James Monroe: Second Annual Message to Congress

(1818)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

Most of Monroe's Second Annual Message to Congress, distributed on November 16, 1818, focuses on one of the major controversies of Monroe's presidency, the invasion and occupation of Florida by American forces led by Major General Andrew Jackson. It was an uncomfortable problem for Monroe, who preferred to be viewed as a peacemaker but who saw Jackson's situation as similar to the one he himself had been in when he was ambassador to France. Many American politicians considered Jackson's invasion of East Florida (at the time the area consisted of East and West Florida) as a violation of international law, and Jackson was accused by some of having exceeded his orders. Others thought that Monroe had given Jackson orders to invade East Florida and should admit it. Jackson himself was angry at Monroe because Monroe's orders had been vaguely worded: They seemed to imply that Jackson was to invade and occupy East Florida while giving Monroe...

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James Monroe (Library of Congress)

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