Monroe began reading law under Thomas Jefferson in 1780, and passed the Virginia bar in
Rather than practice law, however, Monroe
initially pursued a political career, beginning
with election to the Virginia Assembly in 1782.
In 1783, he was elected to the Congress of the
Confederation, where he served three years.
In 1786, Monroe married Elizabeth Kortright,
left New York City, New York (then the capital of
the United States), and established a law office
in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He practiced for
three years, during which period he also
experienced the birth of his first child, was
again elected to the Virginia Assembly, and
attended the Annapolis Convention. He left his
law office after being elected to the United
States Senate in 1790, and never returned.
1927, Rose de Chine Gouverneur Hoes, Monroe's
great-granddaughter, bought the site on which
Monroe's law office was located and opened the
James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library,
containing her personal collection of Monroe
objects, books, and documents. Her son, Laurence
Hoes, added to the collection and built a large
addition in 1948, and then donated it to the
State of Virginia. Over the years, other Monroe
descendants have added family objects, and the
museum now holds the country's largest collection
of artifacts and documents related to the fifth
president of the United States. The museum is
still owned by the State of Virginia, but is
administered by the University of Mary
Washington. The museum's website is http://jamesmonroemuseum.umw.edu/.
Footnote: Research has determined that the
building Monroe's descendants long believed to be
the one which Monroe used as his law office is
actually three individual buildings constructed
at different times beginning in 1816 and
nowcombined into one.
Questions or comments about