Better Know A President XI: James K. Polk

26 02 2009

-Served from 1845-1849.

-Elected from Tennessee

-He was 49 at the time of his election, making him the youngest man to serve as President at that point. (Yes, Tyler was previously the youngest President.)

-Previously had served as a US Representative and US Senator from Tennessee, and also as Speaker of the House.

-He was seen as an outside contender for the Presidency in the 1844 Election. Former President Van Buren, future President James Buchanan, and others were seen as much more likely winners in the Democratic Party. However, Polk was supported by Andrew Jackson, which made a tremendous difference. After a deadlocked convention, Polk was picked as a compromise between the various groups.

-He is most notable for his accomplishments in foreign policy. He led the country successfully through the Mexican-American War, and intimidated Britain with war to establish partial ownership of the Pacific Northwest. The Mexican-American War paved the way for American ownership of land all the way to the Pacific. The treaty that ended the war forced Mexico to cede land in California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. Many politicians against the war saw it as America Britain ceded land, which would eventually become Oregon Territory. He also tried to purchase Cuba from Spain in 1848 for $100 Million dollars, but Spain refused because it was such a major financial support for their economy.

-He is seen as one of the most successful Presidents in history, because his plans coming into the White House were all fulfilled. He wanted to annex Texas (Tyler did this before Polk became President, just to spite him. He detested Polk.) and he wanted to establish land ownership out west with California and Oregon Country. These were the issues that secured his election victory in 1844 over Henry Clay (that guy just couldn’t win an election). After the election, he established two more important goals: an independent treasury (just like Andrew Jackson, he was against the Bank of the United States. However, Polk actually succeeded in his efforts to remove the bank), and the removal of many tariffs, which he saw as hurtful to America. Both of these goals were also accomplished.

-His time in the White House weighed heavily on him. The stress of the Presidency made him susceptible to disease, and he caught Cholera shortly after leaving office. He died only 103 days after leaving office (the shortest retirement ever).


Polk was so against a national bank and the use of paper money that he literally carried around sacks of gold and silver wherever he went.

Because of Polk’s surprise nomination, Henry Clay and the Whig’s would often exclaim “Who is Polk?”.

Polk was so “physically undistinguished” that he was often ignored when he entered a room. To increase respect for her short, unkempt husband, First Lady Sarah Childress Polk one day decreed that whenever he entered the room a Marine band would play an old Scottish anthem. It soon became traditional to mark every presidential entrance with the song: Hail to the Chief.


No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure

Peace, plenty, and contentment reign throughout our borders, and our beloved country presents a sublime moral spectacle to the world.

There is more selfishness and less principle among members of Congress than I had any conception of, before I became President of the U.S.


Better Know A President X: John Tyler

25 02 2009

-Youngest man to become president, when he replaced Harrison. (He was only 51!)

-He had previously served as a US Representative, US Senator, and Governor of Virginia. He is the only person to become President after serving as President pro tempore of the Senate.

-He was never elected to the Presidency. After replacing Harrison, he became an Independent. Without a party to to support him in the 1844 election, he was forced to create his own. It was unsuccessful, and he eventually withdrew from the race and gave his support to James Polk. Polk would go on to win the election.

-The norm of the Vice-President replacing the President was established with Tyler. However, it wasn’t law until 1967 with the 25th Amendment. (A full 126 years later) Some never accepted his ascension to the office, and referred to him as “His Accidency”.

-He was a leading activist for the annexation of Texas. He wanted support for his new party, and thought Texas would be the place to get it from. His mistake was making John C. Calhoun the Sec. of State. He was a major supporter of slavery and wanted Texas admitted as a slave state. Calhoun also led all responsibilities that went along with admitting Texas to the union. This move made Tyler unpopular, even with those who supported him. The annexation was rejected, until Polk won the election and Tyler had three days left in his Presidency. He also supported the annexation of Hawaii, but this wouldn’t happen for almost another 50 years in 1898.

-Another major issue Tyler dealt with was the Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island. Thomas Dorr argued that Rhode Island’s right to vote was unconstitutional, because people were required to have large amounts of land that more than 60% of men in the state did not have. Dorr actually enlisted some men to attack the state’s arsenal, but their mission failed. Rhode Island eventually wrote a new constitution, but not after arresting Dorr. Ultimately, Dorr was tried for treason against the state and given life in jail wiuth solitary confinement and hard labor. The sentence was later removed, however.

