Monroe’s Election of 1816 and Women’s PArticipation
James Monroe: Hi, my name is James Monroe and I am a Democratic-Republican running to become President in 1816. I served as Secretary of State for the former President, James Madison. Madison and I have very similar views on women and politics.
James Madison: Yes Monroe, our views towards women involved in politics are very identical. Former President, Thomas Jefferson also had a huge impact on my beliefs.
Thomas Jefferson: While I was in France I feared greatly for their government. French women exerted too much influence on the politics for their nation. It was terrifying. (Zagarri 128)
Madison: That does sound scary! Rather than convincing men through reason or logic, they could manipulate us with their power and beauty, the “magic” of their smiles, the “threats” of their tears, or their virtue of their moral example! (Zagarri 129)
Monroe: I agree! I once heard Catharine Macaulay say that she feared elite women’s use of feminine influences in politics and how it could corrupt the government. (Zagarri 128)
Madison: Yes, some observers did portray women’s influence in hostile light. With respect to women, however, the fear was not simply that they would exercise their power in secret but that they would use their distinctive feminine charms especially their sexual power to subvert the political process. (Zagarri 127)
Jefferson: Acknowledging the continuous existence of opposing political ideas, I must say that the disappearance of such diversity was unlikely to change anytime soon. (Zagarri 124)
Monroe: Jefferson I agree one hundred percent with you and I know Americans know too much and are too independent to think exactly alike on politic manners. BUT… Vote for me James Monroe! (Zagarri 124)