“Offers a fresh perspective on a founding-era politician and president frequently overshadowed by his friends and rivals. . . . Poston’s well-written and thoughtful overview of Monroe’s muscular efforts to promote republicanism . . . elevates the achievements of this underappreciated founding figure.”—Journal of American History
“[Poston] writes with clarity and insight. . . . [He] shows how Monroe grew from a political neophyte to become a philosophical giant who, as president, widened his arc of influence to lead the hemisphere toward freedom and democracy.”—Presidential Studies Quarterly
“An engaging analysis of Monroe’s values and ambitions.”—Virginia Magazine of History and Biography “A well-crafted exposition of James Monroe’s perception of the new United States and his ideas on its place in the family of nations. A valuable contribution to our understanding of the hopes and aspirations of the founding generation for their newly created country.”—Daniel Preston, editor of The Papers of James Monroe
“James Monroe has often lived in the shadow of his contemporaries. Now, thanks to Brook Poston, we have an insightful study of how Monroe understood the idea of republicanism and how he applied it to diplomacy. This is a welcome addition to the literature on the foreign policy of the early republic.”—Robert W. Smith, author of Amid a Warring World: American Foreign Relations, 1775–1815
Despite serving his country for 50 years and being among the most qualified men to hold the office of president, James Monroe is an oft-forgotten Founding Father. In this book, Brook Poston reveals how Monroe attempted to craft a legacy for himself as a champion of American republicanism.
Monroe’s dedication to the vision of a modern republic built on liberty began when he joined the American Revolution. His devotion to the cause further developed under his apprenticeship to Thomas Jefferson. These experiences spurred him to support the virtues of republicanism during the French Revolution, when he tried to create an alliance between the United States and the French republic despite ire from the U.S. Federalist party. As Monroe climbed the political ranks, his achievements began to add up: he played a significant role in the Louisiana Purchase, helped lead the fight against Great Britain in the War of 1812, oversaw the acquisition of Florida from Spain, and created the Monroe Doctrine to protect the Americas from the influence of European monarchies.
Focusing exclusively on America’s fifth president and his complete commitment to republicanism, this book offers new interpretations of James Monroe as a patriot who dedicated his life to what he believed was perhaps the most important cause in human history.
Brook Poston is associate professor of history at Stephen F. Austin State University.
A volume in the series Contested Boundaries, edited by Gene Allen Smith