James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States and considered the last Founding Father of America from the Virginia Dynasty and Republican generation. Monroe was born on April 28, 1758 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to Spence Monroe, a planter and carpenter, and Elizabeth Jones, an atypically well educated woman for the era. Monroe lost both of his parents by age 16 and inherited his father's estate at a young age. Monroe was educated during his youth at Campbelltown Academy, led by the Reverend Archibald Campbell of Washington Parish. Under Campbell's instruction, Monroe excelled beyond his peers devouring Latin and mathematics. In 1774, Monroe enrolled at the College of William and Mary.
James Monroe never attained a degree as, in 1776, he dropped out of college before graduating to join the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Following the war, Monroe studied law from 1780 to 1783 under the instruction of Thomas Jefferson. Monroe went on to practice law in Fredricksburg, Virginia which led to his 1782 election into to the Virginia House of Delegates. Monroe then served in the Continental Congress as an anti-Federalist at the Virginia convention. On February 16, 1786, Monroe married Elizabeth Kortright in the midst of political turmoil. Two years later, Monroe strongly opposed the ratification of the U.S. Constitution because it granted central government too much power. Monroe also criticized the absence of a Bill of Rights but agreed to the ramification of the Constitution in 1788 with the promise to address the issues after the newly formed government was more secure. After the Constitution was ratified, Monroe was defeated by James Madison for the House seat in the First Congressional Congress. In 1790, Monroe was elected to be a U.S. Senator and joined the Jeffersonian "Democratic-Republican" party. Monroe served as Minister to France from 1794-1796.
Monroe gained political experience as the Governor of Virginia and garnered national acclaim for negotiating the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1812 Monroe served as the Secretary of State and the Secretary of War during James Madison's presidency and the War of 1812. In 1816, with little opposition from the Federalist Party, Monroe won 80 percent of the electoral vote for presidency. Monroe served two terms as President and increased nationalism to a height dubbed the "Era Of Good Feelings." National debate regarding the admission of the Missouri Territory and The Panic of 1819 did little to hinder Madison's 1820 landslide win for presidential re-election. Three years later, officials passed the Monroe Doctrine, landmark legislation on American foreign policy eliminating European intervention in the United States.
In 1825, Monroe retired from office esteemed highly by many, including Thomas Jefferson who once stated: "Monroe was so honest that if you turned his soul inside out there would not be a spot on it." Following his retirement, Monroe faced may tremendous financial difficulties. After leaving the White House, Monroe moved to Monroe Hill at the University of Virginia. Monroe Hill had been his family's farm from 1788 until 1817, when Monroe sold the land during his first year as president. Monroe served on the University's Board of Visitors under Jefferson and James Madison who worked as rectors for the college. In 1830, Monroe's wife, Elizabeth, passed away and he moved to New York City to live with their daughter Maria Hester Monroe Goeverneur until his death due to heart failure and tuberculosis on July 4, 1831.
Monroe's passing rendered him the third president to die on Independence Day and was precisely 55 years following the U.S. Declaration of Independence was ratified. Monroe was buried in the New York City Marble Cemetery and in 1858, 27 years following his death, Monroe's remains were re-interred at the President's Circle at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. Monroe's Tomb was declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1971. Monroe's legacy as a Founding Father and contributions to politics within America have stood testament since his passing. Here are the 20 Best James Monroe Quotes:
1. "A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue."
2. "At no period of our political existence had we so much cause to felicitate
ourselves at the prosperous and happy condition of our country."
3. "By the last returns to the Department of War the militia force of the several States may be estimated at 800,000 men - infantry, artillery, and cavalry."
4. "By these purchases the Indian title, with moderate reservations, has been extinguished to the whole of the land within the limits of the State of Ohio, and to a part of that in Michegan Territory and the State of Indiana."
5. "From several of the Indian tribes inhabiting the country bordering on Lake Erie purchases have been made of lands on conditions very favorable to the United States, and, as it is presumed, not less so to the tribes themselves."
6. "I have great satisfaction in stating that our relations with France, Russia, and other powers continue on the most friendly basis."
7. "If we look to the history of other nations, ancient or modern, we find no example of a growth so rapid, so gigantic, of a people so prosperous and happy."
8. "In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, not does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense."
9. "It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty."
10. "National honor is the national property of the highest value."
11. "Never did a government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete."
12. "Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all - liberty!"
13. "Our relations with the other powers of Europe have experienced no essential change since the last session."
14. "Preparation for war is a constant stimulus to suspicion and ill will."
15. "The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil."
16. "The civil war which has so long prevailed between Spain and the Provinces in South America still continues, without any prospect of its speedy termination."
17. "The great increase of our population throughout the Union will alone produce an
important effect, and in no quarter will it be so sensibly felt as in those in contemplation."
18. "The payments which have been made into the Treasury show the very productive state of the public revenue."
19. "The public lands are a public stock, which ought to be disposed of to the best
advantage for the nation."
20. "The right of self defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alke necessary to nations and to individuals, and whether the attack be made by Spain
herself or by those who abuse her power, its obligation is not the less strong."