James Monroe


James Monroe (April 28, 1758, Washington Parish, Virginia – July 4, 1831, New York) – American statesman, the fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825, lawyer, diplomat, one of the founding fathers of the United States. A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Monroe was the last president of the so-called Virginia dynasty of presidents. He is best known for issuing the Monroe Doctrine, which declared the principles of U.S. foreign policy aimed at countering European colonialism in the Americas. He was also governor of Virginia, member of the U.S. Senate, U.S. ambassador to France and Great Britain, seventh secretary of state, and eighth secretary of war.

Born into a family of Virginia planters, Monroe served in the Continental Army during the American War of Independence. From 1780 to 1783 he studied law under Thomas Jefferson, then served as a delegate to the Continental Congress. As a member of the Virginia Ratification Council, Monroe opposed ratification of the Constitution of the United States. In 1790 he won election to the Senate, where he became the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party. He left the Senate in 1794 to become ambassador to President George Washington in France, but Washington recalled him in 1796. Monroe won the election for governor of Virginia in 1799 and strongly supported Jefferson”s candidacy in the presidential election of 1800.

As President Jefferson”s special envoy, Monroe helped negotiate the purchase of Louisiana, which nearly doubled the size of the United States. In 1806 he drafted an agreement with England (the “Monroe-Pinckney Agreement”), which was rejected by James Madison, leading to Monroe”s break with Madison. He unsuccessfully challenged Madison in the presidential election of 1808, but in April 1811 he joined the Madison administration as secretary of state. In the later stages of the War of 1812, Monroe was both Secretary of State and Secretary of War to Madison. His military leadership made him Madison”s obvious heir apparent, and he easily defeated the Federalist Party candidate Rufus King in the 1816 presidential election.

Monroe”s presidency coincided with the Age of Good Consent as the Federalist Party (USA) disintegrated as a national political force. As president, Monroe signed the “Missouri Compromise,” which recognized Missouri as a slave state and banned slavery in territories north of the 36° 30” north latitude parallel. In international affairs, Monroe and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams advocated a policy of reconciliation with Great Britain and a policy of expansion against the Spanish Empire. The 1819 Adams-Onis agreement with Spain gave the United States Florida and established its western border with New Spain. In 1823 Monroe announced the United States” rejection of any European intervention in the newly independent countries of the Americas with the Monroe Doctrine, which became a milestone in American foreign policy. Monroe was a member of the American Colonization Society, which supported the colonization of Africa by freed slaves, and the Liberian capital of Monrovia is named after him. After retiring in 1825, Monroe suffered from financial difficulties. He died in New York City on July 4, 1831. The historical classification of presidents generally places Monroe in the second (of four) category of presidents.

James Monroe was born April 28, 1758, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the son of planter Spence Monroe (1727-1774) and Elizabeth Jones (1730-1772). In addition to James, there were five other children in the family: Elizabeth, James, Spence, Andrew, and Joseph Jones. The ruins of Monroe Manor were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

His paternal great-great-grandfather, Patrick Andrew Monroe, emigrated to America from Scotland in the mid-17th century. He was descended from an ancient Scottish clan, the Munroes. In 1650 he patented a large tract of land in Washington County, Westmoreland County, Virginia. Monroe”s mother was the daughter of a wealthy immigrant named James Jones, who immigrated from Wales and settled in neighboring King George County, Virginia. Jones was an architect. Also among James Monroe”s ancestors were French Huguenot immigrants who came to Virginia in 1700.

At the age of eleven, Monroe was enrolled in school, which he attended only eleven weeks a year because his labor was required on the farm. During this time Monroe developed a lifelong friendship with an older classmate, John Marshall. Monroe”s mother died in 1772 and his father died two years later. Although he inherited property from both his parents, sixteen-year-old Monroe was forced to leave school to help his younger brothers. His childless maternal uncle, Joseph Jones, became their adoptive father. Jones, a member of the House of Burgers, took Monroe to Williamsberg, the capital of the colony, and enrolled him at the College of William and Mary. Jones also introduced Monroe to such famous Virginians as Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. In 1774 opposition to the British government intensified in the Thirteen Colonies in response to the “Intolerable Laws,” and Virginia sent a delegation to the First Continental Congress. Monroe became involved in opposing Lord Dunmore, governor of the colonial province of Virginia, and he took part in the storming of the Governor”s Palace.

