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2001 James Monroe Scholarship Award Winner

3rd Place

Christopher Apperson

Orange, Virginia


With the start of the 21st century upon us, we have noticed many changes. The basic foundation of our country government is still there, but ideas in politics have changed a lot since James Monroe’s time. Overseas policies have changed a lot from just the 20th to the 21st century let alone when James Monroe was around. Some of George W. Bush’s idea may have come from Monroe. Monroe had a lot of the conservative ideas that George W. Bush had like strengthening the army as an example. Some of Monroe’s ideas would still fit in at the White House today, however others would not, and through this essay I would like to explain why I think this is true.

In George W. Bush’s campaign he was quoted, as saying many times that he wants to improve our national army. This is something Monroe believed in heavily throughout his political career. During the Revolutionary War, and after a defeat of the British in Baltimore, Monroe worked toward creating a strong national army, which the country was lacking. They only had state militias which weren’t strong enough he did not think to hold off a larger war if it came upon them. That is the point I think George W. Bush is also trying to get across in a way. He is basically saying the US army is weak right now and needs to be stronger in order for later, because we may need a larger more trained army later. When Monroe became President he tired valiantly to protect the Army and Navy against cuts and thus helping his popularity. This is also something Bush tried to do with his campaign for president.

In the 21st century, the US I believe still has the same ideas about other countries from Europe or that hemisphere coming into our hemisphere and taking our land. The US still to this day I think is very anti-imperialism. Monroe believed that any attempt to take lands in this hemisphere would be a danger to our country. I still believe this is very evident in America. We don’t like other countries taking over other countries in this hemisphere, because we still think that it would be a threat to the United States. Like the situation with the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Monroe totally was against this and vocalized this thought many times, which later led to some other ideas concerning the Monroe Doctrine. He also believed that we should not meddle with other European Powers. This however is something that we do in the United States. The United States lately in the late 20th and early 21st century likes to get into other nation’s business. I can understand this reasoning, because if this was not done then the US would probably be hurting right now. So that’s something that is different now then it was then.

Monroe also wanted desperately to maintain friendships with European Powers. He thought that this would keep boost the economy, which it did. He also thought that this would help out with wars if they were to arise all of a sudden. He thought that you never know when you will need allies and their help in a war. Today, this idea is still evident. The US likes to try to still keep the relation between European countries in order to make allies, because otherwise the US might be hurting when a war comes around. Monroe said,” to cultivate relations with them1” speaking of European nations. This is the relation I’m sure Bush wants for the start of the 21st century, so this idea is this evident.

Monroe also had ideas about strengthening the federal government. Monroe believed that the president should be elected by the people. He thought they should be elected by popularity not by the Electoral College. This is something that might be coming up in the 21st century due to what happened in the presidential election this year between Al Gore and George W. Bush. We could see another one of Monroe’s positions’s lived out if this ever comes into questioning again. Which I think possibly we will see this come into argument heavily very soon, because of Al Gore winning the popular vote and not the Electoral College. Therefore making Bush the president. I think that if Bush has one big mistake while he is in office they will start to really reconsider the way that the President is elected and we will have another one of Monroe’s idea’s in our government.

President Monroe was a very conservative man that brought us many ideas about how our country should be founded. Some of these ideas are still intact today and some came and went. Though one has stayed and probably will stay for a very long time and has contributed heavily to our success as a country. The Monroe Doctrine was a peace of writing that revolutionized the way we deal with Europe. Still in the 21st Century the US considers this one of its backbones to politics. Foreign Policy would not have been much without Monroe’s Doctrine. The Document laid forth what we will follow through the 21st century and beyond. Monroe thought it would be dangerous to our peace and safety if other countries decided to conquer countries in the America’s. Basically though what Monroe was trying to get across was that it wanted to deal with it’s own problems and would not meddle in the European powers problems. This however is something the US has and I am sure will keep doing. The US does meddle and if they did not we probably would not be able to find out who has nuclear weapons and what not. I think this part of the Monroe Doctrine is what common people in the US want, but nowadays I don’t think is possible with all the weapons of mass destruction going around. That was Monroe’s man point he wanted to keep our peace and safety and that is what the US is still trying to do in the 21st century and will do for the next century.

Wilmerding, Jr., Lucuis, James Monroe: Public Claimant (Rutgers, The State University, 1960)

Cresson, W.P., James Monroe (Shoe String 1971)

Cunningham, Noble E., The Presidency of James Monroe (U of KS, 1996)

Duval Jr., Miles P., James Monroe: An Appreciation (James Monroe Memorial Foundation, 1982)




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