a monarchy, which he had entertained in 1788, and endeavored to show that they were not unreasonable. 

Under the new constitution the first choice of Virginia for senators fell upon Richard Henry Lee and William Grayson. Tim latter died soon afterward, and Monroe was selected by the legislature to fill the vacant place. He took his seat in the senate, 6 December, 1790, and held the office until May, 1794, when he was sent as envoy to France. Among the Anti-Federalists he took a prominent stand, and was one of the most determined opponents of the administration of Washington. To Hamilton he was especially hostile. The appointment of Gouverneur Morris to be minister to France, and of John Jay to be minister to England, seemed to him most objectionable. Indeed, he met all the Federalist attempts to organize a strong and efficient government with incredulity or with adverse criticism. It was therefore a great surprise to him, as well as to the public, that, while still a senator, he was designated the successor of Morris as minister to France. 

For this difficult place he was not the first choice of the president, nor the second: but he was known to be favorably disposed toward the French government, and it was thought that he might lead to the establishment of friendly relations with that power, and, besides, there is no room to doubt that Washington desired, as , John Quincy Adams has said, to hold the balance between the parties at home by appointing Jay, the Federalist, to the English mission, and Monroe, the Republican, to the French mission. It was the intent of the United States to avoid a collision with any foreign power, but neutrality was in danger of being considered an offence by either France or England at any moment. 

Monroe arrived in Paris just after the fall of Ropespierre, and in the excitement of the day he did not at once receive recognition from the committee of public safety. He therefore sent a letter to the president of the convention, and arrangements were made for his official reception, 15 August, 1794. At that time he addressed the convention in terms of great cordiality, but his enthusiasm led him beyond his discretion, he transcended the authority that had been given to him, and when his report reached the government at home Randolph sent him a dispatch, " in the frankness of friendship," criticizing severely the course that the plenipotentiary had pursued. A little latex the secretary took a more conciliatory tone and Monroe bellowed he never would have spoken so severely if all the dispatches from Paris had reached the United States in due order. 

The residence of Monroe in France was a period of anxious responsibility, during which he did not succeed in recovering the confidence of the authorities at home. When Pickering succeeded Randolph in the department of state. Monroe was informed that he was superseded by the appointment of Charles C. Pinckney. The letter of recall was dated 22 August. 1796. On his return he published a pamphlet of 500 pages, entitled "A View of the conduct of the Executive" (Philadelphia, 1797) in which he printed his instructions, correspondence with the French and United States governments, speeches, and letters received from American residents in Paris. This publication made a great stir. Washington, who had then retired from public life. appears to have remained quiet under the provocation, but he wrote upon his copy of the "View" animadversions that have since been published. 

Party feeling, already excited, became fiercer when Monroe's book appeared, and personalities that have now lost their force were freely uttered on both sides. Under these circumstances Monroe became the hero of the Anti-Federalists, and was at once elected governor of Virginia. He held the office from 1799 till 1802. The most noteworthy occurrence during his administration was the suppression of a servile insurrection by which the city of Richmond was threatened. Monroe's star continued in the ascendant. After Thomas Jefferson's election to the presidency in 1801, an opportunity occurred for returning Mr. Monroe to the French mission, from which he had been recalled a few years previously. There were many reasons for believing that the United States could secure possession of the territory beyond the Mississippi belonging to France. The American minister in Paris, Robert R Livingston, had already opened the negotiations, and Monroe was sent as an additional plenipotentiary to second, with his enthusiasm and energy, the effort that had been begun. By their joint efforts it came to pass that in the spring of 1803 a treaty was signed by which France gave up to the United States for a pecuniary consideration the vast region then known as Louisiana. Livingston remarked to the plenipotentiaries after the treaty was signed; " We have lived long, but this is the noblest work of our lives." 

The story of the negotiations that terminated in this sale is full of romance. Bonaparte, Talleyrand, and Marbois were the representatives of France.  Jefferson. Livingston, and Monroe guided the interests of the United States. The French were in need of money and the Americans could afford to pay well for the control of the entrance to the Mississippi. England stood ready to seize the coveted prize. The moment was opportune; the negotiators on both sides were eager for the transfer. It did not take long to agree upon the consideration of 80,000,000 francs as the purchase-money, and the assent of Bonaparte was secured. "I have given to England," he said, exultingly, "a maritime rival that will sooner or later humble her pride." 

