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James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and
Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, (i.e. ...
who served as the 4th
president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of the presidency has grown substantially since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as ...

president of the United States
from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...
and the
United States Bill of Rights The United States Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments A constitutional amendment is a modification of the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute ...

United States Bill of Rights
. He co-wrote ''
The Federalist Papers ''The Federalist Papers'' is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawy ...
'', co-founded the
Democratic-Republican Party The Democratic-Republican Party, also referred to as the Jeffersonian Republican Party and known at the time under various other names, was an American political party founded by Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – J ...
, and served as the 5th
United States Secretary of State The United States secretary of state is an officer of the United States who implements foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and intern ...
from 1801 to 1809 under President
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and who served as the third from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second under and as the first under ...

Thomas Jefferson
. Born into a prominent
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a in the and regions of the , between the and the . The geography and climate of the are shaped by the and the , which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capit ...

Virginia
planter family, Madison served as a member of the
Virginia House of Delegates The Virginia House of Delegates is one of the two parts of the Virginia General Assembly, the other being the Senate of Virginia. It has 100 members elected for terms of two years; unlike most states, these elections take place during odd-numbe ...
and the
Continental Congress The Continental Congress was a series of legislature, legislative bodies, with some executive function, for thirteen of British America, Britain's colonies in North America, and the newly declared United States just before, during, and after the ...
during and after the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colonia ...
. He became dissatisfied with the weak national government established by the
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, ...
and helped organize the Constitutional Convention, which produced a new constitution to supplant the Articles of Confederation. Madison's
Virginia Plan The ''Virginia Plan'' (also known as the Randolph Plan, after its sponsor, or the Large-State Plan) was a proposal to the United States Constitutional Convention for the creation of a supreme national government with three branches and a bica ...

Virginia Plan
served as the basis for the Constitutional Convention's deliberations, and he was one of the most influential individuals at the convention. He became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify the Constitution, and he joined with
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the . He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the , ...

Alexander Hamilton
and
John Jay John Jay (December 12, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of ...

John Jay
in writing ''The Federalist Papers'', a series of pro-ratification essays that was one of the most influential works of political science in American history. After the ratification of the Constitution, Madison emerged as an important leader in the
United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the of the , with the being the . Together they compose the national of the . The House's composition is established by . The House is composed of representatives who sit in allocated to ea ...
and served as a close adviser to President
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
. He was the main force behind the ratification of the United States Bill of Rights, which enshrines guarantees of personal freedoms and rights within the Constitution. During the early 1790s, Madison opposed the economic program and the accompanying centralization of power favored by
Secretary of the Treasury The United States secretary of the treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with all financial and monetary matters relating to the federal government, and, until 2003, also included several major ...
Alexander Hamilton. Along with
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and who served as the third from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second under and as the first under ...

Thomas Jefferson
, he organized the Democratic-Republican Party, which was, alongside Hamilton's
Federalist Party The Federalist Party was the first political party in the United States American electoral politics has been dominated by two major political parties since shortly after the founding of the republic. Since the 1850s, they have been the Histo ...
, one of the nation's first major political parties. After Jefferson was elected president, Madison served as his Secretary of State from 1801 to 1809. In that position, he supervised the
Louisiana Purchase The Louisiana Purchase (french: Vente de la Louisiane, translation=Sale of Louisiana) was the acquisition of the Louisiana (New France), territory of Louisiana by the United States from French First Republic, Napoleonic France in 1803. In retur ...

Louisiana Purchase
, which doubled the size of the United States. Madison succeeded Jefferson after his victory in the 1808 presidential election. After diplomatic protests and a trade embargo failed to end
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
seizures of American shipping, he led the United States into the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the and its against and its allies in , with limited participation by in . It began when the US declared war on 18 June 1812 and although peace terms were agreed i ...
. The war was an administrative morass and ended inconclusively, but many Americans saw it as a successful "second war of independence" against Britain. As the war progressed, Madison was re-elected in 1812, albeit by a smaller margin to the 1808 election. The war convinced Madison of the necessity of a stronger federal government. He presided over the creation of the
Second Bank of the United States The Second Bank of the United States was the second federally authorized Hamiltonian national bank In banking A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates a demand deposit while simultaneou ...
and the enactment of the protective
Tariff of 1816 The Tariff of 1816, also known as the Dallas Tariff, is notable as the first tariff passed by Congress with an explicit function of protecting U.S. manufactured items from overseas competition. Prior to the War of 1812 War is an intense ...
. By treaty or war, Madison's presidency added 23 million acres of
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
land to the United States. Madison retired from public office after concluding his presidency in 1817 and died in 1836. Like
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and who served as the third from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second under and as the first under ...

