The Autobiography of James Monroe
Edited and with an Introduction by Stuart Gerry Brown
Foreword by William M. Ferraro
The compelling, unfinished autobiography of our last founding father.
"This new edition of The Autobiography of James Monroe, with a lively and
insightful introduction by William M. Ferraro, is a great service to our fifth president,
to scholars plumbing his life and times, and to general readers. Few men
had a more intimate view of the nation’s first half century than James Monroe.
Here is what he saw."—Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of An Army at Dawn
"This work is a remarkable performance. . . . More important
than the actual content of this autobiography is the
insight it provides about Monroe’s attitudes and state of
mind in the last years."—Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Stuart Gerry Brown was professor of American civilization in the Maxwell School of Citizenship
and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the author of many books, including
The Social Philosophy of Josiah Royce.
William M. Ferraro is managing editor of The Papers of George Washington at the University
of Virginia. Previously, he served as a documentary editor for the first two volumes
of The Salmon P. Chase Papers and contributed to thirteen volumes of The Papers of
Ulysses S. Grant.
Book Description »[Close »]
First published in 1959, The Autobiography of James Monroe collects the compelling
fragments of Monroe’s unfinished autobiography, written after his retirement
from the presidency. The memoirs trace his boyhood, education, and experiences
during his long service as a public servant before becoming president.
Monroe vividly recalls his military experience in the Revolution, his law studies
at the College of William and Mary, and his service as aide to Governor
Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. From the early days of his political career, Monroe
writes with passion about his opposition to slavery and his support for the Western
farmer. He discusses his controversial first mission to France as a young
and inexperienced minister to a country in the throes of a revolution, as well as
subsequent missions in which he served as the key negotiator with France for
the purchase of the Louisiana Territory.
Originally edited by Stuart Gerry Brown, this new edition includes an foreword by historian and documentary editor William Ferraro. Ferraro considers the lasting influence of Brown’s edition on Monroe scholarship and surveys the most recent research, detailing the ways this founding father’s legacy continues to unfold.
6 x 9, 328 pages, notes, index