It is evident that the history of the United States has been largely influenced by this transaction, which virtually extended the national domain from the mouth of the Mississippi river to the mouth of the Columbia. Monroe went from Paris to London, where he was accredited to the court of St. James, and subsequently went to Spain in order to negotiate for the cession of Florida to the United States. But he was not successful in this and returned to London, where, with the aid of William Pinckney, who was sent to re-enforce his efforts, he concluded a treaty with Great Britain after long negotiations frequently interrupted. This treaty failed to meet the expectations of the United States in two important particulars--it made no provisions against the impressments of seamen, and it secured no indemnity for loss that Americans had incurred in the seizure of their goods and vessels. Jefferson was so dissatisfied that he would not send the treaty to the senate. 

Monroe returned home in 1807 and at once drew up an elaborate defense of his political conduct. Matters were evidently drifting toward war between Great Britain and the United States. Again the disappointed and discredited diplomatist received a token of popular approbation. He was for the third time elected to the assembly, and in 1811 was chosen for the second time governor of Virginia. He remained in this office but a short time, for he was soon called by Madison to the office of secretary of state. He held the portfolio during the next six years, from 1811 to 1817. In 1814-'15 he also acted as secretary of war. While he was a member of the cabinet of Madison, hostilities were begun between the United States and England. The public buildings in Washington were burned, and it was only by the most strenuous measures that the progress of the British was interrupted. 

Monroe gained much popularity by the measures that he took for the protection of the capital and for the enthusiasm with which he prosecuted the war measures of the government Monroe had now held almost every important station except that of president to which a politician could aspire. He had served in the legislature of Virginia, in the Continental congress, and in the senate of the United States. He had been a member of the convention that considered the ratification of the constitution, twice he had served as governor, twice he had been sent abroad as a minister, and he had been accredited to three great powers. He had held two places in the cabinet of Madison. With the traditions of those days, which regarded experience in political affairs a qualification for an exalted station, it was most natural that Monroe should become a candidate for the presidency. Eight years previously his fitness for the office had been often discussed. 

Now, in 1816, at the age of fifty-nine years, almost exactly the age at which Jefferson and Madison attained the same position, he was elected president of the United States, receiving 183 votes in the electoral college against 34 that were given for RufusKing, the candidate of the Federalists. He continued in this office until 1825. His second election in 1821 was made with almost complete unanimity, but one electoral vote being given against him. Daniel D. Tompkins was vice-president during both presidential terms. John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun, William H. Crawford, and William Wirt, were members of the cabinet during his entire administration. The principal subjects that engaged the attention of the president were the defenses of the Atlantic seaboard, the promotion of internal improvements, the conduct of the Seminole war, the acquisition of Florida, the Missouri compromise, and the resistance to foreign interference in American affairs, formulated in a declaration that is called the "Monroe doctrine." 

Two social events marked the beginning and the end of his administration: first, his ceremonious visit to the principal cities of the north and south; and second, the national reception of the Marquis de Lafayette who came to this country as the nation's guest The purchase of the Floridas was brought to a successful issue, 22 February, 1819 by a treaty with Spain, concluded at Washington, and thus the control of the entire Atlantic and Gulf seaboard, from the St. Croix to the Sabine, was secured to the United States. Monroe's influence in the controversies that preceded the Missouri compromise does not appear to have been very strong. He showed none of the boldness which Jefferson would have exhibited under similar circumstances. He took more interest in guiding the national policy with respect to internal improvements and the defense of the seaboard. He vetoed the Cumberland road bill, 4 May, 1822, on the ground that congress had no right to execute a system of internal improvement ; but he held that if such powers could be secured by constitutional amendment good results would follow. Even then he held that the general government should undertake only works of national significance, and should leave all minor improvements to the separate states. 

There is no measure with which the name of Monroe is connected so important as his enunciation of "the Monroe doctrine." The words of this famous utterance constitute two paragraphs in the president's message of 2 December, 1823. In the first of these paragraphs he declares that the governments of Russia and Great Britain have been informed that the American continents henceforth are not to be considered subjects for future colonization by any European powers. In the second paragraph he says that the United States would consider any attempt on the part of the European powers to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. He goes further, and says that if the governments established in North and South America who have declared their independence of European control should be interfered with by any European power, this interference would be regarded as the manifestation of unfriendly disposition to the United States. These utterances were addressed especially to Spain and Portugal. They undoubtedly expressed the dominant sentiments of the people of the United States at the time they were uttered, and, moreover, they embodied a doctrine which had been vaguely held in the days of Washington, and from that time to the administration of Monroe had been more and more clearly avowed. 

