While the Capitol Burns

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September 23, 2013 by Lorene

In 1814, when British troops landed on either side of the capitol city, Monroe “commandeered a small fleet of boats to sail upstream with all the books and documents of the State Department, along with the contents of his home – his sizable book collection, the magnificent furnishings from Paris, and the family’s personal effects.”

On the advice of Monroe, Madison was giving orders to his Secretary of War Armstrong, who ignored them and did what he wanted. After the British retreated, the public and the newspapers, “heaped endless abuse on the President and savaged Armstrong… for perceived cowardice. Monroe emerged as a hero.”


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