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The Presidency of James Monroe

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 1 month, 2 weeks ago


James Monroe and the  Era of Good Feelings (?) [1816 to 1825] 

A period of peace, prosperity, and liberty is often conveyed with irony or skepticism as a

result of significant troubles that were roiling not far below the surface.



1815 and beyond - The Post War Afterglow 






AP Focus New Englanders and the Federalist party strongly condemned the War of 1812. The Federalists met to discuss their grievances in Hartford Connecticut in 1814. Many considered discussing secession at a future meeting, which because the war ended never convened.   Era of Good Feelings (1817-1825) A name for President Monroe’s two terms, a period of strong nationalism, economic growth, and territorial expansion. Since the Federalist party dissolved after the War of 1812, there was only one political party and no partisan conflicts


A Quick Summary of James Monroe's President 



“Discord does not belong to our system… Harmony among Americans… will be the object of my constant and zealous attentions.”

President James Monroe



 Election of 1816             Election of 1820

Federalist pretty much dead on the national level

Republicans go with James Monroe – former Secretary of State
under James Madison. 
It was an easy victory

Monroe will run basically unopposed

Thus the “Era of Good Feelings”

John Marshall and his rulings continued to be the only Federalist strong hold 


List of TWO term Presidents



The Era of Good Feelings? July 4 1819 

Historians have traditionally labeled the period after the war of 1812 the” Era of Good Feelings.”

Evaluate the accuracy of this label, considering the emergence of nationalism and sectionalism




The Hartford Convention  (Dec. 15, 1814 thru Jan. 5, 1815)  Almost from the start the states of New England had refused to co-operate with the war effort. The leadership in Massachusetts. called for a meeting to discuss what they could do. In attendance were Massachusetts, New Hampshire Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont.  The resolutions were written up and sent to DC and arrived at the same time as news of the Battle of New Orleans and  the Treaty of Ghent They were never acted upon - this was the last straw for the Federalist Party on the national level




Foreign Relations – Rush –Bagot Treaty  1817


Context: U.S. political leaders had long expressed interest in disarming the Great Lakes and had proposed such a measure during negotiations that led to the 1794 Jay Treaty, but British officials had rejected this proposal.   During the War of 1812, both Great Britain and the United States had built fleets of ships on lakes Erie and Ontario, and fought many battles in the region. Near the end of the war, U.S. forces had achieved dominance over the Lakes. After the war, both powers were wary of one another’s military strength and a postwar shipbuilding race ensued. However, both countries also wished to reduce their military expenditures. 


No war ships on the Great Lakes.  Set the 49th parallel as the border between Canada and the Louisiana Territory







Foreign Relations – Acquisition of Florida 


Context: 1817 – Andrew Jackson put in command of a patrol in Georgia that was to guard the border. He did have permission to pursue hostile Indians into Florida if necessary. Jackson also let Monroe know that his force could take Florida in 60 days. When Monroe didn’t tell Jackson no – Jackson took it as an OK.In the spring 1818 – Jackson went after a group of Indians 175 miles into Florida 2 English traders were killed.  In the West Jackson was acclaimed a hero In the Senate and House – he was condemned and they wanted Monroe to discipline Jackson. Monroe and Adams – John Quincy Adams Sec. Of State – both said NO


Consequence:  1819 – Adams-Onis Treaty

#1 Florida became part of the United States

#2 Spain paid $5 million for the territory

#3 A more specific line was drawn between Louisiana and Spanish Mexico. Also recognized the U.S. claims in Oregon and Spain stopped claiming land there



The Panic of 1819  

First financial since at the “Critical Period (1780’s) under the Articles of Confederation – Cyclic panics and depressions will occur every 20 years







Foreign Relations – Monroe Doctrine  [1823]


Statement of NON - COLONIZATION and NON-INTERVENTION to European powers


 Context: 1810-1824 – Spanish colonies in Latin America had won and/or were winning their independence from Spain. U.S. and Great Britain thought that this was great because these new republics made great trading partners.  No Spanish influence in the western hemisphere was a definite positive. U.S. was also getting a little concerned about the existence of Russia in Alaska.  

Great Britain asked the U.S. to make a joint statement that opposed intervention of any European country in the Western hemisphere. Also asked to state that neither Great Britain nor the United States would attempt to annex any part of the hemisphere.  Monroe asked JQ Adams what he thought Adams said let them make their statement and we can make our own – stand alone. 

Consequence: John Quincy Adams wrote up the statement – and Monroe issued it in a speech to a joint session of Congress. Known as the Monroe Doctrine US would stay out of Europe  and Europe would stay out of Western hemisphere.  It was a big statement from a nation without a military to back it up – we were in no position to stop anyone who wanted to come into our hemisphere  It did show the desire of the US to be taken seriously by the rest of the world. 




REVIEW: Geographic Growth and Western Expansion  Maintaining sectional balance is the primary goal


Between 1812-1819 six new states added to the Union:  

Louisiana (1812)

Indiana (1816)

Mississippi (1817)

Illinois (1818)

Alabama (1819)

Maine (1820)






Missouri Statehood [1820] First serious controversy over slavery since the creation of the Constitution. 


1820 – There were 11 free states and 11 slave states.  if we admitted Missouri that would upset the balance in favor of the slave states. 


When Missouri did apply for admission to the union as a slave state an amendment was added to the bill by Representative Tallmadge (NY)





Tallmadge Amendment said...


"And provided, that the further introduction of slavery or involuntary servitude be prohibited, except for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been fully convicted; and that all children born within the said State, after the admission thereof into the Union, shall be free at the age of twenty-five years."

File:James Tallmadge signature.jpg


No more slaves in Missouri

Any slaves born in Missouri would gain their freedom at age 25


The amendment passed in the House,  but was defeated in the Senate


Significance – caused a huge political storm!!!!


Slave states held that Congress had no right to attach conditions upon a state applying for admission

Congress and the free states looked at the Northwest Ordinance as an example of Congress being able to prohibit slavery.

What was really the fight – Slavery ???  The Invisible War 


 NO – the fight was “who had the power?”    It was clearly a states’ rights vs. federal government issue




Compromise was reached – Missouri Compromise of 1820

#1 Missouri would enter the Union as a slave state

#2 Maine would enter the Union as a free state

#3 A line would be drawn at 36*30’ – the southern border of Missouri

#4 Slavery would be allowed below the line and slavery would be prohibited above the line

#5 The only exception would be the state of Missouri – above the line – but a slave state





John Quincy Adams and the Corrupt Bargain
The election of 1824 is decided in the House of Representatives,
laying the groundwork for Jacksonian Democracy









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