It has received the approval of successive administrations and of the foremost publicists and statesmen. The peace and prosperity of America have been greatly promoted by the declaration, almost universally assented to, that European states are not to gain new dominion in America. For convenience of reference the two passages of the rues-sage are here quoted: "At the proposal of the Russian imperial government, made through the minister of the emperor residing here, full power and instructions have been transmitted to the minister of the United States at St. Petersburg, to arrange, by amicable negotiation, the respective rights and interests of the two nations on the northwest coast of this continent. A similar proposal had been made by his imperial majesty to the government of Great Britain, which has likewise been acceded to. The government of the United States has been desirous, by this friendly proceeding, of manifesting the great value which they have invariably attached to the friendship of the emperor, and their solicitude to cultivate the best understanding with his government. In the discussions to which this interest has given rise, and in the arrangements by which they may terminate, the occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, 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 .... We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers, to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered, and shall not interfere. But with the governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States."

At the close of Monroe's second term as president he retired to private life, and during the seven years that remained to him resided part of the time at Oak Hill, Loudon County, Virginia, and part of the time in the city of New York. The illustration above represents both the old and the new Oak Hill mansions. He accepted the office of regent in the University of Virginia in 1826 with Jefferson and Madison. He was asked to serve on the electoral ticket of Virginia in 1828, but declined on the ground that an ex-president should not be a party-leader. He consented to act as a local magistrate, however, and to become a member of the Virginia constitutional convention. The administration of Monroe has often been designated as the "era of good feeling." 

Schouler, the historian, has found this heading on an article that appeared in the Boston Centinel of 12 July, 1817. it is, on the whole, a suitable phrase to indicate the state of political affairs that succeeded to the troublesome period of organization and preceded the fearful strains of threatened disruption and of civil war. One idea is consistently represented by Monroe from the beginning to the end of his public life--the idea that America is for Americans, that the territory of the United States is to be protected and enlarged, and that foreign intervention will never be permitted. In his early youth Monroe enlisted for the defense of American independence. He was one of the first to perceive the importance of free navigation upon the Mississippi: he negotiated with France and Spain for the acquisition of Louisiana and Florida; he gave a vigorous impulse to the second war with Great Britain in de-fence of our maritime rights when the rights of a neutral power were endangered; and he enunciated a dictum against foreign interference which has now the force of international law. Judged by the high stations he was called upon to fill, his career was brilliant; but the writings he has left in state papers and correspondence are inferior to those of Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and others of his contemporaries. He is rather to be honored as an upright and patriotic citizen who served his party with fidelity and never condescended to low and unworthy measures. He deserved well of the country, which he served faithfully during his career. After his retirement from the office of president he urged upon the government the judgment of unsettled claims which he presented for outlays made during his prolonged political services abroad and for which he had never received adequate remuneration.

During the advance of old age his time was largely occupied in correspondence, and he undertook to write a philosophical history of the origin of free governments, which was published long after his decease. While attending congress, Monroe married, in 1786, a daughter of Lawrence Kortright, of New York. One of his two daughters, Eliza., married George Hay, of Virginia, and the other, Maria, married Samuel L. Gouverneur of New York. A large number of manuscripts, including drafts of state papers, letters addressed to Monroe, and letters from him, have been preserved. Most of these have been purchased by congress and are preserved in the archives of the state department ; others are still held by his descendants. Schouler, in his "History of the United States," has made use of this material to advantage, particularly in his account of the administrations of Madison and Monroe, which he has treated in detail. Bancroft, in his "History of the Constitution," draws largely upon the Monroe papers, many of which he prints for the first time. The eulogy of John Quincy Adams his (Boston diary 1831) afford and the best contemporary view of Monroe's characteristics as a statesman.

Jefferson, Madison, Webster, Calhoun, and Benton have left their appreciative estimates of his character The remains of James Monroe were buried in Marble cemetery, Second street, between First and Second avenues, New York, but in 1858 were taken to Richmond, Virginia, and there re-interred on the 28th of April, in Hollywood. (See illustration above.) See Samuel P. Waldo's "Tour of James Monroe through the Northern and Eastern States, with a Sketch of his Life" (Hartford, 1819); " Life of James Monroe, with a Notice of his Administration," by John Quincy Adams (Buffalo, 1850) : "Concise History of the .Monroe Doctrine," by George F. Tucker (Boston, 1885): and Daniel C. Gilman's life of Monroe, in the "American Statesmen " series (Boston, 1883). In the volume last named is an appendix by J. F. Jameson, which gives a list of writings pertaining to Monroe's career and to the Monroe doctrine. Monroe's portrait by Stuart is in the possession of Thomas J. Coolidge, and that by Vanderlyn is in the city-hall, New York, both of which have been engraved.--

