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James Monroe

Study & Essay

Section 10: The Doctrine

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Study Questions

What was the "Era of Good Feeling"?

The Era of the Good Feeling, a term first coined by a Boston newspaper during Monroe's fifteen-week tour of the northern states, described a time of prosperity and relative safety in early nineteenth century America that stretched from roughly 1816 to 1820. The divisive issue of Missouri statehood would decisively end the era.

Why did Monroe overstep his authority with the Louisiana Purchase?

Monroe recognized that he had agreed to spend more money than he had been authorized to spend, but he also recognized that the opportunity to double the size of his country was unique and would not come along again if he passed it up. In the end, Jefferson and the U.S. government were ecstatic about the purchase.

Why was Monroe unique when he was elected to the presidency?

Monroe was the first "professional" politician. Previous presidents had tended to split their time between private practices, usually law, and public service. From Monroe's first job in the Virginia House he spent very little time in the private sector, almost always hopping from one government job right into a new one.

Essay Topics

Why was Monroe so interested in westward expansion?

How was Monroe perceived by those who worked with him in government?

What affect did Monroe's career as a governmental official have on his ability to govern?

What about Monroe's personality made him wait so long to claim reimbursement for expenses on behalf of the government?

Why were northern states worried about the "Virginia influence"?

Why was the Monroe Doctrine so important in American foreign policy?

How should Monroe be remembered today?

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