James Monroe Biography
He joined George Washington’s army in 1776. The war against Great Britain ended with the recognition of the independence of the United States.
James Monroe made a brilliant political career: he was a member of the Continental Congress (1783-86), a senator (1791-94), an ambassador in Paris (1794-96)
In London (1893-06), Governor of Virginia (1799-1802 and 1811), Secretary of State (1811-17) and War (1814-15) and, finally, President of the United States (1817-25).
Since he opposed the passage of the Constitution of 1787, James Monroe was a qualified defender of the autonomy of states against the power of the federal government.
Following the line of the Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (the antecedent of the current Democratic Party).
Once elected president (1816), he considered himself more a statesman than a party and tried to represent the entire nation.
As a result, political tensions between federalists and republicans eased during his two terms.
Presidential Address by James Monroe
The voice of President James Monroe, in an official speech
James Monroe was the son of Spence Monroe, a middle-class wood and tobacco farmer; and Elizabeth Jones Monroe, who came from a low-class family and who, along with her husband, was responsible for cultivating the land of the family plantation.
He was educated at the Campbelltown Academy and later, at the College of William and Mary, both located in his home state of Virginia.
Upon graduation from the law, Monroe enlisted to fight in the Continental Army, serving with distinction at the Battle of Trenton, where he was shot and wounded in his left shoulder.
He opposed the Constitution of 1787 defender of the autonomy of the States against the power of the federal government, following the line of the Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Ambassador in Europe
Opposed to the George Washington administration, he was nevertheless appointed by this minister in Paris in 1794.
The treaty liked very little in the United States, and Monroe intimated to the French that it would not be ratified.
The Washington administration could be overthrown and things could improve if in 1796 Jefferson was elected. Without knowing these intrigues, Washington withdrew him from Paris in 1796.
Jefferson appointed him Minister plenipotentiary to France and returned to Paris in 1803. On May 2, 1803 (retroactive to April 30) negotiated an agreement by which France ceded Louisiana to the United States.
In exchange for twelve million dollars in cash and three million in the forgiveness of claims. The territory acquired amounted to more than two and a half million square kilometers, more than England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal combined.
In July 1803 Monroe assumed new functions as a minister in London. In the autumn of 1804, he moved to Madrid, to assist Pinckney in his efforts to acquire the two Floridas from Spain.
Also satisfactorily define the limits of Louisiana, recently purchased from France. After negotiating without success until May 1805, Monroe returned to London, and in December 1807 to the United States.
James Monroe Presidents
Here’s everything you need to know about James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, in just 60 seconds.
Other positions in the government
With Madison as president, he was Secretary of State from 1811 and Secretary of War and State from 1814.
In 1816 he was elected president and re-elected in 1820
Under his government, the Missouri Compromise was approved, which in 1820 paralleled 36th 30 as a division for slavery in the country. No state that was farther north would be accepted if it was a slaveholder.
In 1819 Spain ran the danger of losing East Florida and John Quincy Adams, secretary of state Monroe administration negotiated with the Spanish foreign minister, Luis de Onis.
Adams was able to find a border, between Louisiana and the territory of Texas, absolutely favorable to his interests and the border was fixed on the western margin of the Sabine, Red and Arkansas rivers to the continental crest of the Rocky Mountains.
The treaty, signed and ratified in 1821, was very well received, given the acquisition price of Florida.
Five million dollars paid directly to American citizens who maintained claims against Spain.
This meant for the United States the establishment of the western border and the wide exit to the Pacific.
In the autumn of 1822 all continental America, from the Great Lakes to Cape Horn, was independent and all its nations, except Mexico and Brazil, were republics.
Only Belize, Alto Peru (then Bolivia) and the Guianas were kept under the control of European powers.
The North American government and the British took advantage of the existing conjuncture and they hurried to write a joint declaration that prevented a Spanish expedition to retake its old possessions in America.
Jefferson considered such a situation as the most important since independence and raised the possibility of annexation of any of the Spanish provinces, which he later discarded.
Annexation of Cuba
In mid-1822 a group of Cuban annexationists decided to propose to President James Monroe the annexation of the island.
Putting as a condition their admission as a full state of the Union and the recognition by it that if the Cubans wished they could constitute two states, previous division of the Cuban territory.
The proposal was discussed by the cabinet between September 26 and 30 of that year. The moment in which John Quincy Adams Secretary of State and next occupant of the presidential chair.
He decides the rejection in spite of being a supporter of the annexation because he considered that his acceptance would lead to a war with England. Which the young American republic was not prepared at that time.
The Monroe cabinet meets on March 15,16 and 17 and on April 2, 1823, and agrees to support the status quo (Cuba in the hands of Spain).
Oppose the transfer of the island to another power that was not the United States and communicate to Madrid what was agreed, warning him that if the island ceded, the United States would help Cubans achieve their independence.
The Monroe Doctrine (America for Americans), was elaborated by John Quincy Adams and attributed to James Monroe in 1823 and announced on December 2 of the same year.
Directed mainly to the European powers with the intention that the United States would not tolerate any interference or interference from the European powers in America.
The doctrine was presented by President James Monroe during his seventh speech to Congress on the State of the Union.
It was initially taken with doubts and later with enthusiasm. It was a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States.
The doctrine was conceived by its authors, especially John Quincy Adams, as a proclamation by the United States of its opposition to colonialism, but has since been reinterpreted in various ways.
The principles of the doctrine originally proclaimed can be summarized in three points:
Oppose any future European colonization in the New World.
Abstention of the United States in the political affairs of Europe.
No to the intervention of Europe in the governments of the American hemisphere.
The end of the Monroe presidency was marked by succession disputes, which blocked the president’s political initiatives.
Movie James Monroe
Prior to his time in office, President Monroe served as United States Secretary of State. Enjoy this Presidential Minute with James Monroe.
The death of James Monroe
The end of his presidency was marked by succession disputes, which blocked the president’s political initiatives. Retired from public life, he lived his last years with great economic difficulties.
In 1830 his wife dies and Monroe moves to New York City to live with his daughter Maria Hester. He died on July 4, 1831, the victim of a heart failure and the tuberculosis of which he was ill.
James Monroe approved the purchase of Florida from Spain in 1819.
Monroe signed the Missouri Compromise in 1820, which allowed Missouri to join the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state. This law was repealed three years later by Dred Scott’s decision when the Supreme Court ruled that Congress did not have the authority to prohibit slavery in U.S. territories.
In a message to Congress in December 1823, Monroe stated that the United States would not tolerate European intervention in the Western Hemisphere. This became known as the Monroe Doctrine.
The Monroe Doctrine is the great legacy of James Monroe. It is still part of U.S. foreign policy today.
James Monroe Quotes
- National honor is the national property of the highest value.
- The best form of government is the one most likely to avoid the greatest sum of evil.
- Public lands are a public action, which must be eliminated in the best way for the nation.