Several dates in May were significant to Monroe’s career and personal life. In May 1786, he led opposition in the Continental Congress to a proposed treaty with Spain that he saw as an obstacle to America’s westard expansion. Eight years later, on May 28, 1794, Monroe was appointed U.S. minister to France. In May 1799, Elizabeth Monroe gave birth to the couple’s only son, James Spence Monroe, who died the following year.
In May of 1810, following several years of political and personal estrangement, James Monroe made peace with his old friend and colleague James Madison. This reconciliation helped set up the next stage of Monroe’s career in the federal government.
May of 1818 was a busy month, as Gen. Andrew Jackson invaded Spain’s Florida territory while President Monroe was touring the Chesapeake Bay region. The last great May date in Monroe’s life came on May 14, 1831 when he resigned from the board of visitors of the University of Virginia, less than two months before his death.