In 1804, which future U.S. President attended Napoleon Bonaparte’s coronation in Paris?

And the answer: James Monroe.

Photo credit: public domain. 

While serving as the American ambassador to Britain and France, James Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth, attended Napoleon's coronation at the Notre-Dame Cathedral. During his time in France, Monroe learned that Napoleon was strapped for cash, and willing to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States.  

Aside from George Washington, James Monroe was the only President to run unopposed for reelection. Yet, he was a man of humble beginnings. Born in Virginia in 1758, Monroe grew up as a farmer with little time to pursue his studies. By age 16, both of his parents had passed away, leaving Monroe in charge of the farm and his four siblings. It was at that time that a man named Joseph Jones took young Monroe and his siblings in. Jones went on to introduce Monroe to political greats such as Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and George Washington.

In 1776, Monroe quit college to join the Continental Army. After fighting and receiving substantial injuries in the Battle of Trenton, Monroe became the last US President to be a Revolutionary War hero and Founding Father. After the war, Monroe continued his studies before then going on to serve various positions in the government, such as US Senator, Minister to France, and governor of Virginia. Monroe was elected to become the 5th President of the United States in 1817.

During his two terms in office, Monroe created the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine warned European nations not to interfere or colonize the regions of the Western Hemisphere which belonged to the United States. The European powers, according to Monroe, were obligated to respect the Western Hemisphere as the United States' sphere of interest.

Learn more about James Monroe here.


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