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.