-John Quincy Adams, then a Congressman, led an unsuccessful attempt to impeach Tyler after vetoing a tariff bill. Adams though Tyler was vetoing too often and tried to remove him on the grounds of abusing his power. It failed. But it was the first time the process of impeachment had been used.


When he was first informed of Harrison’s death, Tyler was on his hands and knees – playing marbles.

When he was President, Tyler decided to go on a trip and sent his son to get a special train for the occassion. The railroad superintendent was a major Whig supporter (remember, Tyler was a Democrat when elected to the Vice-Presidency) and refused. The son asked the man, “Didn’t you furnish a special train for the funeral of President Harrison?” The man replied, “Yes, and if you bring your father in that shape, you shall have the best train on the road!”


“Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality”

“Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette—the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace.”

Better Know A President IX: William Henry Harrison

23 02 2009

-Served a total of 32 days in office. Easily the shortest tenure of a US President.

-Oldest man elected until Ronald Reagan.

-Last president to have been born before American independence.

-Formerly had served as governor of Indiana Territory, a US Representative, and US Senator from Ohio.

-He was elected as a delegate from the new Northwest Territory, which constisted of present day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and some of Minnesota. During this time, he wrote a piece of legislation called the Harrison Land Act, which allowed settlers in the area to buy land at a much cheaper rate. This vastly increased the population in the area, leading to Ohio’s eventual statehood in 1803. After Ohio became a state, the remaining area was renamed Indiana Territory, because of it was the Indian’s land.

-Harrison became governor of Indiana Territory at the recommendation of the President John Adams. who chose him because he had lived in the area for many years, and because he was fairly moderate in his political beliefs.

-While serving as governor of Indiana Territory, he led American forces in the Battle of Tippecanoe (So named because of the river near the battle site). Tecumseh, an Shawnee Indian, was trying to form a confederacy of Indian tribes to combat the expansion of Americans headed West.  Indians in the territory had already begun to sell their land to America, which angered Tecumseh. He thought that the land was owned by all the Indians and that they should not sell any land without everyone’s approval. He went around the area to get support to form a group to fight American expansion. Harrison also wanted Indiana Territory to gain popularity among settlers so it could achieve statehood. At the time, the Indian confederacy that Tecumseh was leading was a major threat to the expansion movements, so Harrison took forces from Corydon (then the capital of Indiana Territory) and marched towards the Indian town of Prophetstown (near present day Lafayette, Indiana) to quell the movement. After the success of the battle, Harrison became known as “Old Tippecanoe”. He became even more famus during the War of 1812 with the Battle of Thames.

-Harrison was in retirement when he was asked to run for President. He had been running a large corn operation and built a distillery to make whiskey. Harrison narrowly lost the 1836 election against Van Buren. This was probably because the Whig Party had more than one name of their ticket (4 in total). During the 1840 election, he was called Granny Harrison, the petticoat general, because he resigned from the army before the end of the War of 1812. He also was called “out of touch” because he would rather “sit in his log cabin drinking hard cider” than serve his country. He adopted this image, and began putting up posters and selling bottles of hard liquor in the shape of log cabins. While the popular vote was close, Harrison won the electoral votes in a landslide.

-His slogan during the 1840 election, “Tippecanoe and Tyler too!” is one of the most famous slogans in campaign history.

-He gave his Inauguration address on March 4th, which happened to be a snowy, cold, and wet day in Washington. He did not wear a coat or hat, and gave a two hour long address, the longest in history. He died 32 days later of a cold. Historically, he got the cold the day of his Inauguration, but modern historians believe that he caught a cold, and the stress and pressures of the presidency put his health in jeopardy. Even while he was sick, people still demanded his presence. The medications he received from his doctors didn’t help either. He was given castor oil, opiates, and snakeweed (which is poisinous).

-His death put the modern succession of the Presidency in effect. Harrison was the first President to die in office.


While President, a farmer went to visit Harrison on a rainy day. The servant let him in the house, but left him in the entryway. When he found out, Harrison said to the servant, “Why did you not show the man into the drawing room, where it is warm and comfortable? […] The man is one of the people, and the carpet and the house, too, belong to the people.”

