tv James Monroes Life and Legacy CSPAN June 10, 2017 5:16pm-6:02pm EDT
declared war on june 18, 1812. over the next two years american victories at sea were offset by repeated defeats on land. as the british naval and military force enter the chesapeake region, monroe and others called for better defenses from the u.s. capitol , but little was done. british troops came ashore in on august 19,land 1814 and begi began marching to bladensburg. when monroe's suggestion of a system of couriers to report the enemy's movements was this disregarded by the secretary of war, monroe went into the field himself. using a telescope to count the number of ships and men in the british force and repeated it to president madison. at the battle of bladensburg, the british routed un-american force of regulars. monroe move some american units on the field in a manner that did little to improve an already chaotic command structure.
while the cartoon implies that madison fled from the british in panic. in fact, he and most of the , including monroe, state on the field until the end. they narrowly avoided capture. the british moved on to washington, d.c., where they burned many public buildings, including the white house. in the aftermath of this disaster, armstrong resigned as secretary of war. and monroe assumed the office while remaining secretary of state. all of the british departed fort departed washington and failed to take fort mchenry. the possibility of another attack on the capital was spurred. the war ended in february 1815 with the u.s. ratification of the treaty of ghent. monroe was elected president in 1816. a culmination of his public
service career that had taken him through so many different offices and experiences, here and abroad. he and his wife elizabeth undertook the restoration and re-furnishing of the white house process that would occur , a throughout his two terms in office. it cannot be overstated how significant the role of the monroe's was in the finding white house style. they were literally starting with a blank canvas. they had to most of their own furniture initially while things purchased abroad became part of the white house furnishings, and in later efforts at redecorating and trying to recapture some of the style that was lost over the centuries, right up until to and including jacqueline kennedy's work, the monroe example is what many of those efforts try to recapture. mrs. monroe's experience as the first lady was characterized by european-style salons that were not always well-received by washington society. she also endured a range of
physical ailments that prevented her from serving as white house hostess. as president, monroe urged congress to appropriate sufficient funds for an expanded army and navy. a modern system of coastal forts. though he did not get everything did he wished for, work begin on new installations, including one in 1919 that was called fort monroe in his honor. during two regional tours of the country in 1817 and 1819, monroe inspected the nation's defenses and he also, perhaps inadvertently, brought something of the modern presidency to many parts of the country. we are very familiar today with the spectacle of a presidential motorcade or arrival within a community and all the things that can imply. that was a novelty in 1817. generated on immensely positive reaction, one that even monroe was probably not suspecting
would happened. that tour proved so popular that it produced the catchphrase for his administration, the era of good feelings. monroe that with the perennial problem of relations with the native american peoples who work were directly in the path of settlers moving west. a large delegation of plains indian chiefs visited washington. there are wonderful images, but many of them were destroyed in a fire later at the smithsonian in the 19th century, but copies of them survive. presidents before and after had done, presented the delegations with peace metals, professing peace and friendship. as monroe sought to harmonize relations with the indians, he faced an even greater immediate challenge brought on by western
expansion, the increasingly bitter debate over the extension of slavery in the territories west of the mississippi. when missouri sought admission to the union as a slave state in 1819, it precipitated a political crisis by threatening to upset the balance of congress between slave and free states. the series of agreements hammered out by henry clay and john c calhoun collectively known as the missouri compromise settled the issue for the time being. monroe signed off on the andromise with relief, express optimism the slavery question would be resolved before tearing the country apart. his old mentor called the missouri compromise the fire bell in the night. that did not bode well for the union's future. much as he believes separation was the solution to problems between the indians and whites. monroe sought marriage and efforts to send free blacks back to africa. although not as active within
the movement as others, monroe was present for the founding meetings of the american colonization society in washington, d.c. on december 21, 1816. four years later, the ship elizabeth took the first group of african-americans to the colony that would eventually be named liberia. the capital of which, monrovia, is named for you know who. while the end of the war of 1812 and the final defeat of napoleon had largely result of free trade resolve the free trade and impressment conflicts with britain. acquisition of florida had still not occurred when monroe entered the white house. in 1817 he sent general andrew jackson into east florida to suppress seminole indians and fugitive slaves that were conducting raids into u.s. territory. enlarged upon his
original mission by attacking spanish force in the region and executing to british national suspected of working against his army. whether jackson exceeded his orders or simply doing what he was told to do in confidence, secretary of state john quincy adams was able to overcome spanish protests and negotiate the purchase of florida in 1821. this became a source of some controversy and contention between jackson and monroe. and to some degree adams later on. during the same period, the monroe administration recognize the independence of latin american republics that had fought for their independence from spain and portugal. the united states was one of the first nations to recognize the newly independent republics of chile, peru, mexico, and argentina. worried about stability in latin america and wary about russian imperialist claims in north america, monroe made a policy statement that would be among the most enduring legacies of
his presidency. his annual message to congress on december 2, 1823 contained the usual rundown of government expenditures, how the postal system was doing, operation of lighthouses, sort of the run-of-the-mill things, but then the message also declared that the american continents are not andhich they have assumed maintain are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any european power. this was followed a few sentences later with in the wars of the european powers in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so. it is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make representation for our defense. this foreign-policy position articulated in the president's message is known as the monroe doctrine.
