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James Monroe

Famous for Role in U.S. Expansion. Monroe Doctrine Declaration.

James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, was born April 28, 1758, at Monroe’s Creek, Virginia. His father was descended from early Scottish colonists. Monroe is probably best known for his declaration of the Monroe Doctrine which profoundly influenced American foreign policy. He is also known as the father of the U.S. Constitution. Monroe attended William and Mary College but left in 1776 to join the colonial forces. He was wounded in the Battle of Trenton. Later he took up the study of law under Thomas Jefferson who greatly influenced his career. Monroe served in the Virginia legislature and later in both the U.S. House and Senate. A cool relationship developed between President Washington and Monroe while he was ambassador to France. Washington recalled Monroe and he ran for governor of Virginia. He served two terms (1799-1802). President Jefferson sent Monroe to France as a special minister where, with Ambassador Robert R. Livingston, he exceeded his authority and signed an agreement that committed the U.S. to purchase the Louisiana Territory for $3 million. Monroe held important cabinet posts in the administration of President James Madison. He was himself elected President in 1816 and again in 1820. His prosperous administration was called the “Era of Good Feeling.” President Monroe enlarged the U.S. further by acquiring Florida from Spain in 1821. He died July 4, 1831, in New York City. In 1858, on the centennial of his birth, his body was returned to Virginia and re-interred at Richmond with impressive ceremonies. His grave is a national monument.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546