Tuesday, February 21, 2012

10 Fun Facts About James Monroe

James Monroe, the 5th President of the United States
Be sure to check out my newest book, Washington's Nightmare: A Brief History of American Political Parties, available now at Amazon.com! 


1.  James Monroe was born in 1758 in Virginia.  Born into a prosperous family, Monroe received a good education, but dropped out of college in 1775 to join the Continental Army.  He served as an officer and was involved in Washington's famous Crossing of the Delaware.  In Leutze's famous painting of the event, Monroe is depicted right behind Washington, holding the U.S. flag.  In the Battle of Trenton, Monroe was wounded in the shoulder.  He was the last U.S. president to serve in the Revolutionary War.

2.  Monroe never finished his college degree.  Instead, he studied law under Thomas Jefferson, hoping to use his training as a means of entering politics.  It worked.  He entered the Virginia House of Delegates in 1782, and was elected to the Continental Congress the following year.  In 1786 he married Elizabeth Kortright, and together they had two daughters and a son.  The son died in childhood, but his second daughter became the first presidential child to get married in a White House ceremony.

3.  After the adoption of the Constitution, Monroe ran for a seat in the new U.S. House of Representatives in 1789, but was defeated by James Madison.  Instead, Monroe won a seat in the Senate the following year, where he very quickly allied himself with the Jeffersonians - those early politicians who supported agriculture and states' rights over a strong centralized government.

4.  In 1794, Monroe was named Minister to France by president Washington.  An ardent supporter of French interests, he was outraged by the passage of the Jay Treaty, which effectively allied the U.S. with Britain, and kept the U.S. neutral in the ongoing war between Britain and France.  In 1796, he was fired by Washington for working against the Washington administration in regards to French interests.

5.  Elected Governor of Virginia in 1799, Monroe called out the milita to put down a slave rebellion, after which 26 slaves were hanged.  The leader of the rebellion had been a literate (that is, educated) slave, and as a result of the rebellion, Virginia and other states began passing laws aimed at limiting the amount of education slaves could receive.

6.  Named Minister to Britain during the Jefferson presidency, Monroe brokered a renewal of the Jay Treaty that he had so vociferously opposed a decade earlier (and which had ultimately cost him his job).  Jefferson, however, refused to accept the treaty, as it did not end the British practice of impressment (forcibly removing British sailors from American ships and conscripting them to serve on British ships).  As a result, the two countries inched closer to war.

7.  Monroe served as Secretary of State under James Madison, and when the War of 1812 began going badly, Monroe was named Secretary of War to replace the previous secretary.  No replacement for Secretary of State was ever named, however, so Monroe effectively held both offices at the same time - the only person in history to hold two cabinet posts under the same president.  When a peace treaty was finally signed, Monroe resigned as Secretary of War and resumed the full-time duties of Secretary of State.

8.  Monroe ran for president in 1816, and due to the collapse of the old Federalist party, he won a landslide victory against a weak Federalist opponent, winning all but three states, and all but 34 of the electoral votes. In 1820, running for re-election, the Federalist party - now all but defunct - didn't even run a candidate, and Monroe became the only president since George Washington to run unopposed.  He won every state, and would have won every electoral vote, but one elector in New Hampshire decided to cast a vote for Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, who wasn't even running.  As a result, Washington remains the only president to ever win a unanimous electoral vote.

9.  Because of the collapse of the Federalist party, Monroe had little to no organized opposition during his two terms in office.  This resulted in what commentators at the time called "The Era of Good Feelings" - a time when there was very little rancor in Washington, and the country was sailing smoothly.  Monroe's most famous legacy is the so-called Monroe Doctrine, which stated that the U.S. would no longer tolerate European intervention in North or South America.  Monroe is also the only U.S. president to have a foreign capital named after him (Monrovia, capital of the African nation Liberia).  

10.  Monroe was the last U.S. president who still dressed in the 18th century fashion of powdered wigs and knee breeches.  He was also the last 2-term president to succeed a 2-term president from his own party.  (In fact, no 2-term president succeeded any 2-term president until Bill Clinton and George W. Bush).  Monroe is also the last president who was never photographed.  Monroe was the first president to deliver an inaugural address outdoors to a public crowd.  Monroe is also considered one of the least religious presidents in U.S. history, with no known religious affiliation.  Finally, Monroe was the first president to live in the White House when it was actually white (prior to Monroe's presidency, the White House was gray).  He died on July 4, 1831, the third president in a row to die on Independence Day.

43 comments:

Trent N. said...

I know you don't get many remarks on this series, but I wanted to let you know that we are reading.....and I for one, am really enjoying.

Trent

Scott said...

Thanks Trent. That's nice to know :) Writers tend to be pretty damn needy. hahaha

Anonymous said...

This is really helpful I have a project due in my advanced E.L.A class about presidents and this is perfect!!

Delaney

Scott said...

Great! Glad I was able to help, Delaney.

Bryan Johnson said...

I have a report due soon and this is perfect for my report

Thanks

Scott said...

Glad this was helpful. Good luck with the report!

