James Madison served as the fourth President of the United States. He is known as one of our Founding Fathers of this country. As the “Father of the Constitution,” he was the principle author of the document. Madison played a very important role in the establishment of the United States.
James was born in Port Conway, Virginia on March 16, 1751. He grew up as the oldest of twelve children, of whom nine survived. His father, James Madison, Sr., was a tobacco planter who grew up on an estate in Orange County, Virginia. His mother, Nelly Conway, was born at Port Conway, Virginia, the daughter of a prominent planter and tobacco merchant. Madison’s parents married in 1743. Both parents had a significant influence over their most famous oldest son. Madison had three brothers and three sisters, who lived to maturity.
When James was ages 11-16, he studied under Donald Robertson. From Robertson, Madison learned mathematics, geography, and modern and ancient languages. He became extremely proficient with Latin. Madison said later on in his life, “I owe my bent for learning largely to Donald Robertson.”
At age 16, James began a two year course with Reverend Thomas Martin, who prepared him for college. In 1769, Madison enrolled at the College of New Jersey, which is now known as Princeton University. His studies there included Latin, Greek, science, geography, mathematics, rhetoric, and philosophy. Through dedication and hard work, James Madison graduated in 1771. After graduating, he remained at Princeton to study Hebrew and political philosophy.
Before we start to take sides, we need to discuss the different point of views of Madison and Marshall. We have to understand that our political landscape during the birth of our nation was much different. The states, were not unified, and were made up of different and often conflicting interests. Along with factions fighting one another and making political progress impossible. As Madison, would ...
James married Dolley Payne Todd on September 15, 1794, and adopted her only surviving son, John, after the marriage. Dolley was born on May 20, 1768. She was a widow and a member of the “Society of Friends” group. For marrying Madison, a non-Quaker, she was expelled from this group.
A young Madison became a lawyer, defending Baptist preachers arrested for preaching without a license distributed by the Anglican Church. Working on such cases helped form his ideas about religious freedom. Madison served in the Virginia state legislature and became known as a close replica of Thomas Jefferson. He attained prominence in Virginia politics. Madison also helped disestablish the Church of England, and disclaimed any power of state in religious matters.
After the close of the Revolutionary War in 1783, Madison was unhappy with the Articles of Confederation, so he proposed the Virginia Plan as a model for the Constitution. This plan was developed into the Constitution we still have today. This is the reason he is considered the “Father of the Constitution.”
To support the Constitution, Madison joined Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to write the Federalist Papers in 1787. These papers were written to explain the values of the Constitution, and resulted in the ratification of this document. Anti-federalists, who opposed a strong federal government, agreed to ratify the Constitution only with a promise of a Bill of Rights. To uphold this promise, Madison proposed many amendments, ten of which were ratified as the Bill of Rights.
The party’s Congressional Caucus chose presidential candidates, and Madison was chosen for the election of 1808. There, he easily defeated Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, riding off the popularity of Thomas Jefferson.
During his first term Madison’s presidency; the War of 1812 broke out. This war was fought between the United States and England. Most of the war was fought on the Atlantic Ocean and the on the land, coasts, and waterways of North America. Madison was forced to flee the city, and was forced to watch the White House get set on fire by British troops.
In 1815, the war was ended after the Treaty of Ghent was established. With the peace finally established, the US was swept by a sense that it had secured a solid independence from Britain. Madison had done a fabulous job in being the leader of the US during the War of 1812.
James Madison was called the great little Madison by his friends. Perhaps it was because he weighed less than one hundred pounds and was very short. But it was probably because this man did more to create the constitution than any other American. Madison came from Virginia and had written a constitution for the state. When Madison saw the problems that the United States had under the Articles of ...
After Madison’s second term ended in 1817, he left the oval office and retired Montpelier, his tobacco plantation in Virginia. He was now able to spend time with his wife and family. Madison was then 65 years old, his wife being 49. Madison lived on until 1836, increasingly ignored by the new leaders of the American polity. He died at Montpelier on June 28, the last Founding Father to die. He is buried in the Madison Family Cemetery at Montpelier.
James Madison was a great man who helped our country be the way it is today. His great work in law, dealing with the constitution, and his presidency established his legacy and will always be remembered as one of our “Founding Fathers.”