Finished this book yesterday. After reading David McCullough’s eight hundred pager on John Adams, it was a relief to read Hart’s reasonably concise biography of James Monroe.
Hart does a more than decent job summarizing the life and times of Monroe. Short and sweet, the book provides a good outline of Monroe’s enormous contributions to the country.
In (very) short, those contributions were:
- Revolutionary war solider
- diplomat to France and England
- Fifth President (last of the founding fathers)
- developed stronger military/banking system (against the wishes of his strongest allies)
- avoided war with England/France
- negotiated Florida/Louisiana Territory
- keep Russia out of North America
- oversaw the “Missouri Compromise”
- authored the “Monroe Doctrine”
Not too shabby. He was completely broke when he died, force to live with his daughter. The US government refused to reimburse him for all the expenses he incurred during his years of public service. Shameful.
Hart could have won the Democratic nomination in 1988 if he hadn’t been caught in a bimbo scandal.