Forging these United States
James Monroe, March 4, 1817 First Inaugural Address
About This Text
Author: James Monroe
Composed: c.1817 CE
James Monroe’s first inaugural address that ushered in the so-called “Era of Good Feelings,” in which open partisan competition briefly ceased in the United States from 1816-1824. Monroe became the fifth President of the United States after a decisive victory for his party, the Democratic Republicans, in the election of 1816. Monroe begins his Inaugural Address by recounting the country’s successes in the approximately 40 years since the revolution. He especially praises America’s national unity, foreign policy, and economic dynamism. Reflecting on the War of 1812 and the recent Napoleonic Wars in Europe, Monroe encourages spending money on the military to secure the eastern seaboard against foreign invasion. He also calls for a policy of domestic improvement on roads and canals. Monroe also celebrates the “harmony of opinion” that seemed to exist in the country at the time.