Interesting Facts About James Monroe: Famous For The Monroe Doctrine

While often regarded as quiet and dignified, the 5th President of the United States of America, James Monroe, was a wartime hero and a fierce competitor in the political ring.
He was close to several of the Founding Fathers, taking a particular liking to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Like all politicians, he had both allies and adversaries, but few who knew him personally ever had an unkind word to say about the man that served in more roles of government than most Founding Fathers.
James Monroe is most famous for the Monroe Doctrine. This was a bold statement that told the European countries that the United States would not stand for further intervention or colonization in the Americas.
James grew up in the Virginia colony at the time when tensions were mounting between the American colonies and their British rulers. His father was a farmer and a carpenter. When he was just sixteen years old his father died and James was expected to take over his father’s estate and take care of his four younger brothers and sisters. Fortunately, James was a bright and capable young man.
James enrolled in the College of William and Mary, but his education was cut short when the Revolutionary War broke out. He joined the local Virginia Militia and then the Continental Army. Soon he held the rank of Major and fought under the command of George Washington. At the battle of Trenton, he was shot in the shoulder, but recovered that winter at Valley Forge.
Monroe left the army a dedicated war hero and decided to become a lawyer. He learned the law by working for Thomas Jefferson’s law practice. He later went into politics where he was very successful.
First, 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 also gained experience by working 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.
Do you want to discover more interesting things about James Monroe? Read on. Interesting indeed, here are FIVE facts you might not know about James Monroe.
1. During Monroe’s presidency five new states were admitted into the country. These included 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.
2. In 1823, Monroe decided that the US would no longer allow European countries to colonize or conquer independent states in the Americas. This included South America as well, where many countries had just gained independence from Spain. He 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.
3. He is the only person in history to hold two cabinet positions at once. During his political career, Monroe held a number of positions before becoming President in 1817. He served in the Virginia assembly, was a delegate to the Virginia Convention, and was a strong supporter of adding a Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.
He was Minister to France and Great Britain and governor of Virginia. But under his friend, President James Madison, Monroe was appointed as both Secretary of State (1811-1817) and Secretary of War (1814–1815) simultaneously. A first that hasn’t been repeated by any other politician since.
4. He was the only President, aside from Washington, to run unopposed. After the War of 1812, the Federalist party began dying. By the time James Madison’s presidency was coming to a close, they did not formally nominate a candidate for President.
Madison’s party, the Democratic-Republicans, had two main competitors for candidacy—James Monroe and William H. Crawford. Crawford had a lot of support in Congress, but wasn’t as popular with the people as was Monroe.
Sensing Monroe would succeed, Crawford never launched a full-out campaign, as he was hoping to still be able to secure a cabinet appointment if Monroe was the next President. Monroe secured the nomination 65–54, with Gov. Daniel D. Tompkins as his vice presidential running mate. Some former Federalists threw their support to Rufus King, but Monroe succeeded with 183 electoral votes.
5. James Monroe was the first president to travel by way of steamboat. This momentous occasion occurred while on his goodwill tour of the Southern States. (He also took a tour of the Northern States, making him the first president since Washington to travel so widely among the states).
Towns across the country greeted him with parades, lavish dinners, and other grand events. The city of Charleston, South Carolina actually barbecued an ox in honor of his visit.

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