i said, the monroe doctrine. john quincy adams is often by many historians assumed or identified as the author of the monroe doctrine. it will come as no surprise that i respectfully disagree. adams did have a crucial suggestion to make regarding the final form of this message. monroe's own long diplomatic service, his experience on the world stage, informed very much his thinking and the final message, the final responsibility of its issuance, were monroe's. the immediate impact of the monroe doctrine was relatively low key, although the import was clearly understood by leaders in europe. although u.s. military and naval power at this time without of insufficient to counter a coalition of european aggressors, such a development was unlikely. the declaration also invoked the
philosophy of george washington. who had warned the united states against engaging in any diplomatic commitments that could drag the country into a european war, advice that we followed until 1917. the monroe doctrine was the a cornerstone of american foreign-policy for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. teddy roosevelt introduced a corollary to the doctrine that sanctioned u.s. military intervention in conflicts between european and latin american countries. his cousin, franklin, contended with access attempts to penetrate the western hemisphere before and after america's entry into world war ii, and the monroe doctrine's came into play during the run-up to the development of the cuban missile crisis in 1962. that lower right image is one of my all-time favorites. if you can't quite see it, it is a ship bearing the flag of the
monroe doctrine sailing outside cuba while a communist frog man with a k on his shoulder is swimming to cuba underneath it. this actually appeared before the discovery of the missiles in cuba, just a few weeks before. so it was remarkably foreshadowing what was about to happen. in the 21st century, the monroe doctrine has some rough handling. it has had some interesting interpretations. president george w. bush confronting a post-9/11 world articulated what was called the doctrine, a justification for wide ranging u.s. military involvement around the world , often without regard to opinion of parts of the world. in 2013, john kerry told the organization of american states, "the era of the monroe doctrine
was over." there was a surprised reaction and scattering of applause. kerry said, yes, that is a good thing. his statement was meant to knowledge the independence of latin american countries. many conservatives have taken issue with the speech. whatever the future holds for the monroe doctrine in this century and going forward, it is nonetheless remarkable that a presidential policy statement made in 1823 can still be a matter of debate nearly three two centuries later. although he refused most invitations to hold public office after the presidency, he was joined there by other lifelong friends james madison, who was addressing the body here, and former chief justice john marshall who is seated immediately behind madison. but monroe was ill for much of the time and had to resign before the convention adjourned
in 1830. elizabeth monroe died in 1830. and her grieving spouse went to his daughter's home in new york city. physically unable to return to virginia, monroe died on july 4, 1831. five years to the day of the death of thomas jefferson and john adams. after an elaborate funeral, monroe was buried in new york city's marble cemetery. the commonwealth of virginia had his remains exhumed in 1858 in -- and reinterred enrichments hollywood cemetery. the remains of mariah and elizabeth were brought from oak hill to join him. their daughter eliza is buried in paris. the ornate gothic revival, the birdcage as it is called, over in hollywood cemetery is a familiar landmark if you have ever been there.