During the 1840 Presidential election, there was a chant that the Whig Party would sing:

Old Tip he wore a home-spun coat, he had no ruffled shirt-wirt-wirt,
But Matt he has the golden plate, and he’s a little squirt-wirt-wirt!

At wirt-wirt, the singers would spit tobacco juice out of their mouths.


“But I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free.”

“There is nothing more corrupting, nothing more destructive of the noblest and finest feelings of our nature, than the exercise of unlimited power.”

“The broad foundation upon which our Constitution rests being the people—a breath of theirs having made, as a breath can unmake, change, or modify it—it can be assigned to none of the great divisions of government but to that of democracy.”

“A decent and manly examination of the acts of government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged.”

Better Know A President VIII: Martin Van Buren

18 02 2009


-Served from 1837-1841

-Elected from New York. (The first man to have done so, but not the last. New York leads the nation in Presidents)

*To clarify, New York leads the nation in Presidents to be elected from that state, and is tied with Ohio in that regard. Virginia (which claims to be the birthplace of Presidents) is home to 8 Presidents, but only 5 Presidents were ever elected from Virginia. This is a subtle difference, but I think that having a President being elected from a particular state is more important than them being born there. If this were true, Lincoln would be more closely identified with Kentucky (where he was born) than Illinois (where he actually started his political career)

-First President to serve that was not of English descent. He was Dutch. Dutch was also his primary language, not English.

-First President to be born an American citizen, not a British subject.

-One of only two people to have served as Sec. of State, Vice-President, and President. (The other being Thomas Jefferson) He also served at a US Senator from New York and it’s Governor for a little more than a month.

-The main event in Van Buren’s presidency was the Panic of 1837. Although he was blamed for it at the time, the large amount of the burden goes to Jackson and his financial policy. He thought that the government should let the market fix itself (a la Adam Smith). Rapid inflation, caused by the production of paper money without gold and silver backing up that money, is seen as one of the main causes. The panic ended around 1843, well after Van Buren’s Presidency.

-Van Buren was a pacifist. He tried to deal with opponents as diplomatically as possible. He wanted to deal with Mexico diplomatically instead of causing a war, after the Texas Revolution He was refused Texas annexation because of this. He also remained neutral in his refusal to help Joseph Smith and the Mormons, after persecution in Missouri, and his refusal to help the slave ship Amistad. He wasn’t a pacifist when he forced the march of over 13,000 Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma Territory, also known as the Trail of Tears. He ordered them to be round up, placed in camps, and then forced march them to Oklahoma.

-He failed to get reelected in 1840. The blame for the financial crisis largely went to the Democrats, you did poorly in the years before 1840 in Senator and Representative elections. After failing to get reelected in 1840, he tried to run again in 1844 and 1848, failing both times. In ’40, he wasn’t even nominated, and in ’48 he was nominated for the Free Soil Party. The Free Soil Party is one of the more important 3rd parties in American history. They, along with the Whigs, gave rise to the modern Republican party. Although their numbers were small, they had a strong representation in Congress. 2 Senators and 14 Representatives from the party were in Congress at one time.

-An episode of Seinfeld featured a gang calling themselves the Van Buren Boys with the secret sign of the number 8 because Van Buren was the 8th president. They apparently picked that name because Van Buren was the man they most admired. The gang is apparently “every bit as mean as he was”. (Shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia)

-In an episode of Pete and Pete, Little Pete gets a piece of cereal up his nose that distincly resembles Martin Van Buren. (Also stolden from Wikipedia. Sorry…Van Buren is pretty uninteresting…)


The term “Van Buren-ness” that was used during his time came from his evasinve attitude in politics. He was also called Martin Van Ruin by the Whigs during the 1840 Election.

A small fire once broke out in the kitchen while he was in the White House. Van Buren personally went to put it out during a dinner meeting. When he came back, Henry Clay, who was decidedly against Van Buren and had been for many years, said to him, “I am doing all I can to get you out of this house; but believe me, I do not want to burn you out.”

He often took the press too personally. Once, after a particularly bad article against him he said, “Why the deuce is it that they have such an intching for abusing me? I try to be harmless, an positively good natured, and a most decided friend of peace.”


“It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.”

“No evil can result from its (slavery’s) inhibition more pernicious than its toleration”

“As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it.”

