Hearing about the fifth president of the United States of America, President James Monroe, the first thing to ring will be the Monroe Doctrine. James Monroe is renowned as the leader who took down the European forces in meddling in the affairs concerning different nations in the Western Hemisphere. He was also the leader of the “Era of Good Feelings” because of the high morale of his constituents and the economic standing of the country.
Knowing who he was, it is also essential to discover what contributed to his success upon taking the long and winding road towards the presidential seat.
James Monroe as a child and education
On April 28, 1758, James Monroe was born to the humble couple Spence Monroe and Elizabeth Jones Monroe in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The couple owned a wealthy 600-acre plantation. Growing up, his mother homeschooled him and later enrolled in the Campbelltown Academy at the age of 11 and excelled in his studies.
James Monroe’s father passed away when he was only 16 years old. James’ uncle, Joseph Jones, took him together with his siblings under his care. It became a significant turning point in his life; contrasting to his parents’ modest life, his uncle was a leader during the revolutionary period.
James exhibits many potentials; that is why his uncle encouraged him to pursue higher education. Consequently, in 1774, he attended William and Mary’s College in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began. He enlisted himself to join the Continental Army serving as a Second Lieutenant. He fought next to George Washington and became part of the famous crossing of Delaware with Washington.
Not only did he excelled in school, but he also excelled in the battlefield; however, an untoward incident happened when he was severely wounded.
After the war, James pursued his degree in law under the apprenticeship of Thomas Jefferson.
Early Career and Political Venture
In 1782, James Monroe’s budding political career started when he was chosen to be part of the Virginia House of Delegates. After a year, he became part of the Congress under the Articles of the Confederation.
During his stay in New York, he met and courted young Elizabeth Kortright, a prominent merchant daughter. They got married a year later, James was twenty-seven, and Elizabeth was only seventeen.
The newlywed migrated to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and opened up a small office to practice law. They had two daughters, Eliza Kortright and Maria Hester. Tragically, they lost a son in infancy.
In 1787, James was chosen to become a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He participated in numerous ramifications, which paved the way for a new government.
He was elected as a Senator in 1790. He was an ally of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Four years later, he was appointed by President Washington to Paris to serve as an ambassador. In 1799, his actions as an ambassador were frowned upon by the federalists.
James became the governor of Virginia, where he served three terms.
In 1803, he was sent back by President Thomas Jefferson to France to negotiate the purchase of Louisiana territory. He also worked as the ambassador to Britain from 1803-1807, with a short diplomatic duty to Spain in 1805.
Upon returning home after his foreign affairs appointment, he again held the position as the governor of Virginia in 1811. After his term, he headed back to Washington D.C. and accepted the Secretary of State position and shortly served as the Secretary of War until 1817.
The era of Good Feelings
James won against the Federalist candidate, Rufus King and was elected as the fifth president of the United States. The era of his presidency gave confidence and a sense of pride to its citizens. It was because of the prosperity of its economy and the end of the victorious Napoleonic War.
The Monroe Doctrine led the United States and other neighboring nations against European colonialism in the United States, Central, and South America.
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