in 1865 photograph. this is after richmond's fall. for the first time since its creation that tim -- tomb has been restored. much of the iron replaced. and i hope it will be ready in time for the birthday observance of monroe, coming up this april, because it desperately needed the work to save this treasure. over the years, he has been --orialized in many ways coins postage stamps, a , crackerjack prize, symbols of education and military might. he ranks in the top of the number of places named for a u.s. president. and as we observed the only , american for whom a capital is named. in 1927, his great granddaughter
and her son saved the building at 908 charles street from demolition. the threat came from the adjacent james monroe service station. [laughter] that always gets a laugh. having saved the building, they established a museum depicting monroe's law office and library that he had during his years in fredericksburg. the museum's first director served 51 years. and he augmented the family's collection of heirlooms with a acquired effort to monroe related artifacts, books, and art. in the james monroe memorial 1948, foundation was created to administer the site. they transferred ownership of the museum to virginia. that was in the university of 1964. virginia with the initial administrative authority until
1972, when mary washington college became independent. in 2004, the college became the university of mary washington. and the law office depiction was converted into a gallery format in 2006. because it was discovered that the building, actually three buildings that emerged over time, all that postdates monroe's ownership of the property. we are not the first monroe site to come up with a few different approaches about what to do with our property. we have had interesting developments about that. in any case, it is given us an opportunity by going to this gallery-based approach to showcase a collection of artifacts that is the largest in the country related to james monroe. the bicentennial of monroe's presidency offers a wealth of opportunity to highlight his public service career.
the james monroe museum staged a joint press conference on president's day with monroe character interpreter and our new president of the university of mary washington. he will be inaugurated in april of this year. we were on the verge of observing the inauguration of mr. monroe, and we were struck by the remarkable similarity in the writings of these men, 200 years apart, about education, leadership, civic responsibility. so the press conference turned out to be a really engaging program. we were very happy to be a part of it. on march 4, we commemorated monroe's inauguration. 200 years after the historical event. we inspired at least one young man. on the same day a succession of , speakers read excerpts in a fitting citizen tribute to a leader who dedicated his life to serving our democratic republic.
another bicentennial initiative that involves students in the museum studies program at the university of mary washington is one in which i am extremely proud. they have designed a traveling exhibit that will visit some of the places that monroe went to during his northern tour. this is a joint project between the james monroe museum. and the papers of james monroe. and it is particularly rewarding and meaningful to me as an alumnus of mary washington to know that we are helping students hone their skills in the areas and studies of preservation and working on this and letting them share this with a wider audience. we are in the process of booking sites where this will go very we will be working on another one tour as we9 southern come up on its anniversary.
many other exciting opportunities lie ahead in the next eight years as we commemorate the bicentennial of james monroe's presidency. i want to thank you for your kind attention. i don't know if we are doing questions now. we will do questions at this point before the break which i hope we have not run up against too much. thank you. [applause] i saw you. go ahead. audience member: there is a lot of talk of the monroe doctrine that was written at oak hill. can you speak to that? scott: given the fact that president monroe tried it should be on capitol hill as a during -- monroe tried to be on capitol
hill during his pregnancy -- presidency as much as he could that is certainly possible. , you might have more intimate knowledge of whether that was something that happened exclusively or at least in part. see how i pivoted right to you, dan, on that question. thank you. audience member: i would say he started working on it at oak hill. but he was really in washington when he was working with his cabinet in late november and december. just before his presidency. as with many speechwriters, he was probably doing it the night before. when he first started discussing the issues, certainly he was down that way. so partly yes. , scott: that is an answer everybody can be happy with. [laughter] audience member: where would monroe rank in the hierarchy of the important american presidents?
scott: i would say here -- no. james monroe has typically over the years that there have been rankings of presidents in near the top of the second tier. i think that is the best way to say it. you have the top 10, then anywhere from 11-15 is where one might euro has fallen. actually in the last few years he has migrated up somewhat over , the past two years. there was a ranking of presidents recently revealed. i want to say that he was at six. >> six. scott: there you go. >> that is real. is a resultnk that of partly of improved scholarship. and to some degree trying to read across the debates that were going on on these issues.