Participation in the War of Independence

In early 1776, about a year and a half after his enlistment, Monroe dropped out of college and enlisted in the 3rd Virginia Infantry Regiment of the Continental Army. The army valued literacy, so Monroe was promoted to lieutenant and began serving under the command of Captain William Washington. After several months of training, Monroe and seven hundred Virginian infantrymen were drafted north to fight in the New York and New Jersey Campaigns. Shortly after the Virginians arrived, Washington”s retreat from New York to New Jersey and then across the Delaware River to Pennsylvania began. In December Monroe participated in the crossing of the Delaware and in the battle of Trenton. Although the attack was successful, Monroe almost died during the battle. After the battle, George Washington thanked Monroe and William Washington for their bravery and promoted Monroe to the rank of captain. After his wounds healed, Monroe returned to Virginia to form his own company of infantry. Monroe”s participation in the battle was immortalized in John Trumbull”s painting The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton and in Emanuel Leuce”s painting Washington Crossing the Delaware.

Monroe lacked the funds to recruit a company, so Monroe asked to return to the army. He was assigned to the staff of General William Alexander, Lord Stirling. At this time he became close friends with the Marquis of Lafayette, who gave him his view of the war as part of the struggle against religious and political tyranny throughout the world. Monroe took part in the Philadelphia Campaign and spent the winter of 1777-1778 at Camp Valley Forge, sharing a hut with Lafayette. He participated in the battle of Monmouth before resigning in December 1778 to join his uncle in Philadelphia. When the British captured Savannah, it was decided to raise four regiments in Virginia, and Monroe went to Virginia, hoping to get a unit in command. With recommendations from Washington, Stirling, and Alexander Hamilton, he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel and commanded one of the regiments. But the regiment could not be recruited again, and Monroe returned to Williamsburg to study law.

Monroe sold his small inherited plantation in Virginia in 1783 to legally enter politics. He later realized his youthful dream of owning a large plantation and wielding great political power, but his plantation was never profitable. Although he owned large tracts of land and numerous slaves, he rarely spent time there to supervise order and work. The overseers abused the slaves to increase profits, but it did not help. Monroe was in debt, and because of his love of luxury and the expensive lifestyle, he often sold property (including slaves) to pay off his creditors. At the same time, overseers moved or separated families of slaves from different Monroe plantations according to the production and maintenance needs of each plantation. One of Monroe”s slaves named Daniel would often run away from the plantation in Albemarle County to visit his family members or other slaves. Monroe commonly referred to Daniel as a “scoundrel” and described him as “useless” as a runaway slave. Relocation and family separation were common practices in the treatment of slaves in the southern United States.

Virginia Politics

In 1782 Monroe was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. After serving on the Virginia Executive Council, he was elected to the Confederate Congress in November 1783 and served in Annapolis until Congress convened in Trenton in June 1784. Monroe served a total of three years, after which he left office under the rotation rule. By then the government was gathering in the provisional capital, New York. While serving in Congress, Monroe became an advocate for western expansion and played a key role in the writing and passage of the so-called Northwest Ordinance. This ordinance created the Northwest Territory and created an administration in the areas west of Pennsylvania and north of Ohio. Jefferson remained his ideological mentor during this period, and through him Monroe became acquainted with James Madison.

