Thursday, August 2, 2018

Review of "Encyclopedia of Presidents: James Monroe," by Christine Maloney Fitz-Gerald

Review of
Encyclopedia of Presidents: James Monroe, by Christine Maloney Fitz-Gerald ISBN 0516013831

Five out of five stars
 Once freedom from Great Britain was achieved, the fledgling United States was a very weak country in the military sense. Once the Revolutionary War was won, the Army was disbanded, local militias were the only real military forces in the country. In the subsequent war of 1812 with Great Britain, U. S. military forces were so inept that the British were able to land forces in Washington and burn the most important government buildings. The only exception was the victory by Andrew Jackson’s forces in the battle of New Orleans.
 Yet, even with this as a backdrop, in 1823, President James Monroe made a speech that set down a policy that is still cited as a component of International Law. It is known as the Monroe Doctrine and it stated that the United States would oppose any attempt by a European power to send land forces to the Western Hemisphere and any attempt to (re)establish claims to territory in the Western Hemisphere.
 A man that fought in the Revolutionary War, Monroe was seriously wounded in the famous Christmas Day crossing of the Delaware and was promoted to the rank of officer. Monroe also served in several diplomatic posts, not always with significant success. When the British attacked Washington D. C. he tried to rally a local militia in defense, but they melted away when the shooting started.
 Monroe also served in several diplomatic posts and his presidency was when the Missouri Compromise was enacted, an action that further codified slavery and put off the time when the issue would ignite the country.
 A man of great energy and accomplishments, James Monroe toured the country at a time when it was dangerous to do so. He took up arms in defense of the country and served in many posts. His presidency was also a time when industrialization was beginning and the first great national infrastructure projects such as the Erie Canal and the Cumberland Road were constructed. He truly made a difference, and this is an excellent biography of James Monroe written at the level of the late elementary/middle school child. It is a worthy addition to all K-12 libraries.

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