1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

James Monroe: Significant Facts and Brief Biography


James Monroe
President James Monroe

President James Monroe

Library of Congress

Life span: Born: April 28, 1758, Westmoreland, Virginia
Died: July 4, 1831, New York City, age 73 years.

Presidential term: March 4, 1817 - March 4, 1825

Monroe's two terms as president were often referred to as the Era of Good Feelings. The term relates to America having come through the War of 1812, and thus entering a period of relative calm.

However, Monroe's administration was beset with serious problems, including a major financial panic in 1819. And a crisis over slavery was averted with the passage of the Missouri Compromise.

Accomplishments: Monroe had served as secretary of state during the administration of James Madison, and his own administration was marked by general success in foreign affairs.

And, of course, Monroe is best remembered for the Monroe Doctrine, a statement of American resolve which became a pillar of American foreign policy.

Supported by: Monroe had been closely affiliated with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and their Democratic-Republican Party.

Opposed by: By the time Monroe ran for president in 1816, he did not face very strong opposition, and he won that election easily. And in the election of 1820, Monroe had no opponent at all.

Presidential campaigns: Monroe was the choice of some members of Jefferson's party to succeed Jefferson in 1808, but the Monroe candidacy never materialized. And when Monroe ran for president in 1816 and 1820, he did not have to mount much of a campaign.

Spouse and family: Monroe married Elizabeth Kortright on February 16, 1786. They had two daughters and a son.

Education: Monroe attended the College of William and Mary but left to join the Continental Army. He later studied law under Thomas Jefferson.

Early career: Monroe was active in Virginia politics, and served as a United States senator. He served as ambassador to France in the 1790s, and after returning to America served as governor of Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson sent him to France in 1803, and he helped secure the Louisiana Purchase. He stayed in France as the American ambassador until 1807.

In the administration of James Madison, Monroe served as secretary of state, and for a time as both secretary of state and secretary of war.

Unusual facts: Monroe fought in the Revolutionary War and was wounded at the Battle of Trenton. The iconic 19th century painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" showing Monroe in Washington's boat, holding the flag.

Death and funeral: Monroe died in New York City, where he had been living with his daughter's family, on July 4, 1831. Of the first five presidents, Monroe was the third to die on July 4. (Monroe died five years to the day following the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who had both died on July 4, 1826.)

Legacy: Monroe is best remembered for the Monroe Doctrine, and generally for his work in foreign policy.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.