Section #5 - A new Whig Party favors industrialization over the Democrat’s agrarian economy

Chapter 46: James Monroe’s Second Term

November-December 1820

Monroe Wins Re-Election Unopposed

The economic depression that continues to plague the country in 1820 would seem to offer the  Federalists an opportunity to revive their political fortunes, but it is beyond saving, for multiple reasons.  

Perhaps foremost is the absence of a strong and well known leader in the mold of Washington, Hamilton and John Adams. DeWitt Clinton, who ran well against Madison in 1812, has returned to his roots as a Democratic-Republican, and is serving as Governor of New York. Senator Rufus  King, has lost the last two races by large margins, and is now 65 years old. Meanwhile, the most logical Federalist contender, 53 year old John Quincy Adams, has been drummed out of the party for his support of Jefferson’s 1807 Embargo, and is serving as Monroe’s Secretary of State. 

In addition to lacking a credible presidential candidate, the Federalists are without a platform that resonates at the national level. Most people regard them as the party of wealthy New Englanders, touting the narrow wishes of the shipping and mercantile industries, out of touch with the rest of the country. Still, others have never forgiven them for their “treasonous threat,” at the 1814  Hartford Convention, to secede from the Union.  

The result is that Monroe in 1820, like Washington in 1792, runs essentially unopposed in the election. The voter turn-out is only 107,000, about the same as in 1816. The President wins every state in the Union, and all but one electoral vote. The lone hold-out is an elector from New Hampshire who regards Monroe as a failure, and casts his vote for John Quincy Adams.  

Results Of The 1820 Presidential Election 
Candidates State Party Pop  VoteTot  EVSouth Border North West
James Monroe Va Dem-Rep 87,3432297527 10720
Anti-Monroe — Federalist 17,4650
DeWitt Clinton NY Independent1,8930
John Quincy  AdamsDem-Rep11
Total 106,7012307527 108 20
Needed To Win116
Note: South (Virginia, NC, SC, Georgia, TN, Ala, Miss, La), Border (Delaware, Maryland, Ky), North (NH, Mass, NY, NJ,  Penn, RI, Conn, Vt, Maine), West (Ohio, Indiana, IL) Total # electors voting = 230; must get more than half to win = 116.

The Federalists do continue to slate candidates for Congress, but their influence outside of New England remains trivial.

Results Of Congressional Elections 
House 181718191821
Democratic-Republicans 146 160 155
Democratic-Republicans25 3737
Congress# 15th 16th 17th
President Mad Mon Mon
March 5, 1821

Monroe’s Second Inaugural Address

Since March 4, 1821 falls on the Sabbath, Monroe delays his inauguration until Monday the fifth. His speech is lengthy and mixes praise for the nation’s progress since independence along with his priorities for his second term.  

He begins with foreign policy, recalling the second war with Britain, and the nation’s need for a strong military to avoid similar costly conflicts in the future.

Just before the commencement of the last term the United States had concluded a war with a very powerful nation…Provision was (then) made for the construction of fortifications at proper points through the whole extent of our coast and…augmentation  of our naval force…It need scarcely be remarked that these measures have not been  resorted to in a spirit of hostility to other powers 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. It is believed, and experience has shown, that such a preparation is the best expedient that can be resorted to prevent war. 
The conduct of the Government in what relates to foreign powers is always an object of the highest importance to the nation. Its agriculture, commerce, manufactures, fisheries, revenue, in short, its peace, may all be affected by it. Attention is therefore due to this  subject.

Relations with Spain seem to be progressing well. For the moment, the United States will remain neutral in regard to Spain’s ongoing wars with its South American colonies. The recent acquisition of Florida was important to America’s future, and signals the opportunity for ongoing friendly relations. 

