Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture (2011)
* Harlow Giles Unger. The Last Founding Father - James Monroe
and a Nation’s Call to Greatness (2009)
Webster didn't feel the same level of commitment to the Federalists as he did to Washington. Webster was steadfast in his support of President John Adams, but he wasn't in awe. Webster supported Adams in the Election of 1800 against the Republican candidate Thomas Jefferson, which put Webster at loggerheads with the de facto leader of the Federalist Party,
Alexander Hamilton. Webster wrote editorials in support of Adams, who was being savagely attacked by Hamilton's poison pen.
After the Election of 1800, Hamilton refused to contribute to Webster's newspapers, and started his own, the New York Evening Post, which eventually became the New York Post, America's longest-running daily (now owned by Rupert Murdoch). By the fall of 1801, Webster and Hamilton engaged in New York's first newspaper war, which was an ideological (not personal) conflict, as well as a battle for circulation.
In a way, the newspaper war centered on which of the two was the #1 critic of President Jefferson and the Republicans. Webster saw Republican opposition to Adams as disloyal; ironically, Webster never figured out that Jefferson didn't want anything to do with him in terms of his dictionary in the years that followed. Jefferson viewed Webster as a mere pedagogue with limited political insights. Soon after Jefferson became President, Webster turned increasingly anti-Democratic and paranoid, and isolated himself at home in the "Arnold House".
In 1806, Webster published his Compendium (which meant concise) Dictionary, which was designed as an initial foray to his larger forthcoming dictionary. Americans did not fall all over themselves in embracing Webster's Compendium. Attacks on his first dictionary poured in; even U.S. Senator John Quincy Adams issued a polite-but-pointed rebuke of the dictionary. Webster's definitions had far more precision than his predecessors, but Webster's sweeping denunciations of his predecessors turned off potential supporters as well as buyers.
Monroe did his best to reinvent the Governorship of Virginia, speaking candidly and often. Monroe basically shamed the Assembly into action in education, roads, and the militia. Monroe started the "State-of-the-State" address, showing the positives/negatives facing Virginia, and what he suggested should be done. As Governor, Monroe was instrumental in helping Jefferson and Madison organize Republicans in Virginia. On December 1801, Monroe was selected for his third one-year term as Governor, the last term allowed by Virginia's Constitution.
Napoleon needed to send his soldiers to New Orleans before Jefferson knew what was happening. Napoleon gambled that Jefferson, a long-time Francophile, would not interfere with his plans in Louisiana if he could achieve a fait accompli in New Orleans. But Jefferson forgot his love affair with France when he found out about Spain's deal with France . . . Jefferson understood the importance of New Orleans, not only economically, but also strategically. In August 1802, the U.S. Minister to France, Robert Livingston, received orders from Jefferson to confirm Spain's recession of the Louisiana Territory to France . . . Napoleon ordered his government officials to delay any confirmation of the agreement.
Meanwhile in New Orleans, while the French were stuck at Dunkirk, Americans were getting ready to take New Orleans. Spain had refused U.S. entry (including cargo ships) into New Orleans, and in late-1802, Jefferson ordered his Secretary of War, Henry Dearborn, to get ready to invade the city. Before going to war, however, Jefferson decided to emulate Washington and John Adams and sent a commission to Paris . . . that commission was James Monroe. Monroe was given full discretionary powers, with Jefferson announcing that Monroe was also Minister Extraordinaire with France AND Spain, and had carte blanche with Britain . . . all in order to gain possession of New Orleans.
Spain yielded on the restrictions they placed on the U.S. in New Orleans, mostly due to pressure from Napoleon. That development didn't change Monroe's mission in Paris; Monroe told the French foreign minister if France set foot in New Orleans, America would not only to to war with France, but also enter a military alliance with Great Britain.
When the ice melted in the docks at Dunkirk, Britain believed the armada of French ships was getting ready to cross the Channel, and the Royal Navy boxed in the French ships, which was to America's great advantage. It was at this point that Napoleon started to seriously think about selling the Louisiana Territory to the U.S. The British Ambassador in Paris commented that "through no effort of their own, the Americans are now delivered".
It was also agreed that about 25% of future revenues from selling land in the Louisiana Territory would go towards paying claims of Americans against France from the "Quasi-War" in 1798. Monroe was a little unsettled with signing the agreement, in that he far exceeded the $9 million maximum, and that he was unable to get West Florida . . . Spain hadn't retro-ceded West Florida (or New Orleans for that matter) to France in 1800.