Anonymous said...

This is helping me as well on a report. Mine is about James Monroe. My teacher said I had nothing "wow" in my rough draft I turned in. This was perfect!

Scott said...

Hopefully your teacher will find this information to be "wow" enough! Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

thanks was very helpful!

Anonymous said...

I loved the fun facts! I have a report on James Monroe soon and this was a wonderful website that sure gave me lots of helpful info.

Thanks

Scott said...

You're welcome. And thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Thank you... Scott? Yeah, okay well thank you I have to write a summary of each president up to Coolidge and this is perfect to finding the basics (which is what I want). Thanks!

Scott said...

Glad I could help.

Anonymous said...

this sucks

Anonymous said...

I have a rough draft due and was having trouble finding a site. When I found this site, I bounced on my bed with joy slates that I found a very great depth of information.


Thank you SO very much!

Anonymous said...

Hello Scott. I would please like to know who James Monroe's parents were. Otherwise, this is a great depth of information.

Anonymous said...

I have been working on a "Presidential Encyclopedia" for my history class and this was really helpful for an "interesting fact" that was needed at the end of each page.

Scott said...

Thanks for leaving a comment. Glad the information helped!

Rachel Brooks said...

Thank for all this info. This REALLY helped in my advanced Social Studies class. You are awesome!!!!!!






Thanks!
Rachel

Scott said...

Excellent! Glad it helped.

Anonymous said...

Who were James Monroe's parents?

Scott said...

Spence Monroe and Elizabeth Jones.

Brooklyn Lei said...

Um Scott, how was James Monroe elected to be in a Continental Congress if the first one and second one both happened before he was born. I'm asking because the second Continental Congress still happened before him in 1775 so I don't understand this. Please answer when possible.

Thank you.

Scott said...

Monroe was born in 1758. The first two Continental Congresses were in the mid 1770's. Monroe didn't serve in either of those, however. He served in the Congress of the Confederation, which was basically the congress that functioned under the Articles of Confederation (before the U.S. constitution was approved in the late 1780's). That Congress of the Confederation is sometimes referred to as a Continental Congress too. That would make it the "third" continental congress. Make sense?

Brooklyn Lei said...

Yes. I didn't run by when he was born. It's just that in my Social Studies class, we didn't consider the Continental Congresses to be called something else. The Congress of the Confederation in my class was called as it is. That's why I didn't understand. Thank you for helping!

Scott said...

You're welcome!

Anonymous said...

Me to

Kjestina Giger - Heaton said...

I really loved this series. Working in a library I was so happy to find quick facts for my presidential display at the Arkansas supreme court.

Scott said...

Excellent! Glad this helped.

Anonymous said...

I'm 14 and I have a huge project due of the US Presidents... Thanks!!

Scott said...

You're welcome :)

Anonymous said...

thank you this helped alot i have to do an assignment and this helped alot thanks scott btw who were his parents

Scott said...

Spence Monroe and Elizabeth Jones

Anonymous said...

THIS HELPS A BUNCH THANKS! x

Anonymous said...

I guess Madison was still alive when Monroe died? the "in a row" part is a little confusing. I thought this info was fantastic, but would have loved to have seen some of your sources.

Scott said...

Yeah, I can see why the "in a row" was confusing. Madison was still alive when Monroe died. In 1826, both Adams and Jefferson died on July 4. The next president to die - James Monroe - also died on July 4.

As for sources, I used a variety of online sources, as well as one print source on presidential facts.

Anonymous said...

I need to know his weaknesses

Anonymous said...

This project is due today

Samantha said...

Thanks So much for the help, I love that the facts were not short choppy sentences, I really need more websites to be like this because I had to do a report on 3 presidents and this really helped thanks!!!!!:)

Scott said...

Glad the information helped, Samantha. Good luck.

Hunter Welch said...

Hello scott im a 16 year old writer and a active one at that I would like to know if you have and tips for me getting published I love writing chillers and horror story's because they are my favorites to read but I have a hard time ending my books my longest one is 400 pages of straight up gore and action but it would never get published because of spelling errors but please help me with a new idea for a new book. thanks comment back or email me at Hunter21700@yahoo.com

Scott said...

The best advice I can give you, Hunter, is to keep writing. A writer doesn't have to be a great speller; that's what they make editors for! And besides, your spelling and grammar will get better the more you write.

The other thing you need to do is to read a lot. No one who wants to be a musician never listens to music, and no one who wants to play NBA basketball never watches basketball games. Spend at least as much time reading as writing.

As for getting published, finish a book first, then send it around to literary agents to see what they think. I'd say it's unlikely any agent is going to give much notice to a 16-year-old, unless you are exceptionally good, but it never hurts to give it a try. Plus, it will be good practice for later. A good resource for contact information for agents is www.pw.org. That's also a great website for creative writers in general.

Hope this helps.

~ Scott

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. It really helped. I have a project when we dress up as president and memorize a full speech and this helped for the 20 slide presentation. thanks


-Amanda

Serene Musings Books of the Year, 2005-2015