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James Monroe: A Resource Guide


James Monroe, fifth President of the United States
James Monroe, Fifth President of the United States.
1 print : lithograph.
D.W. Kellogg & Co.
[between 1830 and 1842].
Prints and Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:
LC-USZ62-130171

Digital Collections

The James Monroe Papers

The James Monroe Papers at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress consist of approximately 5,200 items dating from 1758 to 1839. Monroe (1758–1831) was the fifth president of the United States, and one of 23 presidents whose papers are at the Library of Congress. Monroe's papers document his presidency and also his prior careers as secretary of state, secretary of war, delegate to the United States Continental Congress, diplomat, and governor of Virginia.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Consult the guide to using the James Monroe Papers to locate additional items in this collection.

Additional Digital Collections

An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

The Printed Ephemera collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history. Search the collection to find items related to James Monroe, including a proclamation issued in 1823.

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875

This collection contains a large selection of congressional material related to James Monroe's political career as a delegate to the Continental Congress, a diplomat, U.S. senator, secretary of state, secretary of war, and president. Search this collection by date and publication to find materials related to Monroe.

  • The Journals of the Continental Congress documents Monroe's service as a delegate to the Continental Congress during the years 1783-86.
  • The Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789 includes more than 200 letters to, from, or referring to James Monroe.
  • The Annals of Congress provides congressional debate and presidential messages from Monroe's service in the U.S. Senate (1790-94) and his presidency (1817-25). The Annals contains the text of the Monroe Doctrine, which was declared in a few paragraphs of Monroe's seventh annual message to Congress on December 2, 1823.
  • The American State Papers contains the legislative and executive documents of Congress during the period 1789 to 1838, covering the time period that Monroe served as secretary of state (1811-17), secretary of war (1814-15), and president.
  • The United States Statutes at Large contain the full text of all the laws enacted and treaties ratified during Monroe's presidency, including the Missouri Compromise and the Adams-Onís Treaty with Spain.

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789

This collection contains documents relating to the work of the Continental Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, including 17 items that reference James Monroe.

The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799

The George Washington Papers contain 27 items to, from, or referring to James Monroe (some references are in the editorial notes that accompany the transcripts). To find them, go to the collection’s search page and search on the exact phrase James Monroe (do not put quotation marks around the words).

Among the collection’s Monroe-related materials are:

"I Do Solemnly Swear...": Presidential Inaugurations

This collection contains approximately 400 items relating to presidential inaugurations, including Monroe's first inauguration in 1817 and his second inauguration in 1821.

The James Madison Papers

The Madison Papers consist of approximately 12,000 items, including more than 700 items to or referring to James Monroe.

Among the collection’s Monroe-related materials are:

  • A letter from James Madison to Monroe and Robert Livingston informing them that the Louisiana Purchase treaty had safely arrived in Washington, D.C.
  • A letter from James Madison to Monroe on March 31, 1811, concerning Monroe's recent appointment to the position of secretary of state.
  • A letter from James Madison to Monroe on October 30, 1823, responding to Monroe's request for foreign policy advice.

Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress

The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents. This is the largest collection of original Jefferson documents in the world. The Jefferson Papers contain more than 400 items to, from, or referring to James Monroe.

Among the collection’s Monroe-related materials are:

  • An account of books and household items that Jefferson sold to Monroe in 1782.
  • A letter from Jefferson to Monroe on January 10, 1803, concerning Monroe's appointment to negotiate a treaty with France and acquire the Louisiana Territory.
  • A letter from Jefferson to Monroe on January 1, 1815, that discusses the capture of Washington, D.C., by British troops and other developments related to the War of 1812.

Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years

In honor of the Manuscript Division's centennial, its staff has selected for online display approximately ninety representative documents spanning from the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The collection contains a letter written by Monroe to Thomas Jefferson dated October 17, 1823. Monroe's letter seeking foreign policy advice was written a few months before the Monroe Doctrine was publicly unveiled.

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  December 2, 2015
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