Presidents: James Monroe

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James Monroe was the last President to have served as one of the founding fathers.

James Monroe

James Monroe was born on April 28, 1758 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the son of Spence and Elizabeth Jones Monroe. His home place is on the National Register of Historic Places.

He was tutored first by his mother and later at the Campbell town Academy. In 1774, Monroe entered the College of William and Mary.

In 1774, his father died and he inherited his father’s plantation. His uncle, Judge Joseph Jones, served as executor of the estate and the forged a close relationship.

In early 1776, Monroe dropped out of college and joined the Continental Army. He is considered the last United States Presidents to actively serve in the Revolutionary War.

As a young lieutenant James Monroe was carried from the field terribly wounded. A young volunteer doctor clamped his artery to keep him from bleeding.

After recovering, Monroe was commissioned to command the militia in North Carolina. After he was finished with this duty, he returned to study law under Thomas

James Monroe


In 1782, he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

In 1783, he sold the plantation he’d inherited from his father to assist with his law and political dreams. He went on to own several large plantations, but none were very profitable as he left the running to overseers during his frequent absences.

On February 16,1786 James Monroe married Elizabeth Kortright. The couple would have two daughters and a son who did not survive past two years of age.

In 1790, he was elected by the state of Virginia as a United States Senator.

In 1794, he was appointed Minister to France by President George Washington.

When not in other political offices, James Monroe practiced law. He served as Governor of Virginia for two different terms. The first was from 1799-1802 and the 2nd in 1811.

President Thomas Jefferson sent Monroe to France to assist in the negotiating of the Louisiana Purchase. From 1803-1807, he served as the Minister to the Court of St. James’s in London.

After only serving four months in his second term as Governor of Virginia, President Madison appointed James Monroe as Secretary of State. When the Secretary of War was removed, Monroe also stepped in to help with that post as well.

In 1816, James Monroe won his party nomination for President. With little opposition, he easily won the electoral vote to become President. He became the only president, except for George Washington, to run unopposed for reelection.

James Madison dealt with the economic depression and Panic of 1819, statehood of the Missouri Territory, purchase of Spanish Florida and the hostilities of the Seminole Indians, and the Monroe Doctrine.

Upon the end of his presidency in 1825, President Monroe returned to his plantation Monroe Hill. He operated the family farm until the first year of his presidency when he sold it to the University of Virginia. Monroe Hill is still a part of the grounds of the University of Virginia.

His wife’s ill health and his financial needs caused him to sell off most of his land. His Highland Plantation was sold to his alma mater, the College of William and Mary.

Elizabeth Monroe, his wife, died on September 23, 1830. After her death, he moved to New York City to live with his daugther and her family.

On July 4, 1831, James Monroe died. He died 55 years after the United States Declaration of Independence. Originally buried in New York, his body was re-interred to the President’s Circle at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. The James Monroe Tomb is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.


Nicknames: “The Last Cocked Hat”; “Era-of-Good-Feeling President”

Born: April 28, 1758, in Westmoreland County, Virginia
Died: July 4, 1831, in New York, New York

Father: Spence Monroe
Mother: Elizabeth Jones Monroe
Married: Elizabeth “Eliza” Kortright (1768-1830), on February 16, 1786
Children: Eliza Kortright Monroe (1786-1835);
James Spence Monroe (1799-1800);
Maria Hester Monroe (1803-50)

Religion: Episcopalian
Education: Graduated from College of William and Mary (1776)
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Democratic-Republican

  • Member of Continental Congress, 1783-86
  • United States Senator, 1790-94
  • Minister to France, 1794-96
  • Governor of Virginia, 1799-1802
  • Minister to France and England, 1803-07
  • Secretary of State, 1811-17
  • Secretary of War, 1814-15

  • 1818
    • Congress fixed the number of stripes on the U.S. flag at 13 to honor the original colonies, April 4.
      Anglo-American Conventionset the 49th parallel as the border with Canada.
  • 1819
    • Florida ceded by Spain to the United States on February 22. In exchange the U.S. cancelled $5 million in Spanish debts.
  • 1820
    • The Missouri Compromise, forbade slavery above 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude.
      Monroe reelected.
  • 1823
    • On December 2, Monroe Doctrine delivered to Congress.

1758 Born on April 28th, 1758 in Westmoreland County, Virginia

Educated at the William and Mary College and became a Soldier, Politician and Statesman

1775–83 He fought and was wounded during the American Revolution

1775–83 He fought and was wounded during the American Revolution, the American War of Independence, led by George Washington was fought between Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.

1783-86 Member of Continental Congress

1786 James Monroe married Elizabeth Kortright on February 16, 1786, in New York. They had 3 children.

1790-94 United States Senator

1794-96 Minister to France

1799-1802 Governor of Virginia

1803-07 Minister to France and England

1803 Helped to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase

1811 Battle of Tippecanoe

1811-17 Secretary of State (under Madison)

1812 The War of 1812 which has also been called the second War for Independence, between the United States and Great Britain

1814-15 Secretary of War (under Madison)

1817 He became the fifth President of America in 1817 and served for 8 years until 1825
1817 – 1818 The First Seminole War when American slave owners travelled to Spanish Florida in search of runaway African slaves and Seminole Indians who had been trading weapons with the British in the War of 1812

1823 James Monroe implemented the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 which declared against foreign colonization or intervention in the Americas.

1830 Indian Removal Act
Oregon Trail opens

1831 Nat Turner’s revolt

1831 James Monroe died of debility, most likely tuberculosis at the age of 73, caught after the onset of a cold, and died on July 4, 1831 in New York.



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