The Political Professionalism of James Monroe


Fred I. Greenstein is Professor of Politics emeritus at Princeton University. His most recent book is Inventing the Job of President: Leadership Style from George Washington to Andrew Jackson.


Analyses of effective chief executives rarely, if ever, include James Monroe, who is known mainly for the doctrine that bears his name. A close analysis of Monroe's presidential conduct, however, shows that he has been inappropriately overlooked. In his presidency, as well as in his pre-presidential political career, Monroe was an effective political professional who advanced his purposes consistently with the norms of his time, which dictated that the president not be perceived as usurping the powers of Congress.