Decorated by George Washington for his exploits as a soldier, Monroe became a congressman, a senator, U.S. minister to France and Britain, governor of Virginia, secretary of state, secretary of war, and finally America’s fifth president. The country embraced Monroe’s dreams of empire and elected him to two terms, the second time unanimously. Mentored by each of America’s first four presidents, Monroe was unquestionably the best prepared president in our history.
Like David McCullough’s John Adams and Jon Meacham’s recent book on Andrew Jackson, this new biography of Monroe is both a solid read and stellar scholarship—history in the grand tradition.
James Monroe of Virginia was one of the Founding Fathers and served as president during the War of 1812. George Washington quartered his Continental Army troops at Valley Forge in miserable conditions during the winter of 1777-1778. While Washington was crossing the Delaware on Christmas Day, 1776, a second thrust against the Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey, was underway. Virginia was the site of the first permament English settlement in the American colonies and was the largest state at the founding of the country.