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Biography of James Monroe


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Monroe, James. Fifth president of the United States. Born in Westmoreland County, VA, 1758. After graduating at William and Mary College, he served with the distinction in the army during the War of the Revolution and, in 1783, entered the general congress as a delegate from his native state. In the Virginia Convention of 1788, he opposed the adoption of the Federal Constitution, and allied himself with the Republican Party, which party elected him a member of the United States Senate in 1790. Four years later, he proceeded to France as minister-plenipotentiary, from which office he was recalled in 1796. During the years 1799-1802, he filled the office of governor of Virginia. In 1802, as the associate of Livingston, he was dispatched on a special mission to negotiate for the purchase of Louisiana. In 1803 in England, and in 1805 in Spain, he performed special diplomatic services for his country. In 1811 he again accepted the governorship of Virginia, and in the same year became secretary of state under President Madison's administration, which position he occupied with credit until March, 1817. The year before he had been the elected Democratic candidate for the presidency. During his term of office, Florida was ceded to the United States in 1819. Reelected in 1820, during his second term, the United States recognized the de facto independence of the Spanish-American colonies. In December, 1823, he gave utterance in his message to the celebrated principle touching the foreign policy of the United States, since known as the "Monroe Doctrine." In 1825, Monroe retired from the presidential chair, and died in New York in 1831.