Golden Nuggets from U. S. History

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The Monroe Doctrine

One of James Monroe's nicknames was "The Last Cocked Hat" but he is best remembered for the Monroe Doctrine which America still considers in force.

James Monroe served as the 5th President from March 4, 1817 to March 3, 1825. One unique thing about him was that he had two nicknames: "The Last Cocked Hat" and "Era-of-Good-Feeling President."

He was born April 28, 1758, in Westmoreland County, Virginia and died July 4, 1831, in New York, NY. He is buried in Richmond, VA. On February 16, 1786 he married Elizabeth "Eliza" Kortright and they had three children:

Eliza Kortright Monroe (1786-1835);
James Spence Monroe (1799-1800);
Maria Hester Monroe (1803-50).

Monroe was a lawyer, graduating from the College of William and Mary (1776), a Democratic-Republican, and served as a Lt. Colonel (Militia) during the American revolution. He was also:

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

In 1803, as Jefferson's Minister to France, he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase.

During his Presidency he supported passage of the Missouri Compromise. This barred slavery north and west of Missouri and permitted pairing Missouri as a slave state with the free state of Maine. Also admitted during his term was Mississippi, Illinois, and Alabama.

In foreign affairs, Monroe proclaimed that Spain and Portugal would not be allowed to win back former Latin American colonies and that Russia would not be allowed to encroach southward on the Pacific coast.

In Monroe's seventh annual message to Congress, December 2, 1823 he said in part:

"...At the proposal of the Russian Imperial Government, made through the minister of the Emperor residing here, a full power and instructions have been transmitted to the minister of the United States at St. Petersburg to arrange by amicable negotiation the respective rights and interests of the two nations on the northwest coast of this continent. A similar proposal has been made by His Imperial Majesty to the Government of Great Britain, which has likewise been acceded to. ...as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers..."

He then went on in his address to discuss turmoil in Spain and Portugal and said:

"We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintain it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States."

By 1831, twenty years after his death, these policies became known as the Monroe Doctrine.

Philosophos Historia


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