Monroe left Congress in 1786 to concentrate on his legal career and became state”s attorney. In 1787 Monroe won election to a new term in the Virginia House of Delegates. Although he became outspoken about his desire to reform the Articles of Confederation, he was unable to attend the Philadelphia Convention because of his commitments. In 1788 Monroe became a delegate to the Virginia Ratification Convention. In Virginia the struggle for ratification of the proposed Constitution involved clashes between Federalists and Anti-Federalists, Virginia held a full spectrum of opinion on the merits of the proposed changes in national government. Washington and Madison were the leading supporters, and Patrick Henry and George Mason were their leading opponents. Those who held the middle ground in the ideological struggle became the central figures. Led by Monroe and Edmund Pendleton, these “pro-amendment federalists” criticized the lack of a bill of rights and worried about the transfer of taxing power to the central government. After Madison completely changed and promised to pass the bill of rights, the Virginia convention ratified the constitution by a narrow vote, though Monroe himself voted against it. Virginia was the tenth state to ratify the Constitution, and all thirteen states eventually ratified the document.


Henry and other anti-Federalists hoped to get elected to Congress, which would have amended the Constitution to take away most of the power given to him (“to kill himself with authority,” as Madison put it). Henry hired Monroe to become Madison”s rival for a seat in the First Congress, and he had the Virginia legislature make the district designed to elect Monroe. During the campaign, Madison and Monroe traveled together often, and the election did not destroy their friendship. Madison defeated Monroe with 1,308 votes compared to Monroe”s 972. After his defeat, Monroe returned to his work and took over his farm in Charlottesville. After the death of Senator William Grayson in 1790, Monroe was elected for the remainder of his term.

During George Washington”s presidency, U.S. politics became increasingly polarized between supporters of Secretary of State Jefferson and Federalists led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Monroe stood firm with Jefferson, opposing Hamilton”s strong central government and a strong executive branch. The Democratic-Republican Party united around Jefferson and Madison, and Monroe became one of the leaders of the “Unsung” Party in the Senate. He also helped organize opposition to John Adams in the 1792 election, although Adams defeated George Clinton. During the 1790s, the French Revolutionary Wars began to dominate U.S. foreign policy, with British and French raids threatening U.S. trade with Europe. Like most other Jeffersonians, Monroe supported the French Revolution, but Hamilton”s followers tended to be more sympathetic to Britain. In 1794, hoping to find a way to avoid war with both countries, Washington appointed Monroe as his ambassador to France. At the same time he appointed the Anglophile Federalist John Jay as his ambassador to Britain.

Ambassador to France

After arriving in France, Monroe addressed the National Convention and received an ovation for his speech on republicanism. He achieved several early diplomatic successes, including defending U.S. commerce against French attacks. He also used his influence to secure the release of Thomas Paine and Adriana de Lafayette, wife of the Marquis de Lafayette. A few months after Monroe”s arrival in France, the United States and Great Britain concluded the Treaty of Jay, which angered both the French and Monroe – who knew nothing of the treaty until its publication. Despite the negative impact of the Jay Treaty on French-American relations, Monroe secured French support for U.S. navigational rights on the Mississippi River, the mouth of which was controlled by Spain, and in 1795 the United States and Spain signed the Pinckney Treaty. The treaty gave the United States limited rights to use the port of New Orleans.

But Washington decided that Monroe was ineffective, disruptive, and would not be able to protect the national interest, so he recalled Monroe in November 1796. Returning to his home in Charlottesville, he resumed his dual career as a farmer and lawyer. Jefferson and Madison persuaded Monroe to run for Congress, but instead Monroe chose to concentrate on the affairs of his state.

In 1798 Monroe published A View of the Conduct of the Executive, in the Foreign Affairs of the United States: Connected with the Mission to the French Republic, During the Years 1794, 5, and 6. This was a detailed defense of his activities as minister in France. He followed the advice of his friend Robert Livingston, who recommended that he refrain from speaking harshly about Washington. Nevertheless, he complained that too often the U.S. government was too close to Britain, especially in the matter of the Jay Treaty. Washington made notes on his copy, writing, “The truth is that Mr. Monroe has been led by flattery and obsequiousness to believe strange things. He became willing to do anything for that nation, reluctant to stand up for the rights of his own.”

