On April 5, 1821, James Monroe was sworn in as America’s fifth President. He was the first President to be inaugurated on the 5th of the month rather than the 4th.
Monroe, born on April 28, 1758, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, fought in the Revolution and was a hero in the Battle of Trenton. Washington called him “a brave, active and sensible officer”.
The Revolution propelled Monroe into public service. He became a member of the Virginia legislature, a delegate to the Continental Congress, a member of the Virginia ratifying convention, U.S. senator from Virginia, minister to France, and governor of Virginia.
During Monroe’s Presidency, he wrote the Monroe Doctrine. It stated that the colonization period of the Americas was long over, and that other countries should avoid interfering in the Americas. Monroe strongly believed that the affairs of Europe and those of America should be separate. The Doctrine grew out of clashes with Russia over the Pacific Coast, and with a European alliance over colonization of South America.
Monroe alluded to his dislike of European involvement in his second inaugural address. He said: “The river [Mississippi] has not only become the property of the United States from its source to the ocean, with all its tributary streams (with the exception of the upper part of the Red River only), but Louisiana, with a fair and liberal boundary on the western side and the Floridas on the eastern, have been ceded to us.”.