The war between Spain and the colonies in South America, which had commenced many years before, was then the only conflict that remained unsettled Our attitude has  therefore been that of neutrality between them, which has been maintained by the  Government with the strictest impartiality. Should the war be continued, the United  States, regarding its occurrences, will always have it in their power to adopt such  measures respecting it as their honor and interest may require. Great confidence is  entertained that the late treaty with Spain, which has been ratified by both the parties, and the ratifications whereof have been exchanged, has placed the relations of the two countries on a basis of permanent friendship. 
But to the acquisition of Florida too much importance cannot be attached. It secures to the United States a territory …whose importance is…of the highest interests of the Union. It opens to several of the neighboring States a free passage to the ocean…by several  rivers…It secures us against all future annoyance from powerful Indian tribes. It gives us  several excellent harbors in the Gulf of Mexico for ships of war of the largest size. It  covers the Mississippi and other great waters within our extended limits, and thereby  enables the United States to afford complete protection to the vast and very valuable  productions of our whole Western country…

The outlook for commercial relations with Britain and France are also favorable.

By a treaty…on the 20th of October, 1818, the convention regulating the commerce between the United States and Great Britain…was revived and continued for the term of ten years from the time of its expiration. The negotiation with France for the regulation of the commercial relations…will be pursued on the part of the United States…with an earnest desire that it may terminate in an arrangement satisfactory to both parties.

On the budgetary front, the message is mixed. Some progress has been made on paying down the public debt, without overburdening taxes – but government revenues have fallen and more bonds have been issued to cover expenditures.

The situation of the United States in regard to…resources…revenue, and the facility with which it is raised affords a most gratifying spectacle. The payment of nearly $67,000,000 of the public debt, with the great progress made in measures of defense and in other improvements of various kinds since the late war, are conclusive proofs of this  extraordinary prosperity, especially when…these expenditures have been defrayed  without a…direct tax and…in a manner not to be felt. 
Under the present depression of prices, affecting all the productions of the country…  revenue has considerably diminished, the effect of which has been to compel Congress…to resort to loans or internal taxes to supply the deficiency. On the  presumption that this depression and the deficiency in the revenue arising from it would  be temporary, loans were authorized for the demands of the last and present year. 
I am satisfied that internal duties and excises, with corresponding imposts on foreign articles of the same kind, would, without imposing any serious burdens on the people, enhance the price of produce, promote our manufactures, and augment the revenue, at the same time that they made it more secure and permanent.

After turning once again to fair treatment of the Indian tribes, and expressing concerns about renewed conflicts in Europe, he zeroes in on his optimism around America’s future.

If we turn our attention, fellow-citizens…to our country…we have every reason to anticipate the happiest results In this great nation there is but one order, that of the people. By steadily pursuing this course in this spirit there is every reason to believe that our system will soon attain…such a degree of order and harmony as to command the admiration and respect of the civilized world. 
Twenty-five years ago the river Mississippi was shut up and our Western brethren had no outlet for their commerce The United States now enjoy the complete and uninterrupted sovereignty over the whole territory from St. Croix to the Sabine. New States, settled from among ourselves in this and in other parts, have been admitted into our Union in equal  participation in the national sovereignty with the original States. We now, fellow citizens, comprise within our limits the dimensions and faculties of a great power under a  Government possessing all the energies of any government ever known to the Old World,  with an utter incapacity to oppress the people. 
With full confidence and with a firm reliance on the protection of Almighty God, I shall forthwith commence the duties of the high trust to which you have called me.

March 4, 1821 – March 4, 1825

Overview Of Monroe’s Second Term

All cabinet members in place at the end of Monroe’s first term remain in place through the second, except for one turn-over in the Navy post.

James Monroe 3
James Monroe (1758-1831)
James Monroe Cabinet In 1821
PositionNameHome State
Vice-President Daniel Tompkins New York
Secretary of State J Quincy Adams Massachusetts
Secretary of TreasuryWilliam Crawford Georgia
Secretary of War John C. Calhoun South Carolina
Secretary of the NavySmith Thompson New York
Attorney General William Wirt Virginia

The focus of the second term turns out to be foreign policy.  

The stage for this is set early in 1821 when Alexander I of Russia asserts a claim to vast acreage in the Pacific northwest, including what becomes the Oregon Territory. 

Then comes pressure from King Ferdinand VII of Spain, demanding that the United States refrain from recognizing new governments in his break-away colonies across South America. 

Monroe eventually sees both these acts as affronts to America’s growing power in the world, and in need of a firm response. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams promotes this stance, and completes careful diplomacy with Britain and France to head off any thoughts they might have of aligning with either Spain or Russia. 

