Montpelier recently reopened, and although Mrs. Kenney and the kids never quite made it to Wednesday’s celebration, Rick Sincere has us covered.
I am currently reading Ammon’s biography of James Monroe, and there is a good deal of focus on the play between Jefferson and the rivalry between Madison and Monroe — a rivalry most Jeffersonian biographers leave out when discussing the post-Jeffersonian era of Republican politics.
I have always marveled at the differences between Monticello and Montpelier, and then the look of Ashlawn nearby. Sure, Monroe’s property much altered property at Oak Hill is a beautiful home, but the modesty of Monroe’s plantation home in regards to his peers in notable.
Monroe has a solid history in the Fredericksburg area as being the location of his early law practice (though it would seem the most of his law career was spent in Richmond), and like myself, Monroe did a lot of travelling between Charlottesville, Richmond, and Fredericksburg.
I have yet to read a biography on Madison… and I am certain that when I do, Madison’s biographers will be as gentle on their subject as possible.
Still, I seriously doubt that many Virginians truly understand the heritage of great minds handed down to them by such notables as Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, Taylor, Tyler, Harrison, and Lee. True, it is a heritage marked always by the enslavement of their fellow human beings (The Hemmingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed is next up on my plate, amidst the several books I am reading concurrently), but the dichotomy only serves to help intensify the conflict between their ideals and those ideals in practice.