Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness by Harlow Giles Unger

  • "An ardent Freemason, Lafayette viewed the Revolutionary War as more than a war to liberate thirteen colonies from Britain; he believed it represented a worldwide conflict to liberate mankind from tyranny of all kinds, religious as well as political. Monroe instantly embraced the broadened concept, seeing beyond national borders for the first time and growing passionate about the rights of man." - 28
  • "Monroe had, as a young man, believed that expansion of individual liberties was central to the policies of modern governments born of revolution and, indeed, that revolutions would eventually tear down national boundaries and unite mankind. Now he recognized that protection of national interests was the raison d'etre of all governments, whether born of revolution or not. Expansion of individual liberties had simply been a by-product of the American Revolution because it was essential for uniting the American people and, therefore, in the national interest." - 178
  • "With the government bankrupt and no central bank from which to borrow, Monroe ignored both the law and the Constitution and seized power. Saying he was the government of the United States, he intimidated private banks and municipal corporations into lending him more than $5 million on his own signature." - 248
  • "Possessing as we do all the raw materials, the fruits of our own soil and industry, we ought not to depend in the degree we have done on supplies from other countries" -  James Monroe, 263
  • "Marshall's Federalist rulings gave Republican Monroe the constitutional tools he needed to expand the United States into an American empire and lead the American people into the greatest period of extended prosperity in the nation's history." - 264
  • "After assuming the presidency, Monroe remained irate about the Federalist-led secessionist movement in New England during the war. Equating secessionism with treason, he excluded Federalists from the cabinet and pledged 'to prevent the reorganization and revival of the federal party.'" - 267
  • Monroe "told Congress, 'the revenue arising from imposts and tonnage and from the sale of public lands will be fully adequate to the support of the civil government...without the aid of internal taxes. I consider it my duty to recommend to Congress their repeal.' And with that, Congress abolished all property taxes and other internal taxes in the United States." - 276
  • "In addition to ceding the Floridas, the Adams-Onis, or Transcontinental Treaty, defined western limits of the Louisiana Territory, with the Spanish ceding all claims to the Pacific Northwest and extending nominal U.S. sovereignty to the Pacific Ocean." - 293
  • "Without a political party to control individual political ambitions, the president had no mechanism to discipline his own cabinet members, let alone members of Congress...In effect, Monroe had created political anarchy and, in doing so, he not only rendered himself politically impotent, he permitted new divisions based on personal political ambitions to form between political leaders." - 310
  • "As the Duke of Wellington had warned, no nation on earth was powerful enough to sustain military supply lines long enough to challenge American hegemony in the Western Hemisphere. With the Monroe Doctrine, most European leaders realized it would be far less costly to trade with the Americans than to try to subjugate them." - 317

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