Confronting and Fighting Alexander Hamilton

As early as 1792, Monroe (then a senator) was investigating corruption and misuse of federal funds intended to pay veterans of the War of Independence, and encountered allegations that Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was involved. Monroe, Frederick Muhlenberg, and Abraham Venable decided that Hamilton was paying James Reynolds, who was involved in financial manipulation of government money. The investigating committee prepared a report for George Washington, but even before it was sent, Hamilton intervened. Hamilton confessed to having an affair with Reynolds” wife, Maria, and claimed that Reynolds had found out about their relationship and blackmailed him with letters to prove his connection. Investigators immediately dropped the case, and Monroe promised Hamilton that the case (now known as the Hamilton-Reynolds case) would not be disclosed.

When another suspect in the case, Jacob Klingman, told Maria Reynolds about what Hamilton had said about their affair, Maria claimed it was a lie and that the letters had been forged to help cover up corrupt schemes. Klingman went to Monroe to give new details. Monroe listened to Klingman, recorded the conversation, and sent the whole affair to his friend, probably Thomas Jefferson, for safekeeping. But the secretary, who was in charge of keeping the documents, made copies and gave them to the scandalous writer James Callender.

Five years later, shortly after Monroe was recalled from France, Callender published charges against Hamilton based on these records. Hamilton and his wife thought it was revenge on Monroe for being recalled from France, and wrote a letter to Monroe objecting. A meeting ensued in which Hamilton accused Monroe of lying and challenged him to a duel. The words were clearly spoken in the heat of the moment, but Monroe replied, “I am ready, get your pistols. The seconds intervened and, with their assistance, the matter was settled in peace, and Hamilton received the investigation materials. Hamilton was not satisfied with these explanations and correspondence ensued in which Hamilton again challenged Monroe to a duel. Monroe chose Aaron Burr as his second, who decided it was “childish” and eventually managed to reconcile the opponents.

Governor of Virginia

In 1799, in a party-line vote of the Virginia legislature, Monroe was elected governor. He remained in office until 1802. The Virginia Constitution gave the governor very little power other than commanding the militia. Monroe used his status to persuade legislators to increase state involvement in transportation and education, and to increase the training of the militia. Monroe also instituted the governor”s annual address to the legislature, in which he outlined the Legislature”s major activities. Monroe also made efforts to establish the first prison in the state, and began substituting imprisonment for other, often harsher, punishments. In 1800, Monroe called in the Virginia militia to quell Gabriel”s rebellion, a slave revolt on a plantation six miles from the capital city of Richmond. Gabriel and 27 others in the rebellion were hanged for treason.

Monroe thought that foreign agents and Federalist elements led to the Quasi-War of 1798-1800, and he strongly supported Thomas Jefferson”s candidacy for president in 1800. Federalists were also suspicious of Monroe, some considering him at best a French fraud and at worst a traitor. Having the power to appoint electoral representatives in Virginia, Monroe used his influence to help Jefferson win the Virginia presidential election. He also considered using the Virginia militia to influence the election in Jefferson”s favor. Jefferson won the 1800 election, and he appointed Madison as his secretary of state. As a member of Jefferson”s party and leader of the largest state in the country, Monroe became one of Jefferson”s two most likely successors, along with Madison.

Louisiana Purchase and Ambassador to Great Britain

When Monroe”s term as governor ended, President Jefferson sent him back to France to assist Ambassador Robert Livingston in negotiating the purchase of Louisiana. Under the Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1800, France had acquired the Louisiana Territory from Spain; at the time, many in the United States believed that France had also acquired West Florida under the same treaty. Initially the American delegation sought to acquire West Florida and the city of New Orleans, which controlled commerce along the Mississippi River. Determined to acquire New Orleans, even if it meant war with France, Jefferson also allowed Monroe to form an alliance with the British if the French refused to sell the city.

