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The True Corner of Jefferson and Monroe (and the Virginia Dynasty) | by Tony Fischer Photography
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The True Corner of Jefferson and Monroe (and the Virginia Dynasty)

The Virginia dynasty is a term used to describe the fact that four of the first five Presidents of the United States were from Virginia. The first five presidents were, in order, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. All but Adams were from Virginia.


The defeat of Adams in 1800 by his Vice President, Thomas Jefferson, who had previously served as Washington's Secretary of State, marked the resumption of the Virginia Dynasty. Jefferson served two terms before retiring, in the Washingtonian precedent, in favor of his Secretary of State, fellow Virginian James Madison, the so-called "Father of the Constitution." Madison was re-elected rather easily in 1812 and was able to assist another Virginian who had remained loyal to him and the party, James Monroe, to be elected President in 1816.


Monroe, President during "The Era of Good Feeling", was re-elected in 1820 without any real opposition. One elector cast his electoral vote for Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams so that George Washington would be the only president in American history to be elected unanimously.


Monroe's second term marked the end of the Virginia Dynasty. John Quincy Adams won the disputed 1824 election over General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, then considered to be part of the Southwest.


Four more Virginians have served as President. They are William Henry Harrison, Virginia-born but elected as a resident of Ohio; John Tyler, who was elected Vice President in 1840 as Harrison's running mate, but wound up serving all but the first month of the latter's term after Harrison became the first President to die in office; Zachary Taylor, who made his name as a Kentucky resident; and Woodrow Wilson, who was a Virginia native but was elected President after serving as the president of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey.


Virginia is rightfully called "The Home of Presidents".


Monroe's estate was a few miles from Jefferson's. Madison lived nearby as well, while Washington was further away but still a few hour's ride by horse.

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Taken on August 21, 2008