The fifth U.S. President, James Monroe (1758-1831) was born on this day in Westmoreland County, Virginia and fought with distinction in the Continental Army.
"Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all -- liberty," he said and served as James Madison's secretary of state and secretary of war during the War of 1812.
Elected to the Presidency as a member of the Democratic-Republican party, Monroe's administration celebrated a time of postwar unity and prosperity and was called "The Era of Good Feelings."
"From a just responsibility, I shall never shrink," he promised in his Inaugural address.
The U.S. explored westward, grew the commercial economy, and expanded its world stature. Monroe settled Canadian boundary disputes with Great Britain (1817), purchased Florida from Spain (1819), and easily won an overwhelming reelection in 1820.
Monroe said: "National honor is national property of the highest value."
He is best known for the Monroe Doctrine (1823), the cornerstone of foreign policy, in which he warned "any European powers" against further colonization of the American continent would be considered "dangerous to our peace and safety."
"The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil," he once said.
Thomas Jefferson said of Monroe: "He is a man whose soul might be turned wrong side outwards, without discovering a blemish to the world."
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Confidence grows when shared.