and appreciating the fact that monroe was a quiet leader, not always looking for the limelight. face it when you are in a room , with henry clay, he tends to take the air out of the lot of the room. now monroe is more recognized. sir? audience member: how long was monroe concerned with the french revolution? scott: i think monroe saw his belief in the revolution of france as a logical extension of what the american revolutionary experience meant to him. as many of the democratic republicans viewed it, saw the two of them as almost a binary organism. that one was an organic product of the other. as the excesses of the revolution became bloody and violent, he did recoil from that. he never lost the sense of appreciation for the french devotion to liberty and to republican principles. his hope was that there could be
a reconciliation of those, a harmony of those with american interests. the washington administration, alexander hamilton as the leader and developer of the federalist party saw a different teacher. -- different future. one closely aligned with great britain. that set the tone for our first real political party evolution. and it set the tone for a lot of conflicts that monroe had with a number of his contemporaries. but i do think he stayed very devoted to those principles. his affection for france was genuine and personal as well as philosophical. audience member: i'm a native of virginiaot a native of so i'm surprised to hear at one , point monroe was governor for four terms. when currently it is only one term. did this change during the constitutional convention?
scott: it was not changed then. the evolution of the governorship of virginia has had several periods. and when we look at it from the 1776 with thefrom 1st constitution separate from great britain since then, governors were elected to one year terms for which there were eligible for two subsequent reelections. some people call it a term of a few years that there elected. we chose to look at it as three elected terms. he did have those three initial ones, then he was elected to a fourth one, which could have set up for a fifth and sixth had he stayed, but he went and joined the madison administration. patrick henry just beat him out. patrick henry ended up having five terms. so if munro had hung in there a little longer, he might've gotten the top. i showed an image of that, the governor's mansion in richmond.
which james monroe never got to stay in. monroe signed legislation and had it built, but he did not stay in the governor's position long enough to enjoy the house that he authorized. sir? audience member: what about the relationship between monroe and lafayette? scott: it was a friendship born of shared service during the revolution. and also coincided with monroe's awakening to the wider political and social world of the french thinkers and writers who had such an impact on revolutionary thought. and lafayette helped that and the fact that they were both masons, young soldiers, it cemented a bond between them. lafayette had wonderful relationships with many of his contemporaries as well. but the affection and correspondence between them continued. monroe's presence in france
actually coincided with the time lafayette was in exile yet there , was still interaction. monroe and mrs. monroe were particularly instrumental in a publicized visit to madame lafayette's imprisonment. to help convince french authorities not to execute her, as her family had been, but to let her go. and when monroe was president, lafayette did his famous visit in 1824. he was received at the white house. trying to keep it somewhat low-key and not making a big affair of it, he still made it known that he would have a place to stay. it was a lifelong friendship that went right up to monroe's death. audience member: he spoke french? scott: he did speak french. i understand a little bit of italian. he was competent in parsing some
other languages as well. i guess spanish as well to some degree. french.yes >> and latin and greek. scott: and of course, latin and greek. but i think the use of french with something useful and his diplomatic career and something that the family employed for their own edification as well. i saw one more. audience member: the idea of him being considered a founding father because he was of the revolutionary generation. as president, having been a revolutionary war veteran and wounded at one of the famous battles, did he use that? scott: it is important to know that even as president, he liked to be called colonel monroe. that had something to do with it. his style of dress when he was
on his northern tour was not a military uniform. britches, aes -- dark coat, a big hat that was of the revolutionary style which we have in our collection. there is a wonderful story i will share because you have given me the opening. the hat is very napoleonic. very big, widebrimmed hat. we did a reproduction of it for our interpreter. we were contacted recently by the connecticut historical society about barring the hat. -- borrowing the hat. because the american school for deaf in connecticut was founded during monroe's tour in 1817. he visited there. they did not have a sign in american sign language for president. the sign was created that day and this is still today the asl sign for president. it is this. the story is it is because of the hat he was wearing. [laughter] scott: i wish we could claim we
made that up, we did not. they brought it up. he wore the hat for that purpose to go to that school. but i think it is a wonderful visual image that has helped , influence something that has endured for 200 years. even if it is not true, it is a great story. [laughter] you said thatr: -- [indiscernible] scott: thank stuff -- h real unsolicited endorsement right there. we do have brochures and our schedule out in the lobby. i urge you to take those if you haven't already. thank you. [applause]
