On March 4, 1817, James Monroe swore as the fifth president of the United States of America, and reign the Era of Good Feelings. He is also known as the last Founding Father who served as the president.
He was able to serve as a governor, as an ambassador, even held a cabinet position twice in one term, which made his way to the White House; however, did it ever cross your mind to think about the policies he contributed? How did it shape the nation, and how did the Monroe Doctrine become his ultimate legacy?
First Term of Monroe administration
James Monroe served as the ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1803-1807. He is very aware that there is a need to improve the nation’s relationship with Britain after the War of 1812. On April 28, 1817, the Rush-Bagot agreement transpired. Acting Secretary of State, Richard Rush sent a document to Britain in August 1816. The final version of the said treaty, Monroe and British foreign minister Robert Stewart Castlereagh agreed-upon limits the naval tonnage and weaponry on the Great Lakes in North America.
In June 1817, he toured New England in the absence of his cabinet members. It was when the “Era of Good Feelings” was coined. He fosters a sense of solidarity through socializing and engaging in contracts with local politicians, public presence, and some private meetings with opposing Federalists.
On December 10, 1817, Mississippi became the twentieth state.
After General Andrew Jackson captured the Fort Carlos de Barrancas, the president frowned upon the exploitation. There are numerous protests from Spain, France, Britain, and James Monroe acknowledges that General Jackson’s action equates to acts of war. But despite all the controversies against General Jackson, Monroe still recognizes the capturing of Florida as a favorable strategic location to conduct negotiations with the Spaniards.
On October 20, 1818, British and American envoys concluded a treaty at the Anglo-American Convention. They tried to resolve some issues of the War of 1812. They both agreed that the 49th parallel of the northern border of Louisiana Purchase. The split was from Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains. Britain also provided compensation to the slaves who came from British lines. It concluded the Rush-Bagot Agreement.
Illinois and Alabama became the twenty-first and twenty-second state on December 3 and 14, 1818.
At the beginning of 1819, The Era of Good Feelings is gradually fading due to the forthcoming Panic of 1819. Because of the inflating population, there has been a significant inability to secure bank loans.
Subsequently, a debate started over Missouri’s statehood. Congress, spearheaded by Congressman James Tallmadge, Jr. proposed to amend the bill of Missouri’s admission to the union. Tallmadge, Jr. also banned the introduction of slaves into the said state. The president signed the Missouri Compromise on March 6, 1820.
Missouri became an official state on March 10, 1821, on James Monroe’s second term.
On February 22, 1819, the treaty transferred Florida from Spain to the United States for $5 million. It is known as the Transcontinental Treaty or the Adams-Onis treaty. The negotiation happened between Secretary of the State, John Quincy, and Spanish Minister to Washington, Luis de Onis.
Maine became part of the union on March 15, 1820.
The beginning of Monroe’s second term
Three days before his second term began, he signed the Military Establishment Act on March 2, 1821. Secretary of War, John Calhoun, received the order. It aims to reduce the army’s workforce since the state needs to prioritize commerce and trade to attract foreign investors and prevent intimidation.
On August 20, 1823, Richard Rush sent a letter containing the “No-transfer” policy, which was advocated by the USA. It withholds European powers to exchange colonies.
In James Monroe’s annual address on December 2, 1822, he formally announced his presidential legacy, the Monroe Doctrine. Working together with John Quincy, they came up with this policy due to European expansion matters. They attempted to colonize the Western Hemisphere. It prevents European countries from reclaiming the American continent. It also showcases an established relationship between the United States, Central, and South America to liberate them from Spanish colonialization.
President Monroe released a statement in November 1823. It asserts a response to the Spanish monarchy who wished to reclaim its colonial empire in America.
The Principle of the Monroe Doctrine envisioned future European colonization to the Western Hemisphere. He does not wish European countries to impose their powers to their government. It also emphasizes the non-interference with its government and vice versa to balance the forces.
The culmination of Monroe’s second term
On April 30, 1824, President Monroe signed the General Survey Bill. It authorized the president to exercise eminent domain for transport roads, canals, commercial and military usage. Monroe gave authority for the surveys to the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He also purchased the stocks in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Co. for $300,000.
On May 22, 1824, the Tariff 1824 enacted. It protects the industry to support local commodities and goods. Although, manufacturers from the North benefited at the expense of those from the South who mostly depend on imports.
In November of 1824, President Monroe refused to run for the third term in office.
Before his term ends, Monroe removed the west of Mississippi to alleviate earlier Cherokee claims.
On the last day as president, President Monroe barred the interstate artery construction to Ohio, also known as the Cumberland Road bill.