James Monroe was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia to Spence Monroe and Elizabeth Jones Monroe. His father was a planter and a carpenter. His mother did not have a job. He had 7 siblings; Andrew Augustine Monroe, Joseph Jones Monroe, Spence Monroe, Elliott Monroe, John Monroe, Jane Monroe, and Elizabeth Buckner. They were a very poor family. Both of his parents passed away in 1774. James was expected to take over his father's estate and take care of his four younger brothers and sisters.
James was home schooled until the age of 16 where he was enrolled in Campbelltown Academy. He enrolled at the college of William and Mary for a higher education but soon dropped out to join the rebellion against King George. He became a part of the Continental Army and fought in the battles of Lexington and Concord. He discontinued his war efforts and studied law under the guidance of Thomas Jefferson.
Before he became president, James left the army and decided to become a lawyer. He learned the law by working for Thomas Jefferson's law practice. He later went into politics. He became a member of the Virginia Legislature and then a delegate to the Continental Congress. After the United States was formed as a new country, he became a member of the US congress and then Governor of Virginia. Monroe worked for several presidents. He went to France for Thomas Jefferson to help with buying the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the size of the United States. He also served as Secretary of State and Secretary of War for President James Madison.
James Monroe was the 5th president. When James Madison announced that he would only serve two terms, Monroe was virtually guaranteed to receive the Democratic-Republican party’s nomination as successor. He had only one main opponent within his own party, William Crawford, and even Crawford did not try very hard to run against him for fear of potentially losing a cabinet seat in a Monroe presidency. There was very little negative campaigning, as Monroe was popular throughout the country. By 1820, the Federalist party had declined so greatly that it did not even recommend a candidate to run against President Monroe. During his presidency, five new states were admitted to the country. These states were Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine, and Missouri. Monroe also further added to the expansion of the United States by buying the territory of Florida from Spain. He served two terms between 1817-1825.
Impact and Legacy
Monroe made a US policy that stated that if a European country were to attack or colonize any country in the Americas, the United States would consider it an act of war. This policy later became known as the Monroe Doctrine. He was president during the Era of Good Feelings and he had a positive effect. One of his biggest impacts was the Monroe Doctrine. He was one of the most qualified men to assume the office.
"Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all-liberty!"