Meeting with François Barbet-Marbois, the French foreign minister, Monroe and Livingston agreed to purchase the entire Louisiana Territory for $15 million; the agreement became known as the “Louisiana Purchase. In agreeing to the purchase, Monroe violated his instructions, which allowed only $9 million for the purchase of New Orleans and West Florida. The French did not acknowledge that West Florida remained in Spanish possession, so the United States claimed over the next few years that France had sold them West Florida. Although Jefferson did not mandate the purchase of all of Louisiana, he supported Monroe”s actions, which guaranteed the United States expansion into the West. Overcoming doubts about whether the Constitution permitted the purchase of foreign territory, Jefferson still obtained congressional approval to buy Louisiana, a purchase that doubled the size of the United States. In 1805 Monroe would go to Spain to try to win concessions to West Florida, but, following Rufus King”s resignation, Monroe was appointed ambassador to Great Britain in 1803. The biggest dispute between the United States and Great Britain was over the forced recruitment of American sailors for the navy. Many American merchant ships employed British sailors who either deserted or evaded conscription, and the British often made forced recruits on American ships in hopes of suppressing their manpower problems. Many of the sailors they recruited were never British subjects, and Monroe was charged with persuading the British to stop the practice of recruitment. Monroe was not very successful in this endeavor. Monroe continued to serve as ambassador to Great Britain until 1807.

In 1806 he negotiated the Monroe-Pinckney agreement with Great Britain. This would have extended the 1794 Jay Treaty, which expired ten years later. Jefferson fought intensely against the Jay Treaty in 1794-95 because he felt it would allow the British to undermine American republicanism, The treaty provided ten years of peace and very profitable trade for American merchants, but Jefferson was still opposed. When Monroe and the British signed a new treaty in December 1806, Jefferson refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification. Although the treaty provided for ten more years of trade between the United States and the British Empire and gave American merchants guarantees that would be good for business, Jefferson was unhappy that it did not end the hated British recruiting practices and refused to consent before a potential weapon of commercial war against Britain. The president did not attempt another treaty, and it all led to the War of 1812-1815. Monroe was defeated by the administration”s refusal to treaty, eventually leading to a quarrel with Secretary of State James Madison.

Elections of 1808

Returning to Virginia in 1807, Monroe received a warm reception, and many suggested that he run for president in the 1808 election. After Jefferson refused to confirm the Monroe-Pinckney pact, Monroe decided that Jefferson rejected the pact to prevent Monroe from beating Madison in the election. Out of respect for Jefferson, Monroe agreed to avoid actively campaigning for the presidency, but he did not rule out attempting to do so. The Democratic-Republican party was increasingly divided; the “Old Republicans” denounced the Jefferson administration for abandoning true Republican principles. They tried to gain Monroe”s support for their cause. The plan was to nominate Monroe for president in 1808 in cooperation with the Federalist Party, which had support in New England. John Randolph of Roanoke led the fight against Madison”s nomination. However, Monroe lost the campaign, and Madison became the Democratic Republican candidate. Monroe did not publicly criticize Jefferson or Madison during Madison”s campaign against Federalist Charles Pinckney, but refused to support Madison. Madison defeated Ch.  Pinckney by a wide margin, breaking the barrier in all but one state outside of New England. Monroe won by 3,400 votes in Virginia, but failed to win support in other states. After the election Monroe quickly reconciled with Jefferson, but did not speak to Madison until 1810. Returning to private life, he concentrated on farming on his estate in Charlottesville.

Monroe returned to the Virginia House of Burgers, then was elected to a second term as governor of Virginia in 1811, but served only four months. In April 1811 Madison appointed him to become secretary of state, expecting to gain the support of a radical section of the Democratic-Republicans. Madison assured Monroe that their disagreement over the Monroe-Pinckney agreement was a misunderstanding, and thus was able to restore his friendship with him. On taking office, Monroe hoped to begin negotiations with England and France to stop attacks on American merchant ships, and while France was accommodating, England was intransigent. Monroe worked for a long time to make peace with England, but in the end he leaned toward the side of war supporters such as Henry Clay. With the support of Monroe and Clay, President Madison asked Congress to declare war on England, and his request was granted on June 18, 1812. The Anglo-American War began.

