James Monroe's First Inaugural Address (1817)

Riding on the success of the Democratic-Republicans in concluding the War of 1812, James Monroe won the presidency with a wide margin of electoral votes (183-34). On March 4, 1817, he was sworn in as the fifth president. Here are some of the words that ushered in the Era of Good Feelings.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. condition
    a state at a particular time
    my attention is naturally drawn to the great causes which have contributed in a principal degree to produce the present happy condition of the United States.
  2. flourish
    make steady progress
    During a period fraught with difficulties and marked by very extraordinary events the United States have flourished beyond example.
  3. prosperous
    marked by peace and success
    Their citizens individually have been happy and the nation prosperous.
  4. advantage
    benefit resulting from some event or action
    Under this Constitution our commerce has been wisely regulated with foreign nations and between the States; new States have been admitted into our Union; our territory has been enlarged by fair and honorable treaty, and with great advantage to the original States
  5. attain
    gain with effort
    the States, respectively protected by the National Government under a mild, parental system against foreign dangers, and enjoying within their separate spheres, by a wise partition of power, a just proportion of the sovereignty, have improved their police, extended their settlements, and attained a strength and maturity which are the best proofs of wholesome laws well administered.
  6. spectacle
    something or someone seen, especially a notable sight
    And if we look to the condition of individuals what a proud spectacle does it exhibit!
  7. extent
    the point or degree to which something extends
    It is well known that all these blessings have been enjoyed in their fullest extent
  8. satisfaction
    the contentment one feels when one has fulfilled a desire
    I add with peculiar satisfaction that there has been no example of a capital punishment being inflicted on anyone for the crime of high treason.
  9. virtue
    the quality of doing what is right
    Of the virtue of the people and of the heroic exploits of the Army, the Navy, and the militia I need not speak.
  10. adequate
    having the requisite qualities or resources to meet a task
    Such, then, is the happy Government under which we live—a Government adequate to every purpose for which the social compact is formed
  11. fortunate
    supremely favored
    Fortunate as we are in our political institutions, we have not been less so in other circumstances on which our prosperity and happiness essentially depend.
  12. temperate
    mild or free from extremes
    Situated within the temperate zone, and extending through many degrees of latitude along the Atlantic, the United States enjoy all the varieties of climate, and every production incident to that portion of the globe.
  13. abundant
    present in great quantity
    Blessed, too, with a fertile soil, our produce has always been very abundant, leaving, even in years the least favorable, a surplus for the wants of our fellow-men in other countries.
  14. felicity
    state of well-being characterized by contentment
    Such is our peculiar felicity that there is not a part of our Union that is not particularly interested in preserving it.
  15. surplus
    a quantity much larger than is needed
    Our manufactures find a generous encouragement by the policy which patronizes domestic industry, and the surplus of our produce a steady and profitable market by local wants in less-favored parts at home.
  16. competent
    properly or sufficiently qualified, capable, or efficient
    While, then, the constituent body retains its present sound and healthful state everything will be safe. They will choose competent and faithful representatives for every department.
  17. pacific
    disposed to peace or of a peaceful nature
    Our distance from Europe and the just, moderate, and pacific policy of our Government may form some security against these dangers, but they ought to be anticipated and guarded against.
  18. sentiment
    tender, romantic, or nostalgic feeling or emotion
    National honor is national property of the highest value. The sentiment in the mind of every citizen is national strength. It ought therefore to be cherished.
  19. ardent
    characterized by intense emotion
    The arrangement should be such as to put at the command of the Government the ardent patriotism and youthful vigor of the country.
  20. convenience
    the quality of being useful
    By thus facilitating the intercourse between the States we shall add much to the convenience and comfort of our fellow-citizens, much to the ornament of the country, and, what is of greater importance, we shall shorten distances, and, by making each part more accessible to and dependent on the other, we shall bind the Union more closely together.
  21. vast
    unusually great in size or amount or extent or scope
    A more interesting spectacle was perhaps never seen than is exhibited within the limits of the United States—a territory so vast and advantageously situated, containing objects so grand, so useful, so happily connected in all their parts!
  22. nourish
    provide with sustenance
    It is important, too, that the capital which nourishes our manufacturers should be domestic, as its influence in that case instead of exhausting, as it may do in foreign hands, would be felt advantageously on agriculture and every other branch of industry.
  23. enhance
    Equally important is it to provide at home a market for our raw materials, as by extending the competition it will enhance the price and protect the cultivator against the casualties incident to foreign markets.
  24. revenue
    government income due to taxation
    The great amount of our revenue and the flourishing state of the Treasury are a full proof of the competency of the national resources for any emergency, as they are of the willingness of our fellow-citizens to bear the burdens which the public necessities require.
  25. augment
    enlarge or increase
    The vast amount of vacant lands, the value of which daily augments, forms an additional resource of great extent and duration.
  26. productive
    yielding positive results
    Peace is the best time for improvement and preparation of every kind; it is in peace that our commerce flourishes most, that taxes are most easily paid, and that the revenue is most productive.
  27. zeal
    a feeling of strong eagerness
    I shall do all I can to secure economy and fidelity in this important branch of the Administration, and I doubt not that the Legislature will perform its duty with equal zeal.
  28. gratify
    make happy or satisfied
    It is particularly gratifying to me to enter on the discharge of these duties at a time when the United States are blessed with peace.
  29. harmony
    compatibility in opinion and action
    Equally gratifying is it to witness the increased harmony of opinion which pervades our Union.
  30. eminent
    standing above others in quality or position
    Union is recommended as well by the free and benign principles of our Government, extending its blessings to every individual, as by the other eminent advantages attending it.
  31. auspices
    kindly endorsement and guidance
    Never did a government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete.
  32. perfection
    the state of being without a flaw or defect
    In contemplating what we have still to perform, the heart of every citizen must expand with joy when he reflects how near our Government has approached to perfection
  33. advance
    develop in a positive way
    If we persevere in the career in which we have advanced so far and in the path already traced, we can not fail, under the favor of a gracious Providence, to attain the high destiny which seems to await us.
  34. exalted
    of high moral or intellectual value
    Of my immediate predecessor, under whom so important a portion of this great and successful experiment has been made, I shall be pardoned for earnest wishes that he may long enjoy in his retirement the affections of a grateful country, the best reward of exalted talents and the most faithful and meritorious service.
  35. favor
    an advantage to the benefit of someone or something
    Relying on the aid to be derived from the other departments of the Government, I enter on the trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of my fellow-citizens with my fervent prayers to the Almighty that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which He has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor.

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