Better Know A President VII: Andrew Jackson

17 02 2009

I had this finished yesterday, but the post was lost. I had to revert to a semi-finished copy and rewrite a lot….so yeah. Enjoy.


-Served as President from 1829-1837

-Elected from Tennessee

-Prior to the Presidency, he served twice as a US Senator from Tennessee (during two different imes), territorial Governor of Florida, and a US Representative.

– He had previously served during the American Revolution (the last President to have done so). By the way, he was THIRTEEN when he signed up to serve. Jackson was a man’s man. He was a prisoner of war too, along with his brother. The British treated them like trash. Both nearly died of starvation and also contracted smallpox. Still, Jackson had the guts to stand up to British officers. When asked to clean shoes, he refused. One British officer retailiated and slashed him with his sword, giving Jackson the scars on his face and left hand. Jackson’s mother finally negotiated their release, but Jackon’s brother died shortly after. In fact, the rest of his family died not long after. Jackson was an orphan at 14. I guess that’s why he hated the British so much. During the War of 1812, he was named a colonel and served the Tennessee Militia as a commander. During the Creek War, he led the militia (which included such names as Davy Crockett and Sam Houston) and the Choctaw and Cherokee tribes against the Creek Indians, who had been attacking settlements in Alabama and Georgia. After a decisive victory at Horseshoe Bend, he was named Major General.

-The Battle of New Orleans is what really established Jackson as a hero. Jackson served the leader of the American forces during this battle. When he arrived in the city, he found that they had little defenses, so he requested the aid of an infamous pirate Jean Lafitte to help in the defense of the city. (There’s a really cool back story with Lafitte, so you should check it out.) He also got the help of the local Indians. If the thought of pirates and Indians and American men fighting on the same side doesn’t excite you, check your pulse. Jackson’s army dominated the British over the long haul of the battle. The British had suffered 2,332 casualties, while the Americans had only suffered 314. This battle became the greatest land victory in the war for the Americans, and it propelled Jackson to fame. By the way, the War of 1812 had already been over for a month when this battle occured. News of the Treaty of Ghent didn’t reach New Orleans until February, when it was signed in December. His service during the war gained him the name “Old Hickory” because he was as tough as old hickory. If you don’t know how hard hickory is, imagine the hardest piece of wood ever.

-He also served in the Seminole Wars at the order of then President Monroe. Seminoles had been attacking settlements in Georgia, and Jackson was needed to resolve the conflict. Jackson thought the best way to do this would be to take possession of Florida, even though it was owned by the Spanish at the time. Of course, in Jackson’s style he quipped, “Let it be signified to me through any channel… that the possession of the Floridas would be desirable to the United States, and in sixty days it will be accomplished.” Monroe approved. Jackson captured Pensacola without any conflict. Basically the Spanish heard Jackson was coming and surrendered immediately. He also executed some Brits, burned Seminole villages, and basically tore up the place. Spain ceded Florida after then Sec. of State Adams gave an ultimatum to Spain to either defend the land or give it to the US.

-Jackson’s 1828 Presidential run was historic. Running as a Democrat (the first person to do so) he received support from Martin Van Buren, then Vice Preisdent Calhoun, and others. He ran a ruthless campaign, and was referred to as a jackass. He loved this, and used the ass as the symbol for the Democrats. That’s why Democrats are represented by donkeys. His wife, Rachel was a target of the press, and was once accused of bigamy. Jackson was furious. He fought a total of 13 duels in his lifetime, which were all in defense of his wife. His wife later died after winning the election, but before his inauguration. He heled Quincy Adams personally responsible and never forgave him.

-Jackson invited the public to the White House for his inauguration, causing a wild mob to ensue. Punch was poured into bath tubs and laid out on the lawn for the public.

-Jackson is the only president to pay off the national debt. It was back the next year.

-He was vehemently opposed to a national bank. His regulations of money (such as forcing people to pay in gold and silver coins for land, which banks could not supply leading to their failure) were a direct result of the Panic of 1837.

-Jackson’s presidency is often looked down upon for the Indian Removal Acts. It authorized the removal of tribes from land within the current borders of the US and moving them farther West. Many of the tribes that were effected were the ones who served Jackson during the War of 1812. While Jackson implimented the acts, Van Buren, his successor, was the one who really put them into action, forcing the Cherokee West in the infamous Trail of Tears.


