April 2nd, 2017

book cover - tpbol

Cabinet: James Monroe

On this date in 1811, 53-year-old James Monroe took office as the 7th Secretary of State. At the start of his six-year term, he could not find a peaceful solution to the problems with Great Britain, and concluded that war could not be more injurious than the current state of affairs between the nations. He ordered the evacuation of all important papers from the State Department in advance of the British invasion of Washington in 1814. After the British withdrawal, President Madison appointed Monroe the 8th Secretary of War (September 1814-March 1815) and military commander of the Federal District (concurrent with his duties as Secretary of State). Though he was unable to convince Congress of the need for a draft, he was able to strengthen the Army by offering greater inducements for service. Monroe was elected President in 1816, and again in 1820.
book cover - tpbol

Supreme Court: Stanley Forman Reed

On this date in 1980, Stanley Forman Reed died at the age of 95 years, 93 days. Born on the last day of 1884, he was the US Solicitor General from 1935 to 1938, when Franklin Roosevelt appointed him to the Supreme Court. Reed retired from the Court in 1957.

Reed was the longest-lived member of the Supreme Court until 2015, when John Paul Stevens (who retired from the Court in 2010) exceeded his record.
book cover - rtvp

Second Lady Eliza Burr

On this date in 1775, Eliza Bowen Jumel was born, though the details of her early life are uncertain. She may have been the illegitimate daughter of a prostitute and a sailor, or born at sea, the daughter of a French naval officer. Whatever her beginnings, she grew up poor and lower class, and aimed for more in life. In 1804, she married a wealthy merchant named Stephen Jumel, and charmed society in France. He died in 1832, and the following year, Eliza married former Vice President Aaron Burr (it was his second marriage as well). Their marriage was brief, as she soon accused him of being a fortune-seeker, and sought a divorce. Their divorce was finalized September 14, 1836, the day he died. Eliza was from then known as Madame Jumel, and traveled widely and lived comfortably until her death in 1865.