The final word on foreign intrusions comes in Monroe’s annual speech to Congress on December 2, 1823. As a lifelong military man, the President places national security ahead of all other duties, and decides that the time has come to end further attempts by foreigners to impose their wills within the hemisphere.  

In years ahead, this “hands-off” policy becomes known as the “Monroe Doctrine,” and it set the stage for America to achieve hegemony over North America.  

As the President’s second term plays out, intense jockeying is under way to find his successor in office. Three men in particular – John Quincy Adams, William Crawford and Andrew Jackson – will vie for the office, in an election that will, for the second time, end up decided in the House of Representatives.

James Monroe Tomb
Monroe’s Final Tomb – Hollywood
Cemetery, Richmond

James Monroe is 66 years old when he retires to his Highland plantation, which has expanded to some 3,500 acres and is worked by 30-40 slaves. But his final six years will not be happy ones. Like Jefferson and Madison, his personal finances are in a shambles, only he lacks their inherited wealth to fend off ruin. He repeatedly petitions government officials for “reimbursement” of expenses incurred during his public service, but to no avail.

He is forced to sell Highland Plantation in 1825 and move 125 miles north to Oak Hill plantation, inherited from his uncle, Judge Jones. His wife dies in September of 1830, another terrible blow.

After having lived with the partner of your youth, in so many vicissitudes of life, so long together, and afforded each other comforts which no other person on earth could do…to have her snatched from us, is an affliction which none but those who feel it, can justly estimate.

Monroe lives but ten months from his wife’s passing. He is forced to sell Oak Hill, and is taken in, virtually destitute, by his younger daughter in New York city. He dies there of heart failure on July 4, 1831.

Key Events: Monroe’s Second Term
June 21 Waterford Academy For Young Ladies opens in Waterford, NY 
Aug 10 Missouri admitted to the Union as 24th state
Sept 4 Czar Alexander I of Russia claims all of North America north of 51st parallel
Republic of Liberia opened by American Colonization Society
Mar 30 East and West Florida joined, with Andrew Jackson as territorial governor
May 30 Slave rebellion plot of Denmark Vessey foiled; 35 blacks hanged.
June 19 US recognizes Bolivar’s Republic of Gran Columbia
July 20 Tennessee state legislature declares support for Andrew Jackson for 1824 presidential race
July 24 US protests Russian claims to Oregon territory region
Oct 27 270 mile stretch of Erie Canal opened
Nov 18 Kentucky state legislature says it will support Henry Clay for the 1824 nomination
Dec 12 The US recognizes Mexican independence from Spain under emperor, Augustin de Iturbide
Jan 27 The US recognizes Chile and Argentina as independent nations
Feb 18 Iturbide confirms land grant from Mexico to Moses and Stephen Austin in Tejas province
July 17 JQ Adams informs Russia that it will resist any further foreign colonization in the Americas
Aug 20 Britain supports US resistance to Russian claims in the Oregon Territory region
Oct 9 France declares it will not support Spanish efforts to regain colonies in South America
Dec 2 The “Monroe Doctrine” announced in the President’s annual speech to Congress 
Feb 14 66 House members nominate Treasury Secretary William Crawford for the 1824 nomination
Feb 15 Boston politicians advance the candidacy of JQ Adams for the nomination
Feb Explorer Jed Smith opens “South Pass” (Wyoming) through Rocky Mountains
Mar 2 In Gibbons v Ogden, Supreme Court says Fed trumps states on interstate commerce issues
Mar 31 Speaker Henry Clay supports protectionist Tariff of 1824 and need for infrastructure upgrades
April 17 Russia signs treaty with US renouncing claims south of 54’40”, including the Oregon Territory 
May 22 Congress supports Clay’s Tariff of 1824 bill
May 26The US recognizes Brazil’s independence
Jun 17The Bureau of Indian Affairs is established
Oct 5The Renssalaer School Of Theoretical And Practical Science opens
Dec 1The 1824 presidential election ends with no candidate getting an electoral college majority
— Benjamin Lundy moves publishing of Genius of Universal Emancipation newspaper to Baltimore
Jan 3The utopian New Harmony community opens in Indiana
Feb 9JQ Adams is elected President when Clay supports him over Jackson in a House vote