While in office, Jackson was the first President to have an attempt on his life. An English man confronted him after Jackson had left a politician’s funeral in Washington. The man tried firing two pistols, one after the other, but both failed. It is said but not proven that Jackson then went after the man with his own cane, and Jackson, not the would-be assassin had to be restrained.

One of the duels that Jackson participated in was against a man named Charles Dickinson. This man was widely renowned as the best shot in Tennessee. After insulting Jackson’s wife Rachel (Dickinson was instigated by politicians) Jackson felt it was his duty to defend her, even though in his mind it meant certain death. The two met in Kentucky (Tennessee had dueling laws). Dickinson fired on Jackson first, but because Jackson wore his jacket loose, Dickinson only glanced the bullet off his ribs and did not hit his heart. Stunned, Dickinson thought he had missed. Jackson then proceeded to raise his own pistol, and after a short malfunction, shot Dickinson dead. Jackson later said, “I intended to kill him. I would have tood up long nough to kill him if he had put a bullet in my brain.” In fact, Jackson maintained his pistols in perfect condition if he needed to defend Rachel’s honor for 37 years straight.

Jackson was known in some of his former hometowns to have caused bar fights.

Once, Jackson was stopped by two men in the Tennessee country side. They ordered him to get out of the wagon and dance for them (he was known for his dancing skills). Jackson said to them that if he was to dance, he must get his slippers from the back in his trunk. When he went to the back, he got two pistols instead and said to them, “Now, you infernal villains, you shall dance for me. Dance!”

One night, while serving as a judge in Tennessee, a town ruffian was causing trouble outside the courthouse. He ordered the sheriff to take care of the man, but he could not do it. He then ordered the sheriff to organize a “posse” to take him out. They also failed, since the ruffian had a gun and threatened to fire upon anyone with 10 feet. Jackson then asked the Sheriff to summon Jackson himself to take care of the matter. Jackson went out with his dial pistols, and threatened the man. Without another word the man surrendered.


“There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses.”

“It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes.” (Jackson was often called a President of the People)

“Heaven will be no heaven to me if I do not meet my wife there.”

“Never take counsel of your fears.”

“One man with courage makes a majority.”

Better Know A President VI: John Quincy Adams

15 02 2009


-Served from 1825-1829.

-Elected from Massachusetts

-Second son of former President John Adams. Like his father, he failed to win re-election. John Quincy got the Quincy from his mother’s grandfather, who was a Colonel in the Revolution.

-At age 7, he witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill.

-Before becoming President, he served as Ambassador to the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Prussia, and Britain. He also served as a US Senator, and Secretary of State under previously mentioned James Monroe. He also the only President to serve as a US Representative after leaving the Presidency.

-Adams’ wife, Louise was not American born. To date, she’s the only First Lady to be from a foreign country (Britain).

-Adams became President after a difficult and extremely controversial election. The Election of 1824 had 4 main contenders: Adams, Andrew Jackson, a US Senator from Tennessee, then Speaker of the House Henry Clay from Kentucky (my high school was named after Clay!), and then Secretary of War John C. Calhoun. After the election was counted, not one of the 4 had a majority of either electoral votes or popular votes. The XII Amendment states that when this occurs, the election goes to the House to be decided. Only the top 3 candidates get considered, meaning that Clay, who came in 4th, was eliminated. Jackson had the most electoral votes and the most popular votes, and he was sure that the House would name him President. However, when the House convened, Clay, who was still Speaker of the House, threw a wrench into the election. Clay did not like Jackson, and wanted to see Adams get the presidency, so he threw his support behind Adams. The 1st round of ballots was the only one needed, and Adams won handedly. Jackson was furious. He would eventually resign as US Senator to focus on winning the 1828 Election. (Yes, he spent the next four years trying to win the next Presidential election!)

-During his inauguration, he took the oath on a book of laws, rather than a Bible. He wanted to maintain the separation between church and state.

-One of the highlights of Adams’ Presidency was that he was against the removal of native Indian tribes. The government, at times during Adams’ presidency, defended the tribes. After Adams’ though, Andrew Jackson and then Van Buren would reverse this policy.

-He had difficulty doing anything during his Presidency. Many politicans were upset by his unfair victory over Jackson and refused to support him. He tried to create tariffs to support more American industry, but many of his proposals were rejected. He didn’t help himself either when he did not remove supporters of Jackson from the White House when he was inaugurated. Ultimately, Adams is seen by most historians as a much better diplomat (one of the greatest in US history) than he was a president.

