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President James Monroe

Updated on January 6, 2017

James Monroe (1758-1831) was the 5th president of the United States (1817-25)

Born in Westmoreland County, Virgina. He attended William and Mary College and studied law (1780-83) under Thomas Jefferson, whose lifelong friend and political supporter he became. In 1786 he married Elizabeth Kortright; they had three children.

Monroe was wounded in the American Revolution, during which he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He served in Congress under the Articles of Confederation and opposed the adoption of the US Constitution. He served as a diplomat, as governor of Virginia, and in the US Senate.

When Jefferson became president (1801) he sent Monroe on various special missions to Europe. Monroe and Robert Livingston negot1ated the Louisiana Purchase (1803). He was secretary of state under President Madison and also served briefly as secretary of war. Chosen by the Jeffersonians to succeed Madison, he was easily elected.

Monroe's administration is remembered as the "era of good feelings." Relations improved with Britain, France, Spain, and Canada. His most impressive achievement was the Monroe Doctrine. The Missouri Compromise (1820) settled the slavery issue for three decades. Monroe encouraged the settling of Liberia, whose capital, Monrovia, was named after him.

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