Monday, August 16, 2010

James Monroe

Term: 1817-1825

Party: Democratic Republicans

Nickname: The Last Cocked Hat

Short Bio:

Monroe's nickname speaks to him being the last of the "Virginia Dynasty", or presidents that hailed from Virginia. The group was also considered of the elite. Monroe's presidency ushered in the "Era of Good Feelings." The economy was great, the Federalists party died out so inter-party squabbles ceased, and the country had just fought off a major power in the world. Major happenings under Monroe included the issuing of the Monroe Doctrine and the Missouri Compromise. The Monroe Doctrine is only named such, because Monroe was president at the time. The secretary of state at the time, John Quincy Adams, came up with the idea. If you don't remember what the Monroe Doctrine is, it basically says that European powers cannot come over and try and colonize the America's anymore. Basically, stay out of our business and we'll stay out of yours. America threatened war with any country that went against the Monroe Doctrine, though they really didn't have the manpower to do it.

The Missouri Compromise came from the growing issue of slavery in the U.S. There is now a clear division of slave and free states, and the issue of slavery cannot be ignored anymore. The Missouri Compromise allowed for Missouri to become a slave state, as long as Maine came in as a free state. Also, slavery was banned north of the 36 degrees, 30 line. This was a temporary fix that would lead to troubles down the road.

Monroe himself was another man after Jefferson, wanted limited government and more emphasis on states' rights. Monroe was so popular that he ran unopposed in the next election, but was given one vote against so he would not have the distinction of winning unanimously like Washington.

The addition of Florida from Spain also happened during his presidency. General Andrew Jackson invaded Florida to get rid of the Seminoles and the Spanish basically left the territory and ceded it to America.

He gets a above average grade for being President during the Era of Good Feelings. Sure, Madison had a little to do with it, but Monroe did such a good job that nobody wanted to run against him. Thumbs up for the Monroe Doctrine in my opinion. Though it was another man's idea, Monroe does support and endorse it. Thumbs sort of down for the Missouri Compromise. It was a good fix, but even the near death Thomas Jefferson knew that only war would come from this compromise.

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