James Monroe, fifth president of the United States, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia on April 28, 1758. Monroe served in the Continental Army, receiving a shoulder wound at the Battle of Trenton, New Jersey. He was elected President in 1816, with a political record as a member of the Virginia Assembly, member of the Continental Congress, a U.S. Senator, minister to France, governor of Virginia, Secretary of State and Secretary of War. He was re-elected in 1820. Several significant developments in American history came about during Monroe’s presidency. In 1818, Missouri’s application for statehood as a slave-holding state caused a political and constitutional debate between northern and southern interests. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 included admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state, preserving the balance of slave and free states. The Panic of 1819, touched off by land speculation, tightening of credit and a sharp fall in farm prices, was the first financial crisis in the United States. Its effects lasted until 1824. In 1823, the policy that became known as the Monroe Doctrine declared that the United States would not become involved in European affairs and would not accept European interference in the Americas. It had little effect at the time, but became of real importance in the future, when it would become a cornerstone of American policy. Even with increasing sectional rivalry between the states, the continuing debate over slavery, and the financial crisis, James Monroe’s presidency was described as the “Era of Good Feelings”.
From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution