Monroe, James 1759-1870
Fifth President of the United States; born in Westmoreland county, Va., April 28, 1759; graduated at the College of William and Mary in 1776; immediately joined the patriot army as a cadet in Mercer's regiment; and was in the engagements at Harlem Plains, White Plains, and Trenton. He Was wounded in the latter engagement, and was promoted to a captaincy for his bravery. In 1777-78 he was aide to Lord Stirling, and was distinguished at the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. After the latter battle he left the army, studied law under Jefferson, and again took up arms when Virginia was invaded by Cornwallis. In 1780 he visited the Southern army under De Kalb as military commissioner from Virginia, and was a member of the Virginia Assembly in 1782. He soon became a member of the executive council, a delegate in Congress, and in his State convention in 1788 he opposed the ratification of the national Constitution. From 1790 to 1794 he was United States Senator. In May of the latter year he was appointed minister to France, though an opponent of Washington's administration, but was recalled in 1796, because of his opposition to Jay's treaty (see Jay, John). In defence of his conduct, he published the whole diplomatic correspondence with his government while he was in Paris. From 1799 to 1802 he was governor of Virginia, and in 1802 was sent as envoy to France. The next year he was United States minister at the Court of St. James. In 1805 he was associated with Charles C. Pinckney (q. v.) in a negotiation with Spain, and, with William Pinkney, he negotiated a treaty with England in 1807, which Jefferson rejected because it did not provide against impressments. Serving in his State Assembly, he was again elected governor in 1811, and was Madison's Secretary of State during a large portion of that President's administration. From September, 1814, to March, 1815, he performed the duties of Secretary of War. Before the close of Madison's administration the Federal party had so much declined in strength that a nomination for office by the Democratic party was equivalent to an election. On March 16, 1816, a congressional Democratic caucus was held, at which the names of James Monroe and William H. Crawford (q. v.) were presented for nomination. There were many who did not like Monroe who were ready to press the nomination of Crawford, and, had he been inclined for a struggle, he might have received the votes of the caucus. There had been much intriguing before the caucus. At that gathering Henry Clay and John Taylor, of New York, moved that congressional caucus nominations for the Presidency were inexpedient and ought not to be continued. These motions having failed, Monroe received 65 votes to 54 for Crawford. Daniel D. Tompkins received 85 votes of the  caucus for Vice-President to 30 for Governor Snyder. After the election in the autumn it was found, when the votes of the electoral colleges were counted, that Monroe had received the votes of all the States excepting Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware, which gave Rufus King 34 electoral votes. Three federal electors chosen in Maryland and one in Delaware did not vote at all. Monroe received 183 of the 221 votes, and Tompkins the same number for Vice-President. Monroe was inaugurated on March 4, 1817, and entered upon the duties of his office under the most favorable circumstances. His inaugural address was liberal in its tone and gave general satisfaction; and the beginning of his administration was regarded as the dawning of an “era of good feeling.” President Monroe had been urged by General Jackson, with whom he was on terms of great intimacy, to disregard former party divisions in the formation of his cabinet, and to use his influence and power to destroy party spirit by appointing the best men to office without regard to their political preferences. He preferred to follow the example of Jefferson and Madison, and appoint only those of his own political faith. He chose John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, for Secretary of State; William H. Crawford, of Georgia, Secretary of the Treasury; and John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, for Secretary of War. These were all aspirants for the Presidential chair. B. W. Crowninshield was continued Secretary of the Navy, to which office Madison had appointed him in December, 1814, and Richard Rush continued in the office of Attorney-General until succeeded, Nov. 13, 1817, by William Wirt. Return J. Meigs was continued Postmaster-General, to which office Madison had appointed him in 1817. After his first term, so faithfully had President Monroe adhered to the promises of his inaugural address, that he was not only renominated, with Tompkins as Vice-President, but was elected by an almost unanimous vote in the electoral college. Only one elector voted against Monroe, and but fourteen against Tompkins. That reelection was at the commencement of a new political era. The reannexation of Florida to the United States, the recognized extension of the domain of the republic to the Pacific Ocean, and the partition of those new acquisitions between
|Monroe's residence at Oak Hill, Va.
|Tomb of Monroe.
The Monroe doctrine.This great national principle, which the United States has most strenuously maintained ever since its enunciation, was proclaimed by President Monroe in his message to Congress on Dec. 2, 1823. The declaration itself consists of but few words and is here printed in Italics; but to afford a fuller view of its far-reaching import, as well as to show the national conditions which called it forth, the entire message is reproduced as follows:
Military officer; born in Albemarle county, Va., Sept. 10, 1799; graduated at West Point in 1815; participated in the war with Algiers; was wounded in an action with the Mashouda off the coast of Spain. He resigned from the army in 1832 and settled in New York City, where he became an alderman in 1833. He was elected to Congress in 1839. He died in Orange, N. J., Sept. 7, 1870.