James Monroe (1811–1817)
James Monroe was born on April 28, 1758 near Colonial Beach, Virginia, and attended the College of William and Mary. He entered politics in 1782, completing the first of what would be three separate stays as a member of the Virginia Assembly (1782, 1786, and 1810-1811). In 1783, he gained a seat in the Continental Congress, remaining there until 1786.
Having taken up the study of law in 1778 after retiring as lieutenant colonel from the Continental Army (1776-1778), Monroe temporarily quit politics in 1786 to run his own law practice for the next two years (1786-1788). Following his return to public service as a U.S. senator from Virginia (1790-1794), in 1794 Monroe began his overseas service for the United States in 1794, including time as U.S. minister plenipotentiary to France (1794-1796 and 1803), and U.S. minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain (1803-1807). When not serving abroad, Monroe continued with his private law practice (1796-1799 and 1807-1810), and for four terms held office as governor of Virginia (1799-1802 and 1811). He interrupted his fourth term as governor in 1811 to become secretary of state in the cabinet of President James Madison. Although Monroe resigned from that post in 1814, he returned in 1815 and served until the end of Madison's administration in 1817. That same year, Monroe took over as President of the United States, serving for two terms from 1817 to 1825. Following his one-year tenure as president of the Virginia Constitutional Congress in 1829, Monroe retired permanently from politics and moved to New York City, where he died on July 4, 1831.