JAMES MONROE, fifth president of the United States, was born in Westmoreland county, Virginia, April 28, 1758.
At the age of sixteen he entered William and Mary College, but two years later the Declaration of Independence
having been adopted, he left college and hastened to New York where he joined Washington's army as a military cadet.
At the battle of Trenton Monroe performed gallant service and received a wound in the shoulder, and was promoted
to a captaincy. He acted as aide to Lord Sterling at the battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. Washington
then sent him to Virginia to raise a new regiment, of which he was to be colonel. The eshausted condition of Virginia
made this impossible, but he received his commission. He next entered the law office of Thomas Jefferson to study
law, as there was no opening for him as an officer in the army. In 1782 he was elected to the Virginia assembly,
and the next year he was electcd to the Continental congress. Realizing the inadequacy of the old articles of confederation,
he advocated the calling of a convention to consider their revision, and introduced in congress a resolution empowering
congress to regulate trade, lay import duties, etc. This resolution was referred to a committee, of which he was
chairman, and the report led to the Annapolis convention, which called a general convention to meet at Philadelphia
in 1787, when the constitution was drafted. Mr. Monroe began the practice of law at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and
was soon after elected to the legislature, and appointed as one of the committee to pass upon the adoption of the
constitution. He opposed it, as giving too much power to the central government. He was elected to the United States
senate in 1789, where he allied himself with the Anti Federalists or Republicans," as they were sometimes
called. Although his views as to neutrality between France and England were directly opposed to those of the president,
yet Washington appointed him minister to France. His popularity in France was so great that the antagonism of England
and her friends in this country brought about his recall. He then became governor of Virginia. He was sent as envoy
to France in 1802; minister to England in 1803; and envoy to Spain in 1805. The next year he returned to his estate
in 'Virginia, and with an ample inheritance enjoyed a few years of repose. He was again called to be governor of
Virginia, and was then appointed secretary of state by President Madison. The war with England soon resulted, and
when the capital was burned by the British, Mr. Monroe became secretary of war also, and planned the measures for
the defense of New Orleans, The treasury being exhausted and credit gone, he pledged his own estate, and thereby
made possible the victory of Jackson at New Orleans.
In 1817 Mr. Monroe became president of the United States, having been a candidate of the "Republican "
party, which at that time had begun to be called the "Democratic" party. In 1820 he was re elected, having
two hundred and thirty one electoral votes out of two hundred and thirty two. His administration is known as the
''Era of good feeling," and party lines were almost wiped out. The slavery question began to! assume importance
at this time, and the Missouri Compromise was passed. The famous ''Monroe Doctrine" originated in a great
state paper of President Monroe upon the rumored interference of the Holy Alliance to prevent the formation of
free republic in South America. President Monroe acknowledged their independence, and promulgated his great "Doctrine,"
which has been held in reverence since. Mr. Monroe's. death occurred in New York on July 4, 1831.
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.
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