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James Monroe (1758)close

James Monroe was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He attended the College of William and Mary, fought with distinction in the Continental Army, practiced law in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and served in the United States Congress. Monroe planned to retire from public life, but in 1811, he was asked by President Madison to serve as secretary of state. Three years later, he became secretary of war. His ambition and energy, together with the backing of President Madison, made him the Republican choice for the Presidency in 1816. He easily won re-election in 1820.

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