tour takesan cities american history tv on the road to feature the history of cities across america. here is a recent program. fort ward, a premier civil war site in alexandria and it is a major destination and orientation site for visitors that want to learn more about the civil war and the defense of washington. where the only site to have a visitor center to help interpret not just our site but do illustrate -- to illustrate for the public these important points about the defenses of washington. the fort was named for james harmon ward, the first union navy commander to be killed during the civil war. he is actually a well-respected naval officer. he was an authority on naval ordnance and he helped found the
naval academy. in fact, if you go to the naval academy today there is a hall called ward hall, named for him. we are standing in front of an orientation map that visitors find interesting because it sets the scene for the history of the fort and wartime alexandria, and the history of the defense system. one thing i think the map really illustrates is how extensive the network of union force was. but it is even more thought-provoking to imagine with the washington area was like in the spring of 1861 when the civil war began. if you saw this very same map, none of these would have been there. washington was essentially defenseless at that time. so president lincoln and officials in washington anticipated the eventual secession of virginia and prepared for it.
in the early morning of may 20 4, 18 61,000 of union troops were dispatched into the area of northern virginia, pretty much from what alexandria of the arlington was -- up through arlington was located, to begin getting a foothold in the area for the protection and defense of the capital. wererst, a very few forts built and nobody anticipated it was going to be a four-year war. things changed during the summer of 1861, with the confederate victory at the battle of first manassas, or bull run as it is also known. this put everything into a different perspective. it was seen that there was a need to defend the capital, so late 1861, more forts were built in fort ward was built at that particular time along with other forts on the virginia side. one important point about the
defenses of washington is that it really transformed the whole washington area into a military city in essence. you had the seat of the federal government here, but with a huge ring of forts and camps, you know, washington really becomes a logistical headquarters in the war effort. it becomes a major campaign and training ground for the union army during the civil war. thousands of soldiers passed through washington and alexandria during the civil war, which is such an important resource, because of transportation facilities and you can see actually how many of the forts, including fort ward, were eventually built to surround alexandria during that time. the earthwork remains of fort ward. our most significant artifact
here. we have between 90%-90 5% of the %-95%nal walls -- 90 preserved. if somebody walks the site and i have a engineer plan from the time in front of them, walking according to the map, they can absolutely make sense of the design of the four, the -- fort, the format of it, and they have a full picture of what the fort, the other sections of it would have looked like. we are standing at an orientation exhibit on the history of fort ward during the civil war to give visitors more of an idea of what it looks like and how it was documented in terms of restoring the fort. this model shows the design of the fourth as of 1864 and 1865.
this is the improved, expanded version, which made it the fifth-largest in the system. you can see this is a tub of design that would have been called a star shaped, each triangle or area projecting outward, containing the various gun placements. and the concept of projecting and reentering angles which provided for the protection of every aspect of the fourth and -- fort and crossfire. we can see documents that illustrate visually what it looked like and how it was designed, and the national archives today there are important plans that document the design of the fort, and also the design of the ceremonial entrance gate. fort,stored part of the
the northwest bastion is right over here, facing out toward leesburg turnpike. route seven.ay the fort located on a high point of ground between two major access routes to alexandria and the washington area. this is the ceremonial entrance gate to the fort. from abeen reconstructed military engineer plan, so it is an authentic pattern. it is situated on its original site, so that is important. it gives context to the walls of the fort. this is the actual spot where the soldiers would have entered the fort during the war. we are standing now at the reconstructed northwest bastion. this is an excellent authentic example of what the interior and
exterior of one of these would have looked like. one of the important elements of fort would of any have been a powder magazine. i am standing at the entrance door that would have led underground to a long room where powder, bags and barrels of gunpowder would have been stored. this is one of the most dangerous rooms, there were many rules and regulations about who could go in to one of the rooms, what they could carry with them. weaponry, nothing of metal that might scrape against something and give a spark. obviously, no smoking. no candles or anything of that nature. there was actually in the summer of 1863 a powder magazine explosion near alexandria, it was called fort lyon and it was
the result of a careless accident that occurred, so it underscores the importance of the rules and regulations that were put into place for the soldiers stationed here. from the magazine would be taken over to another underground room, typical of the defense system and elsewhere. they were called filling rooms. here we can see another door that led down into an underground room where ammunition would have been and thenth gunpowder the loaded ammunition stored in a room like this. this is where artillery men would have come to get live charges to take out to the canons for artillery practice or during battle situations.
