James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity
This monumental survey of James Monroe's life and career is exhaustively researched and documented, a work of patient and perceptive scholarship that sheds a good deal of light on the politics and personalities of the early American Republic
James Monroe: [The American Presidents Series]
James Monroe is remembered today primarily for two things: for being the last of the “Virginia Dynasty”—following George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison—and for issuing the Monroe Doctrine, his statement of principles in 1823 that the western hemisphere was to be considered closed to European intervention. But Gary Hart sees Monroe as a president ahead of his time, whose priorities and accomplishments in establishing America’s “national security” have a great deal in common with chief executives of our own time.
Unlike his predecessors Jefferson and Madison, Monroe was at his core a military man. He joined the Continental Army at the age of seventeen and served with distinction in many pivotal battles. (He is prominently featured at Washington’s side in the iconic painting Washington Crossing the Delaware.) And throughout his career as a senator, governor, ambassador, secretary of state, secretary of war, and president, he never lost sight of the fact that without secure borders and friendly relations with neighbors, the American people could never be truly safe in their independence. As president he embarked on an ambitious series of treaties, annexations, and military confrontations that would secure America’s homeland against foreign attack for nearly two hundred years. Hart details the accomplishments and priorities of this forward-looking president, whose security concerns clearly echo those we face in our time.
The Presidency of James Monroe
(Noble E. Cunningham)
Filled with new insights and fresh interpretations, this is the richest study yet published on the presidency of James Monroe, the last Revolutionary War hero to ascend to that august office.
Noble Cunningham's history of the fifth presidency (1817-25) shows a young nation beset by growing pains and led by a cautious politician who had neither the learning nor the intellect of Jefferson or Madison, but whose actions strengthened both the United States and the presidency itself.
Cunningham makes clear that the mislabelled "era of good feelings" had more than its share of crises, including those resulting from revolutions in Latin America, Spanish possession of Florida, the depression of 1819, and the controversy over slavery in Missouri.
Monroe, he shows, successfully defused these potentially explosive situations, most notably by negotiating the 1820 Missouri Compromise and announcing in 1823 what came to be known as the Monroe Doctrine, a document that still guides American policy in the western hemisphere.
Cunningham effectively places these actions within the context of Monroe's life and times and sheds new light on the inner workings of his cabinet and his relations with Congress. In addition, he features the prominent roles of two future presidents: John Quincy Adams as secretary of state and Andrew Jackson as the controversial general whose actions in the Seminole War created a headache for the administration.
Though substantially informed by previous scholarship, Cunningham writes largely from the abundant primary source materials of the era to provide an illuminating new look at a president and a nation on the brink of greatness.
This book is part of the American Presidency Series.