His wife, Elizabeth Kortright, born in New York city in 1768; died in Loudon county, Virginia, in 1830, was the daughter of Lawrence Kortright, a captain in the British army. She married James Monroe in 1786, accompanied him in his missions abroad in 1794 and 1803, and while he was United States minister to France she effected the release of Madame de Lafayette, who was confined in the prison of LaForce, hourly expecting to be executed. On the accession of her husband to the presidency, Mrs. Monroe became the mistress of the White House; but she mingled little in society on account of her delicate health. She is described by a contemporary writer as "an elegant and accomplished woman, with a dignity of manner that peculiarly fitted her for the station." The above vignette is copied from the only portrait that was ever made of Mrs. Monroe, which was executed in Paris in 1796

His nephew, James Monroe, soldier, in Albemarle county, Virginia, 10 September, 1799; died in Orange, New Jersey, 7 September, 1870, was a son of the president's elder brother, Andrew. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1815, assigned to the artillery corps, and served in the war with Algiers, in which he was wounded while directing part of the quarter-deck guns of the "Guerridre" in an action with the "Mashouda" off Cape de Gata, Spain. He was aide to General Winfield Scott in 1817-'22, became 1st lieutenant of the 4th artillery on the reorganization of the army in 1821, and served on garrison and commissary duty till 1832, when he was again appointed Gem Scott's aide on the Black Hawk expedition, but did not reach the seat of war, owing to illness. He resigned his commission on 30 September, 1832, and entered politics, becoming an alderman of New York city in 1833, and president of the board in 1834. In 1836 he declined the appointment of aide to Governor William L. Marcy. He was in congress in 1839-'41, and was chosen again in 1846, but his seat was contested, and congress ordered a new election, at which he refused to be a candidate. During the Mexican war he was active in urging the retention in command of General Scott. In 1850-'2 he was in the New York legislature, and in 1852 was an earnest supporter of his old chief for the presidency. After the death of his wife in that year he retired from politics, and spent much of his time at the Union club, of which he was one of the earliest members. Just before the civil war he visited Richmond, and, by public speeches and private effort, tried to prevent the secession of Virginia, and in the struggle that followed he remained a firm supporter of the National government. He much resembled his uncle in personal appearance.

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Please join us in our mission to incorporate America's Four United Republics discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The People Click Here

 

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Historic Documents

Articles of Association

Articles of Confederation 1775

Articles of Confederation

Article the First

Coin Act

Declaration of Independence

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Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Address

Monroe Doctrine

Northwest Ordinance

No Taxation Without Representation

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Treaty of Paris 1763

Treaty of Paris 1783

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United Nations Charter

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US Continental Congress

US Constitution of 1777

US Constitution of 1787

Virginia Declaration of Rights

 

Historic Events

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America’s Four Republics
The More or Less United States

 
Continental Congress
U.C. Presidents

Peyton Randolph

Henry Middleton

Peyton Randolph

John Hancock

  

Continental Congress
U.S. Presidents

John Hancock

Henry Laurens

John Jay

Samuel Huntington

  

Constitution of 1777
U.S. Presidents

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Johnston
Elected but declined the office

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John Hanson

Elias Boudinot

Thomas Mifflin

Richard Henry Lee

John Hancock
[
Chairman David Ramsay]

Nathaniel Gorham

Arthur St. Clair

Cyrus Griffin

  

Constitution of 1787
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John Adams
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James Madison 
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James Monroe
Republican* Party

John Quincy Adams
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Andrew Jackson
Republican* Party
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Martin Van Buren
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William H. Harrison
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John Tyler
Whig Party

James K. Polk
Democratic Party

David Atchison**
Democratic Party

Zachary Taylor
Whig Party

Millard Fillmore
Whig Party

Franklin Pierce
Democratic Party

James Buchanan
Democratic Party


Abraham Lincoln 
Republican Party

Jefferson Davis***
Democratic Party

Andrew Johnson
Republican Party

Ulysses S. Grant 
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Rutherford B. Hayes
Republican Party

James A. Garfield
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Chester Arthur 
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Grover Cleveland
Democratic Party

Benjamin Harrison
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Grover Cleveland 
Democratic Party

William McKinley
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Theodore Roosevelt
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William H. Taft 
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Woodrow Wilson
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Warren G. Harding 
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Calvin Coolidge
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Herbert C. Hoover
Republican Party

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic Party

Harry S. Truman
Democratic Party

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican Party

John F. Kennedy
Democratic Party

Lyndon B. Johnson 
Democratic Party 

Richard M. Nixon 
Republican Party

Gerald R. Ford 
Republican Party

James Earl Carter, Jr. 
Democratic Party

Ronald Wilson Reagan 
Republican Party

George H. W. Bush
Republican Party 

William Jefferson Clinton
Democratic Party

George W. Bush 
Republican Party

Barack H. Obama
Democratic Party

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