James Monroe was the 5th president. He was born on April 28, 1758 on a small farm in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He lived there with his mother Elizabeth Jones Monroe and his father Spence Monroe. As a boy he walked several miles through the forest to attend the school of Parson Campbell. Monroe was 16 when he left home to enter the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was 1774 and Virginia and other American colonies were getting closer to the war with Great Britain. During this time he found it hard to concentrate on his school studies. He stayed at college for a little over a year, during this time his father died. James Monroe never got his diploma because he left to go fight in the Continental Army.
Monroe married Elizabeth Kortright in 1786. They had two daughters, Elizabeth Kortright and Maria Hester and a son named James Spence who died during his childhood. They lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia where he was a lawyer.
James Monroe was involved in politics for a very long time. He served in the Congress for 3 years, from 1783 to 1786. He wanted to bring more settlers to the western land. He helped to plan for territorial government by traveling throughout the west gathering important information. James Monroe was a governor of Virginia from 1799 -1803. Monroe was in the Democratic-Republican Party in 1816. Between 1816 and 1821, 6 new states were welcomed in to the union. There were 24 states altogether.
Monroe was a member of the Continental Congress and the United States Senate. He was elected in 1816 and the White House was still under repair so he decided to take a tour of the country until the White House was done. (The White House was burned during the War of 1812 in 1814.) The first place he went was Washington. Monroe traveled north to Maine then he turned west to Detroit, Michigan and then back to Washington. This traveling took about 15 weeks.
"The era of good feelings" made Monroe very popular. He was the perfect candidate for the job. He got all the electoral votes except Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware.
When Monroe was in office the Senate was evenly divided between slave states and slave free states, although Monroe was a southerner and a slave holder he did not take sides. His greatest fear was that this issue would divide the country. At last, on March 3, 1820, he received the Missouri Compromise. The Missouri Compromise admitted Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state, it also said that all other states created from the Louisiana Territory would be free states. James Monroe signed the bill for the Missouri Compromise into law on March 6, 1820.
James Monroe moved to New York City after his wife died where he lived with his daughter, Maria Hester Gouverneur and her husband. Monroe died on July 4, 1831 and he was buried in New York City. Twenty-seven years later, in 1858, his body was moved to Richmond, Virginia where he was re-buried in the Hollywood Cemetery.
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