Lesson Plans Monroe, Elizabeth


Monroe, Elizabeth
Robert Fulton's Submarine
Robert Fulton is best known for his development of the steamboat although he also developed an early submarine he named the Nautilus. Although Fulton was an American he spent 20 years of his life living in France. He was living there at the same time that James Monroe was in Paris serving as the American Minister to France.   At the beginning of the nineteenth century France was at war with Great Britain. Having been recalled after the French Revolution, Monroe was sent back to France by President Jefferson to negotiate the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon. His wife Elizabeth who was very popular with the French people accompanied him. A treaty was secured to buy the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon for 15 million dollars. Napoleon needed the money to help finance his war with England.   In 1801 Napoleon heard that Robert Fulton had created a naval craft that could maneuver underwater. This first submarine was called the Nautilus. Napoleon viewed a demonstration of this vessel that was supposed to be able to dive 25 feet underwater and keep three crewmen underwater for an hour. The demonstration did not go well because of some leaks in the Nautilus. This combined with the fact that the French found the idea of submarine warfare ungentlemanly, led to Napoleon passing on Fulton’s invention. Fulton then returned to the United States and began his work on the steamboat.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Science, Medicine, Inventions and tech

Monroe, Elizabeth
Childhood in the 18th Century
James and Elizabeth Monroe had three children, two daughters and one son.  Their son, James Spence, lived only two years. The two remaining, Eliza and Maria, had typical childhoods of the period.  While we don’t have photographs of these children to tell us about their lives, we do have American paintings of children and families that might give us clues as to what their clothes, toys, hairstyles, and some activities were like.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas

Monroe, Elizabeth
Great States: Daniel Boone and the Opening of the Blue Grass State
The wilderness exploits of Daniel Boone were well known to several generations of First Ladies, including Elizabeth Monroe.  Although her public role as the wife of President James Monroe was not large (she preferred a much more private one), it is probable that she knew when her husband awarded a large tract of land in Missouri to Boone in 1815, as it is likely that she recognized the importance of his opening of large amounts of land in what would become Kentucky and further western territories.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Monroe, Elizabeth
Popular Songs, Then and Now
Popular music has always been a source of interest and fun, and the 18th century was no exception. Indeed, some of the songs from the 17th and 18th centuries are still sung today, sometimes by folk singers, but often by the population at large. Songs in this lesson would have been popular as Elizabeth Monroe was growing up and, no doubt, teaching them to her children.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Sports and Popular Culture

Monroe, Elizabeth
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: The Role of Women in the French Revolution
James Monroe was appointed as the minister to France in 1794. This was during the height of the French Revolution. During his voyage to France the Thermidorian Reaction occurred, placing the French government in total chaos, and overthrowing Robespierre. Although the Reign of Terror was essentially over, the guillotine was still being used to execute political prisoners.   Among these prisoners was Adrienne de Noiolles de Lafayette, the imprisoned wife of the Marquis de Lafayette, the great personal friend of George Washington and many other revolutionary era patriots and France's most prominent supporter of American independence. The wife of the Marquis was due to be executed when Elizabeth Monroe visited her in prison. Elizabeth Monroe had recognized the importance of social behavior in France and come to be known by the French as “La Belle Americane” which meant the beautiful American. This visit to the French prison caused the French to release the wife of the Marquis and her children because the unstable French government wanted to maintain their alliance with the United States.   This is an example of the effect of a woman on the French Revolution. Although women my not have had direct political involvement in the French Revolution they did have a significant effect.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Law, Politics and Govt

Monroe, Elizabeth
Uranus: 27 Moons and Counting
The late 1700’s and early 1800’s were exiting times in the fields of science and technology. During the life of Elizabeth Monroe enlightenment ideas and ideals advanced many field of science dramatically. One of these fields was astronomy.   German born British astronomer Sir Frederick William Herschel was an amateur astronomer, as well as a composer; indeed, it was his interest in music that led him to the study of mathematics and eventually lenses. As telescopes were not readily available and the parts for one Herschel desired to make were not easy to procure he decided to construct his own telescope. He was able to accomplish this through his study of mirrors and lenses. On March 13, 1781, while scanning the skies with a 7-inch reflecting telescope he noticed the object that was eventually found to be the planet Uranus.   In 1782, he actually identified the planet Uranus and two of its moons, Titania and Oberon. It is worth noting that Herschel’s sister, Caroline, was also a noted astronomer at a time when women did not participate in the sciences very much.  She is credited with discovering several comets, some of which are named for her in some way.    Today, 27 moons surrounding the planet Uranus have been discovered.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Science, Medicine, Inventions and tech

Monroe, Elizabeth
Great Cities of the World: New York City
Elizabeth Kortright Monroe was born in New York in 1768. She married future president James Monroe on February 16, 1786 in New York City and the couple honeymooned on Long Island. They spent their married lives living in Virginia, Paris, and London but Elizabeth Monroe always had ties to New York City. Her youngest daughter Maria Hester Monroe-Gouverneur and her husband lived in New York. After Elizabeth’s death, James Monroe went to live with his daughter Maria and her husband in there. He died soon after and was buried in New York at the Gouverneur family's vault in the New York City Marble Cemetery. Although he was later re-interred to the President's Circle at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, there can be no doubt that The city of New York, one of the great cities of the world, was very important to the Monroe family.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Monroe, Elizabeth
Up, Up, and Away! Hot Air Balloons
Human fascination with being air-borne can be documented back to the ancient Greeks.  But it was the year of Elizabeth Monroe’s 14th birthday that the technology was developed to allow the creation and flight of the first hot air balloon.  The Montgolfier brothers, Joseph and Etienne, were the 18th century equivalent of Charles Lindbergh.  This exciting activity developed within the span of Elizabeth Monroe’s life, and it's popularity has extended into the 21st century!
Skill: Middle School     Category: Sports and Popular Culture

Monroe, Elizabeth
The Monroe Doctrine: A Simulation
What we know today as the Monroe Doctrine, was actually first announced in President Monroe’s  seventh annual address to Congress in December of 1823.  Nor were the ideas contained in the speech new; indeed, they go back to George Washington’s warning to avoid close entanglements of any kind with European states, and they continue to have an important influence on American foreign policy today.  Although Elizabeth Monroe did not often attempt to involve herself in her husband’s (and the country’s) foreign policy, it is also the case that she was familiar with European ideas and issues, having  spent some considerable time in Europe with him as the Ambassador’s wife in both France and England. So it is likely that she had some thoughts on the issue of our relations with European countries.
Skill: High School/College     Category: Law, Politics and Govt

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