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[AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED, FROM PRESIDENT JAMES MONROE, REGARDING HIS OPPOSITION TO PUBLICLY FUNDED IMPROVEMENTS TO INFRASTRUCTURE]
Washington, 1821. Quarto, on a folded folio sheet. Old fold lines. Separating at vertical fold; several folds neatly repaired with tissue. Some bleed-through of ink, some dampstaining to center of sheets. Still quite legible. Good. A significant letter written by President James Monroe to an unidentified recipient in which he takes a strong stand, in the spirit of Jefferson, to oppose publicly funded improvements to the transportation system or indeed any internal improvements. This was a heady topic in the years following the close of the War of 1812 when American trade and technology were advancing rapidly. Monroe had recently won his second term as President and here mentions he is writing a position paper on the topic. In part, he promises "perfect simplicity and candour. You may recollect that soon after I came into this office, I considered it my duty, to take my stand against the powers of the general government in regard to internal improvements: that I declared in a message to Congress, that I did not think that it possess'd that power, & that I should be compelled to refuse my assent to any bill founded on that principle." He notes that he has corresponded with James Madison and has prepared a statement to be included in his third annual address (later decided against). "I have been guided by principle only, aided by my own experience and observations, and by the lights which virtuous & enlightened men have shed on it." He continues by noting, however, that if he doesn't have to say anything on the subject, that is probably for the best: "...I have thought for the present, that I ought to say nothing on any particular controversy which is discussed before the public. Regarding this office which I hold, I have thought it fair to my country, if I appeared at all, to appear, when called on by some obligation bearing on that office, such as to reject or approve a law, or by a full exposition, founded on general principles, and dictated by a sense of duty....If I publish this paper I shall probably do it before the next meeting of Congress; if I do not publish it before that time, if the object is not acted on, in the next session, it probably will not be while I remain in office." James Monroe (1758-1831) served as ambassador to France 1794-96, then as special envoy to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and later as Secretary of State for most of the Madison administration. Monroe's presidency (1817-25) has been characterized as the Era of Good Feeling, due in part to his balanced approach to appointments and political decisions.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2015-11-18           Check availability:      Biblio    

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