James Monroe 1817-1825 

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James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States, served from 1817 to 1825. He was preceded by James Madison and succeeded by John Quincy Adams. During Monroe’s presidency, he worked hard to promote stability and national unity. He is best known for his foreign policy and the Monroe Doctrine, issued in 1823. His legacy includes protecting American interests abroad and establishing solid diplomatic ties with many foreign powers.

James Monroe was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on April 28, 1758. Monroe was a Democrat-Republican during his time in office. His Vice President was Daniel Tomkins, and his Secretary of State was John Quincy Adams. During his two-term presidency, Monroe firmly established the United States as a solid and independent nation domestically and abroad due to his successful foreign policy initiatives.

Major Accomplishments

James Monroe is known for various accomplishments during his presidency, one of the most important being the Marshall Court Decisions, specifically McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). This particular decision established an important precedent that affirmed Congress’s constitutional power to create a national bank and gave Congress broad powers over the states. This was a significant victory for supporters of a robust federal government, and it continued to be relied upon by courts for many years afterward.

Two critical items were decided during his presidency: Dartmouth College Case (1819) and Gibbons v. Ogden (1824). The Dartmouth College Case was a landmark case that established the principle of contract law in U.S. courts, solidifying the legal protection for corporations. In Gibbons v Ogden, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had exclusive authority to regulate interstate commerce, ruling out state-level business regulation. These two cases are still influential today and set a precedence for how the American legal system functions.

Adams Onis Treaty

In 1819, President James Monroe secured the Acquisition of Florida from Spain. Through the Adams Onis Treaty, Monroe obtained control of Florida in exchange for American control of Texas. This treaty also specified a border between Spanish and American possessions along the Sabine River and provided for a payment of 5 million dollars by the United States to Spain. The acquisition  of Florida by Adams Onis Treaty greatly expanded U.S. territory, solidifying its place in the Western Hemisphere.

Missouri Compromise

James Monroe oversaw the Missouri Compromise in 1820. The Missouri Compromise aimed to regulate the balance between free and enslaved person states by allowing Missouri to enter as a slave state. At the same time, Maine would be admitted as a free state, maintaining the existing balance in Congress. Additionally, it prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of 36°30′ latitude, except in Missouri. This compromise was essential to maintaining peace between different regions in America during Monroe’s presidency.

Monroe Doctrine

James Monroe is best known for issuing the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. The doctrine declared that any attempt by a European country to colonize or interfere with the affairs of any independent nation in North or South America would be viewed as an act of aggression and that the United States would come to its defense. It also asserted that any attempt to establish a new colony in either hemisphere would be seen as a threat to U.S. security and would not be tolerated. The Monroe Doctrine was an essential foreign policy principle for almost two centuries.

James Monroe is well known for introducing the Sectional Tariff of 1824. This tariff was designed to protect the manufacturing interests of the Northeast by levying duties on imported goods. It was the first attempt by Congress to create a protectionist policy and had a significant impact on American economic history. The Sectional Tariff of 1824 provided economic security and stability to an expanding and diversifying nation when many were uncertain about the future of the U.S. industry.

Corrupt Bargain

In 1824, the presidential election was won by James Monroe. However, it was not because he received the most votes from the citizens but rather due to a “Corrupt Bargain” in which Henry Clay helped swing the election for Monroe. This move led to great outrage as it seemed that the voters had been ignored and their will disregarded in favor of political gain. Although there was no concrete evidence to prove this claim, it cast a shadow over the legitimacy of Monroe’s victory. It caused many to question whether he had fairly won the election. This election would come to be known as one of the most infamous in American history and forever changed how the public viewed elections.

James Monroe passed away on July 4, 1831, at 73 and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. His death came just five years after he played an essential role in helping to establish the nation’s independence from Great Britain during his presidency. He will forever be remembered for his lasting contributions to America’s history.

“In this great nation, there is but one order, that of the people.”

“Monroe was so honest that if you turned his soul inside out, there would not be a spot on it.”

John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States, serving from 1825 to 1829. He was a great leader after George Washignton. 

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