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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1956. Department of History.


Copyright 1956, the author. Used by permission.


At the age of thirty-six James Monroe of Virginia was appointed by President Washington as Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States to France. Monroe’s diplomatic assignment began in May of 1794 and continued until his recall by the American government in August of 1796.

Monroe’s mission and his defense of that mission have been controversial subjects upon which critics, from contemporary times to the present have been unable to agree completely.

The purpose of this thesis is to describe Monroe’s mission, including some discussion of the reasons for and the implications of his appointment, his successes and his failures in managing the problems with which he was confronted, the political machinations and the personalities involved, his eventual recall, the effect of his recall in France and the United States, and finally his attempt to justify his conduct during his mission. To understand fully the character and conduct of the young minister in his first diplomatic test, a glimpse into his earlier life showing the influence of momentous events and prominent persons has been necessary.

Advisor: A. C. Land