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The Founders' Curse

James Monroe's Struggle against Political Parties

Brook Poston

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How James Monroe's relationships impacted the rise, fall, and rebirth of political parties in the early American republic.

From the Revolutionary War to his death in 1831, James Monroe's life was dominated by partisan politics. Monroe—not uniquely among the American founders—hated political parties, even writing that he "always considered their existence as the curse of the country." Yet his career saw the rise, fall, and rebirth of American political parties. In The Founders' Curse, historian Brook Poston tells the story of Monroe's decision to help create the Jeffersonian Republican party...

How James Monroe's relationships impacted the rise, fall, and rebirth of political parties in the early American republic.

From the Revolutionary War to his death in 1831, James Monroe's life was dominated by partisan politics. Monroe—not uniquely among the American founders—hated political parties, even writing that he "always considered their existence as the curse of the country." Yet his career saw the rise, fall, and rebirth of American political parties. In The Founders' Curse, historian Brook Poston tells the story of Monroe's decision to help create the Jeffersonian Republican party, his efforts to destroy the Federalists and eliminate the need for parties, and the role he played in their rebirth as various parties developed after the battle to succeed his presidency in 1824.

For a time, Monroe succeeded in his goal to eliminate parties: during his presidency, he intentionally made appointments designed to lessen partisanship and took tours of the nation that brought the country together. Monroe developed relationships with every major political figure of the first half-century of American history, spanning two different generations—yet all his relationships were defined by political parties. In the end, Poston explains how Monroe's successes in eliminating political parties ultimately brought them back with a vengeance under Andrew Jackson's presidency, thus laying the foundations of the modern two-party system of the American government.

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Reviews

Brook Poston presents a fresh take on Monroe's ideas about parties, complicating conventional analyses of elite founders. This book offers a timely look into past periods of political strife. Poston observes the strong parallels between politics of the early national period and our current moment in the United States. The similarities make the early national period a vital lens for looking into twenty-first-century politics.

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Book Details

Release Date
Publication Date
Status
Preorder
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
248
ISBN
9781421448886
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Mentor: Monroe and Thomas Jefferson
2. Monarchists, Royalists, and Tories: Monroe and the Federalists
3. The Antiparty Presidents: James Monroe and George Washington
4. The

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Mentor: Monroe and Thomas Jefferson
2. Monarchists, Royalists, and Tories: Monroe and the Federalists
3. The Antiparty Presidents: James Monroe and George Washington
4. The Last Monarchist: Monroe, Rufus King, and the Missouri Crisis
5. The Adamses and Amalgamation: Monroe and the Adams Family
6. Faction Jackson: Monroe, Jackson, and the End of Good Feelings
Conclusion
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Brook Poston
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Brook Poston

Brook Poston (NACOGDOCHES, TX) is a professor of history at Stephen F. Austin State University. He is the author of James Monroe: A Republican Champion and the coauthor of Parallel Lives: Romans and the American Founders.