1817 Style

Celebrating President Monroe's Inaugural Bicentennial

James Monroe (James G. Harrison III) gets help with his very 21st-century microphone before the ceremony. (Photo by Norm Shafer)

A crowd gathered near UMW’s Monroe Hall in early March to celebrate the statesman the building is named for. James Monroe, fifth president of the United States, was inaugurated March 4, 1817, in Washington, D.C. Two hundred years later to the day, the James Monroe Museum invited the community to witness the pageantry of a re-enactment of the inauguration on the steps of Mary Washington’s oldest building. Soldiers in plumed caps and coarsely stitched breeches held muskets and bayonets. Ladies in colorful hats and dresses – hands in muffs and shawls pulled tight against the early March cold – waited with a crowd of modern guests. (Story continues below.) Jaunty music rang out from the trumpets of the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Soldiers from the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia presented the color guard, and a smart, white carriage delivered the dignitaries of an earlier era: outgoing President James Madison, first lady Dolley Madison, and John Marshall, … [Read more...]