James Monroe started as a “small planter” on a 500 acre tobacco farm located close the Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. He fought in the Revolutionary War with George Washington, served in the Virginia General Assembly and on the Confederation Congress. He was a US Senator, Minister to France, England and Spain, Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State and Secretary of War. As if that wasn’t enough, he was the fifth President of the United States. He is most famous for his Monroe Doctrine (1823), the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, acquisition of the peninsula of Florida (1819), and he supported the formation of the African nation of Liberia for freed blacks.
Considering all his accomplishments, the Monroe home is very simple. Named Ash Lawn – Highland, this property consisted of a fairly small house with just a few outbuildings. A modest garden fronts the house, and the rest of the property is very utilitarian.
It is quite surprising to see modest Ash Lawn after having visited the grandeur of Monticello just a few miles away.