In the Spirit of the People: James Monroe's 1817 Tour of the Northern States

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In the Spirit of the People: James Monroe's 1817 Tour of the Northern States

Tuesday, 6/20/17 12:15 pm - Friday, 7/14/17 5:30 pm

Event Type

Exhibit/Display
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust St
19107 Philadelphia , PA
Pennsylvania

James Monroe became the fifth president of the United States in March, 1817. Three months later he embarked on a fifteen-week tour of the northern states, traveling up the east coast from Washington, DC to Portland, Maine; west to Detroit; and back to Washington via Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and Maryland, totaling some 2,000 miles. 

Modern-day presidents are readily recognizable by almost every American.  This was not true two hundred years ago. Monroe’s predecessors rarely traveled, and there was, of course, no electronic media continually broadcasting the president’s image or the sound of his voice. Monroe’s tour therefore created a national sensation. Americans came out by the thousands, thrilled by the opportunity to see the president, and newspapers across the country gave day-by-day accounts of his progress. Political differences were forgotten as Americans of both parties joined together in grand celebrations marked by parades, speeches, dinners, balls, receptions, and concerts. A Boston newspaper coined the phrase “Era of Good Feelings” to describe the national unity created by Monroe’s tour. The term became the catch-phrase of his presidency.

In collaboration with the James Monroe Museum and The Papers of James Monroe, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will host In the Spirit of the People: James Monroe's 1817 Tour of the Northern States, a traveling exhibit commemorating the bicentennial of an historic presidential tour.