Tags: Presidential History | Elizabeth Monroe | first lady | James Monroe

Elizabeth Monroe: The Causes That Defined President James Monroe's First Lady

By    |   Monday, 29 Jun 2015 03:26 PM

Elizabeth Monroe was married to the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe. Time in Paris while her husband was U.S. Minister to France during the French Revolution may have formed her relation to the role of first lady.

As wife of the nation’s fifth president, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe was first lady from 1817 to 1825. She was born in New York City in 1768 and married the future president when she was 17 years old, according to the White House Historical Association.

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Elizabeth Monroe had difficult footsteps to follow. Her predecessor in the role of first lady had been the wildly popular Dolley Madison. Though she was ill while her husband was in office, the National First Ladies’ Library credits Monroe with being able to strike a balance that respected the new American Democracy, but also made the old aristocratic

She was reportedly a more private first lady than Dolley Madison. While the times dictated that social events could hold great political meaning, a fact that Dolley Madison used to her husband’s benefit by entertaining regularly, Monroe limited access to the president and to herself, creating a different kind of political power.

The White House was refurnished under James Monroe, but it was the president, rather than Elizabeth Monroe, who made decisions about the furnishings. Elizabeth Monroe restricted White House entertaining. When she appeared in public, the youthful looking first lady favored a European regal style that reflected her time in France and England. During Monroe’s second term in office her daughter, Eliza Hay often served in her stead as the hostess at White House events.

The Miller Center
at the University of Virginia reports
there are few papers from Elizabeth Monroe in existence. The first lady had a reputation for being aloof and was quite introverted – a fact that may have led to the formal protocol she instituted at the White House.

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Elizabeth Monroe was married to the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe. Time in Paris while her husband was U.S. Minister to France during the French Revolution may have formed her relation to the role of first lady.
Elizabeth Monroe, first lady, James Monroe
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2015-26-29
Monday, 29 Jun 2015 03:26 PM
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