Monroe is a city in and the county seat of Union County, North Carolina, United States. The population increased from 26,228 in 2000 to 32,797 in 2010. It is within the rapidly growing Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC Metropolitan area. Monroe has a council-manager form of government.
Monroe was founded as a planned settlement. In 1843, the first Board of County Commissioners, appointed by the General Assembly, selected an area in the center of the county as the county seat, and Monroe was incorporated that year. It was named for James Monroe, the country's fifth president. It became a trading center for the agricultural areas of the Piedmont region, which cultivated tobacco.
Racial segregation established by a white-dominated state legislature after the end of the Reconstruction era, persisted for nearly a century into the 1960s. Following World War II, many local blacks and veterans, including Marine veteran Robert F. Williams, began to push to regain their constitutional rights after having served the United States and the cause of freedom during the war.