moving a little forward into the interior of the bastion, again this gives our visitors a great picture of what the interior of a civil war fort would have looked like. you would have had gun platforms with various canons and guns located on them. and in the northwest bastion we are looking at replicas of types of guns that would've been installed during the civil war. so you can see these three large inch guns..5 you can also see a couple of examples of 24 pounders, and a six pounder over to the right of me. between the gun platforms you will see ledges, and these are where the infantry or armed
artillery who were also trained in infantry tactics might have stood during the battle situations, to fire over the walls. dayerhaps on an average patrolling and doing guard duty. we are standing on a ledge overlooking the reconstructed northwest bastion. here you can get a little bit of a sense of how high up we are. all of these were built on high point of land, for purposes of better visibility and maximum firing range, indeed if they were attacked or marched upon. towardhis bastion faced leesburg turnpike, present-day route seven. although today we cannot really see it from here, the turnpike from here, it is only about one mile away. we have trees and buildings today, but during the civil war the land around forts like this
one were completely cleared of trees. maximum visibility and field of fire. from here you could have seen all the way down to bailey's crossroads during the civil war, so several miles down. a major access route to alexandria and one that stretched all the way to the shenandoah valley. we are actually standing in the area where the military support buildings were located during the civil war, right back behind the fort near the entrance way gate. and we are standing specifically in front of a reconstruction of a small officers quarters, or hut, that would have been typical of the type of shelter that would have been built for the officers stationed. quartershis little furnished inside to give some idea of what an officer's daily
life might have been like. when you look at the contents you will see they have been functionalized to reflect daily activities and work activities as well. today, i think it is important to note that out of all these forts, very few of them still exist. many of them were destroyed due to development that had encroached on the washington area during the 20th century. so it is for a fortunate that we have fort ward. >> you can watch this and other programs on the history of communities across the country at c-span.org/citiestour. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. >> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history
every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter at c-span history for information on our schedule and keep up with the latest history news. collegehe gettysburg civil war institute's conference in gettysburg, pennsylvania. talking about buchanan's efforts to stop states from seceding. speakers include tj stiles. the coverage is from earlier today. tomorrow morning, another full day live coverage on american history tv, only on c-span3. today we take you to the gettysburg college civil war institute conference in gettysburg pennsylvania. this is the first of two days of live coverage in american history tv. speakers will take an in-depth look at civil war generals as well as a political cartoonist.
, john quist and michael birkner discuss president buchanan during the civil war. this is live coverage on c-span3. peter: good morning, you all. y'all. sorry. spent a lot of time in north carolina and virginia. ok we need to get started with , our first session today. it is wonderful to see quite the turnout at 8:30 in the morning for a panel on james buchanan, which is -- we all know that james buchanan is often overlooked. we are going to remedy that in a moment. i want to quickly introduce our speakers.
first is john quist, the tall one standing behind michael birkner. history.rofessor of he teaches classes in 19 century u.s. history and 20th century as well. he studied at the university of michigan. a student of james mills important -- portend. john has published a very important book entitled the social roots of antebellum reform in alabama and michigan. and his co-speaker today is michael birkner. michael is the benjamin franklin professor of liberal arts and professor of history at gettysburg college. many of you might remember that michael was the interim director of the civil war institute. he played a pivotal role in the transition. let me just say