Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Greatness of James Monroe

                    The name of James Monroe came up in a search for a list of conservative Presidents of the United States; therefore, he is our VIP for this week.  Monroe was the fifth President of the United States and the last of the Founders to hold the office.          I wrote an article in April 2010 with the facts of the lifeof James Monroe; therefore, I will include few of the facts and more of his accomplishments and quotes.

                    President Monroe is best remembered for the Monroe Doctrine, proclaimed in 1823.  This policy was historic and warned European countries to not interfere with the free nations of the Western Hemisphere.  While the war with Napoleon was raging in Europe, Spain gave her American colonies little interest.  The colonies took advantage of the situation and declared independence from Spain.  Americans had great sympathy with the Latin-American revolutions and began in 1817 to call for recognition of these new countries. 

Monroe recommended in March 1822 that they be recognized, and he proclaimed the historic Monroe Doctrine to Congress on December 2, 1823.  As part of his speech to Congress, Monroe declared, "The American continents … are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers." 

President Monroe also told Congress, "We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.  With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we … shall not interfere.  But with the Government … we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States."

The Monroe Doctrine remains a basic American policy today.   Since I also wrote an article in April 2010 about the Monroe Doctrine, I will not go into more details about it here.  

                    Monroe came to the presidency after more than 40 years of public service.  He began his service to our nation by fighting in the Revolutionary War.  He served in the Virginia Assembly and the Congress of the Confederation and as a United States Senator, and as minister to France, Spain, and Great Britain.  His service also included governor of Virginia.  He obviously was very valuable to our nation during the war of 1812 because he served as both Secretary of State and Secretary of War at the same time.

                    President Monroe is said to have resembled George Washington, a fellow Virginian.  Monroe was tall and rawboned with a military bearing.  He had gray-blue eyes, which "invited confidence."  Almost everyone spoke well of him.

                    The years of the Monroe Administration are known generally as "the era of good feeling" due to the fact that nearly everyone belonged to the same political party and the country prospered from "fast growing industries and settlement of the West."

                    Because the White House was burned by the British during the War of 1812, Monroe and his family maintained a different residence for nine months until the mansion was rebuilt.  They held a public reception on New Year's Day, 1818, to celebrate the reopening of the White House.

                    The Monroe Administration was one of the "most brilliant periods in American diplomacy."  In the 1820 election, Monroe ran unopposed for the presidency and received every electoral vote except one.

Information and all above quotes in this article came from an article by Ralph Ketcham in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol.  13, pp. 734-738.

                    President Monroe was noted for a number of famous quotes during his years of public service.  Wikipedia listed only a few of them.  

                    "It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty.  Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found.  The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin."

                    "Peace and good will have been, and will hereafter be, cultivated with all, and by the most faithful regard to justice.  They have been dictated by a love of peace, of economy, and an earnest desire to save the lives of our fellow-citizens from that destruction and our country from that devastation which are inseparable from war when it finds us unprepared for it."

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

                    "Never did a government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete.  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."

                    "Such, then, being the highly favored condition of our country, it is in the interest of every citizen to maintain it.  What are the dangers which menace us?  If any exist, they ought to be ascertained and guarded against."

                    "We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it, perhaps, our liberties.  A people who fail to do it can scarcely be said to hold a place among independent nations.  National honor is national property of the highest value.  The sentiment in the mind of every citizen is national strength.  It ought therefore to be cherished."

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