The war was going badly for the United States, and the Madison administration began to think about peace, but England rejected all offers. When Secretary of War William Estis resigned, the president asked Monroe to combine the posts of secretary of state and secretary of war, but the Senate resisted his appointment, and John Armstrong took the post of secretary of war on January 13, 1813. Soon England offered to make peace, and a delegation headed by John Adams was sent to negotiate. Monroe gave him the right to make peace on any terms, as long as he could end hostilities and guarantee American neutrality.

When the British occupied Washington and burned the White House and Capitol on August 24, 1814, Madison removed Armstrong from office and sought help from Monroe, appointing him secretary of war on September 27, 1814. Monroe resigned as secretary of state on October 1, but no one was appointed to continue as secretary of state. Thus, from October 1, 1814, to February 28, 1815, Monroe effectively combined two Cabinet posts. He ordered Colonel Jackson to defend New Orleans and directed neighboring states to reinforce Jackson with militias. He urged Congress to declare the recruitment of 100,000 men for the army, increase the salaries of soldiers, and create a new state bank to finance the war. A few months later peace was concluded and the countries returned to the quo ante bellum position, retaining all previous differences, but in America peace was perceived as a victory, in part because news of peace came soon after Jackson defeated the British at New Orleans. Congress eventually agreed to create a national bank, and so the Second Bank of the United States was born.

Monroe”s Cabinet

Monroe conducted a balanced selection of his cabinet, appointing Southerner John Calhoun as Secretary of War and Northerner John Quincy Adams as Secretary of State. Adams turned out to be an excellent diplomat, and Calhoun transformed the Department of Defense for the better. For political reasons, Monroe decided not to offer Henry Clay as Secretary of State, thus depriving himself of an outstanding diplomat from the West.

Monroe largely ignored the old tendencies in the formation of the cabinet, which reduced political tensions, and which gave rise to the “Era of Good Concord. To build national confidence, he held two tours around the country in 1817. All this leads to the absence of a strong opposition, secret meetings of the Republican faction cease to be held, and for a time the Republican Party ceases to function.

Internal improvements

During his presidency, Congress demanded high subsidies for domestic improvements, such as improvements to the Cumberland Road. Monroe vetoed the Cumberland Road Bill, which provided for annual road improvements, because he considered it unconstitutional for the government.

Missouri Compromise

“The era of good consensus” lasted until 1824, when Andrew Jackson suggested the corrupt nature of the election of John Quincy Adams as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Monroe”s popularity, however, remained unchanged. The panic of 1819 caused a painful economic depression. Amendments to a bill to phase out slavery in Missouri were met with fierce debate in Congress. The Missouri Compromise resolved the conflict by allowing the people of the Missouri Territory to form a government and adopt a state constitution, admitted the state into the Union, equal to the former states and at the same time admitted the free state of Maine into the Union. Slavery was henceforth and forever prohibited north of 36° 30” N. The Missouri Compromise lasted until 1857, when it was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Foreign Policy

After the Napoleonic Wars, almost all of Latin America rebelled against Spanish and Portuguese rule and declared its independence. The United States welcomed this news. Adams suggested that formal recognition of these countries be delayed until the U.S. had strengthened its position in Florida. This problem was intensified by Russian claims to the Pacific coast, and by European pressure. The Europeans wanted to return Latin America to colony status. In March 1822 Monroe informed Congress that permanent stable governments had been established in the United Provinces of La Plata (modern-day Argentina), Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico. John Quincy Adams, under Monroe”s direction, wrote instructions to the ambassadors of these new countries. They declared that United States policy was ready to support Republican institutions of power and to enter into trade treaties on a most-favored-nation basis. The United States will support inter-American congresses devoted to the development of economic and political institutions fundamentally different from those in Europe. The articulations of the “American system” differed from the “European system” as a basic principle of Monroe”s policy toward Latin America. Monroe was proud that the United States was the first country to recognize the independence of Latin American states and to set an example to the rest of the world for its support of “the cause of liberty and humanity.

On December 2, 1823, Monroe addressed a message to Congress that later became known as the Monroe Doctrine. It declared that America should be free from future European colonization and free from European interference in the affairs of sovereign countries. It also declared the intention of the United States of America to remain neutral in European wars and wars between European powers and their colonies, and to regard new colonies or interference in the policies of independent countries in the Americas as hostile acts against the United States.

The Monroe Doctrine ruled that the United States considered the Western Hemisphere not a place for European colonization; that any future efforts to gain political control in the hemisphere or to violate the independence of existing states would be considered a hostile act; and finally that there were two different and incompatible political systems in the world. Therefore, the United States promised to refrain from interfering in European affairs and demanded that Europe refrain from interfering in American affairs.

“…We shall regard any attempt on their part (by the European powers) to extend their system to any part of our hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and security.” To make such an attempt, according to the presidential message, was impossible without “endangering our peace and happiness.”

Negotiations with Spain for the purchase of Florida were in a sorry state, especially after General Andrew Jackson”s invasion of the territory. But largely due to the skillful work of John Quincy Adams, a treaty was signed with Spain in 1819 in which Florida was ceded to the United States in exchange for $5,000,000 and a renunciation of any claim to Texas.

States admitted to the union

On March 4, 1825, when his term as president ended, James Monroe moved to his estate of Monroe Hill. Monroe owed a great deal during his time in the community. As a result, he was forced to sell Highland-Plantation. Throughout his life he was not financially wealthy, and his wife”s poor health exacerbated the situation.

After the death of his wife in 1830, Monroe moved to New York City to live with his daughter Mary Esther Monroe Governer. He died of heart failure and tuberculosis on July 4, 1831, becoming the third president to die on July 4. He was originally buried in New York City in the Governer family crypt. Twenty-seven years later – in 1858 – he was reburied in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. James Monroe”s tomb is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

Monroe is the last U.S. president whose daguerreotype image does not exist, and also the last person to dress in eighteenth-century fashion in culottes while in office.

On February 16, 1786, Monroe married Elizabeth Cortright (1768-1830) in New York City. She was the daughter of Hannah Aspinwall Cortright and Lawrence Cortright, a wealthy merchant and former British officer. Monroe met her while serving in the Continental Army. After a brief honeymoon on Long Island, the Monroes returned to New York to live with their father while Congress continued to work. They then moved to Virginia, settling in Charlottesville in 1789. They bought an estate known as Ash Lawn Highland and settled there in 1799. Monroe had three children:

Bolkhovitinov N. N. The Monroe Doctrine (Origin and Character).  – Moscow: IMO Publishing House, 1959.  – 336 с.

Nechai S. L. Domestic Politics and the Problem of Parties in the Presidency of J. Monroe (1817-1825): Monograph.  – Bryansk: Kursiv, 2015.  – 232 с.


  1. Монро, Джеймс
  2. James Monroe
  3. 1 2 Unger, 2009, p. 9—10.
  4. 1 2 Ammon, 1971, p. 577.
  5. James Monroe and Slavery
  6. ^ (EN) How many wedding ceremonies have been held at the White House?, su While House History web site, The White House Historical Association. URL consultato il 13 marzo 2011 (archiviato dall”url originale il 26 maggio 2011).
  7. ^ (EN) Doug Wead, Murder at the Wedding Maria Hester Monroe, su whitehouseweddings.com, 2008. URL consultato il 13 marzo 2011 (archiviato dall”url originale il 5 maggio 2011)., tratto da (EN) All The President”s Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America”s First Families, Simon and Schuster, 2004, ISBN 978-0-7434-4633-4.
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  10. a b c d e f g h L. Pastusiak: Prezydenci Stanów Zjednoczonych Ameryki Północnej. s. 127.
  11. a b c L. Pastusiak: Prezydenci Stanów Zjednoczonych Ameryki Północnej. s. 128.
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