-After Jackson was elected by a large margin in 1828, he refused to attend his Inauguration. Only three Presidents have done this, including his father John Adams, and Andrew Johnson. Ironically, John Quincy only won the same states John Adams won when he lost his election.


Adams was an awkward man. He didn’t quite have the chops for politics. During his campaign in 1824, a farmer approached him and said that his wife had once served in his father’s house. He went on to say that she once combed Adams’ hair to which he replied, “Well, I suppose she combs yours now.”

Adams was a fan of skinny dipping. He would often rise an hour or two before dawn and swim in the Potomac. Thurlow Weed, a New York politican made it his mission while in Washington to see Adams swimming. Another story goes that one morning when Adams was swimming, he had his clothes stolen and had to ask someone to go to the White House so he could get dressed. The most famous is when  journalist Anne Royall held his clothes hostage until he granted her an interview.

I think John Quincy Adams looks a little like Scrooge McDuck.


America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.

Better Know A President V: James Monroe

14 02 2009


-Served 2 terms between 1817-1825. His presidency is referred to as The Era of Good Feelings, because of the end of partisan bitterness between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. The “good feelings” also were helped by the late victory in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.  However, after the Panic of 1819 (the first major financial crisis in American history) and the Missouri Compromise (to be mentioned later) the “good feelings” were over.

-Elected from Virginia. (Noticing a theme?)

-Probably best known for the Monroe Doctrine. It was a proclamation to all European powers that they could no longer colonize any land in the Americas, and that they should stay out of all affairs with new powers and governments in the Americas. Further, any attempt to interfere with these statements would be considered a threat to the United States and that they would would retaliate. Monroe also stated in this doctrine that the US would remain neutral in any European war. Even though the US was feeling pretty good about beating the British again, most European nations didn’t care about this Doctrine, mainly because the US didn’t have a real Navy presence in the Atlantic. However, the Monroe Doctrine lasted well beyond Monroe himself. The doctrine was envoked by many presidents after him, including Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and JFK. It also established American foreign policy in that time period. John Quincy Adams, serving as Sec. of State at the time, actually wrote the Monroe Doctrine, however. Not coincidentally, he would eventually replace Monroe as President.

-States admitted to the union: Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine, and Missouri.

-The admission of Missouri was a defining point for Monroe’s presidency, and served as one of the contributing factors to the Civil War. The Missouri Compromise came as a result of the warring politicians in Washington and what they were to do with new states’ slavery laws. Many argued that new states should not be allowed to have pro-slavery laws. The compromise was that slavery could not exist north of the 36°30′ latitude line in new land from the old Louisiana Territory. Eventually, this more or less became the line that divided the States during the Civil War. Previously, Alabama had been admitted to the Union as a slave state, and Maine as a free state, making slave states and free states equal (12 each). Having each side equal served as another instigator to the conflicts between the two sides. Missouri was eventually admitted (obviously) but the conflicts that arose because of its admission as a Slave state would be dealt with by later presidents.

-Another former Ambassador to France before becoming president. He was sympathetic to the French Revolution that was occuring while he was there, but he remained neutral at the request of George Washington.

-Liberia named its capital city after Monroe. Monrovia is the only non-US capital to be named after a US President.


In the 1820 presidential election, James Monroe received every single electoral college vote – except one: A delegate from New Hampshire voted for another candidate because he wanted Washington to remain the only president ever unanimously elected.

Monroe caused quite a stir when he was ambassador to Britain. The first state dinner he was invited to had Monroe sitting at the very end of the grand table between representatives sent by two small German principalities. He would later say “James Monroe doesn’t care where he eats dinner, but to find the American minister put at the bottom of the table between two little principalities no bigger than my farm […] made me mad.” During the first toast to the King, he did not toast and instead put his wine glass into the fingerbowl as he sat. Then, the Russian ambassador, who was seated next to the British head of state, offered a toast to the new United States of America.


A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue.

If we look to the history of other nations, ancient or modern, we find no example of a growth so rapid, so gigantic, of a people so prosperous and happy.

The great increase of our population throughout the Union will alone produce an important effect, and in no quarter will it be so sensibly felt as in those in contemplation.

The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.

Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all – liberty!