Thomas Jefferson
and
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
, Madison was a wealthy slave owner who never treated his slaves harshly and provided for them well. He never privately reconciled his republican beliefs with his slave ownership. Forced to pay debts, he never freed his slaves. Madison is considered one of the most important Founding Fathers of the United States, and historians have generally ranked him as an above-average president.


Early life and education

James Madison, Jr. was born on March 16, 1751 (March 5, 1750,
Old Style Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) indicate a dating system from before and after a calendar change, respectively. Usually this is the change from the to the as enacted in various European countries between 1582 and the 20th century. In ...
) at Belle Grove Plantation near Port Conway in the
Colony of Virginia , legislature = House of Burgesses (1619–1776) , today = , demonym = , area_km2=, area_rank=, GDP_PPP=, GDP_PPP_year=, HDI=, HDI_year= The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was ...
, to James Madison Sr. and Nelly Conway Madison. His family had lived in Virginia since the mid-1600s. Madison grew up as the oldest of twelve children, with seven brothers and four sisters, though only six lived to adulthood. His father was a tobacco planter who grew up at a
plantation A plantation is a large-scale estate, generally centered on a plantation house, meant for farming that specializes in cash crops. The crops that are grown include cotton, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar cane, opium, sisal, oil seeds, oil pa ...
, then called Mount Pleasant, which he had inherited upon reaching adulthood. With an estimated 100
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
and a plantation, Madison's father was the largest landowner and a leading citizen in
Piedmont it, Piemontese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = , demographics1_title2 ...
. Madison's maternal grandfather was a prominent planter and tobacco merchant. In the early 1760s, the Madison family moved into a newly built house that they named Montpelier. From age 11 to 16, Madison studied under Donald Robertson, a Scottish instructor who served as a tutor for several prominent planter families in the
South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germa ...
. Madison learned mathematics, geography, and modern and classical languages—he became exceptionally proficient in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
. At age 16, Madison returned to Montpelier, where he studied under the Reverend Thomas Martin to prepare for college. Unlike most college-bound Virginians of his day, Madison did not attend the
College of William and Mary The College of William & Mary (also known as William & Mary, W&M, and officially The College of William and Mary in Virginia) is a public university, public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded in 1693 by letters patent issued ...

College of William and Mary
, where the lowland Williamsburg climate – thought to be more likely to harbor infectious disease – might have strained his delicate health. Instead, in 1769, he enrolled as an undergraduate at
Princeton Princeton University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...

Princeton
(then formally named the College of New Jersey). His studies at Princeton included Latin, Greek, theology, and the works of the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
. Great emphasis was placed on both speech and debate; Madison was a leading member of the
American Whig–Cliosophic Society The American Whig–Cliosophic Society (Whig-Clio) is a political, literary, and Debate, debating society at Princeton University and the oldest debate union in the United States. Its precursors, the American Whig Society and the Cliosophic Societ ...
, which competed on campus with a political counterpart, the Cliosophic Society. During his time in Princeton, Madison's closest friend was future Attorney General William Bradford. Along with another classmate, Madison undertook an intense program of study and completed the college's three-year Bachelor of Arts degree in just two years, graduating in 1771. Madison had contemplated either entering the clergy or practicing law after graduation, but instead remained at Princeton to study Hebrew and
political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or menta ...

political philosophy
under the college's president,
John Witherspoon John Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794) was a Scottish Americans, Scottish American Presbyterian minister and a Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father of the United States. Witherspoon embraced the concepts of Sc ...

John Witherspoon
. He returned home to Montpelier in early 1772. Madison's ideas on philosophy and morality were strongly shaped by Witherspoon, who converted him to the philosophy, values, and modes of thinking of the Age of Enlightenment. Biographer Terence Ball wrote that at Princeton, Madison "was immersed in the liberalism of the Enlightenment, and converted to eighteenth-century political radicalism. From then on James Madison's theories would advance the rights of happiness of man, and his most active efforts would serve devotedly the cause of civil and political liberty." After returning to Montpelier, without a chosen career, Madison served as a tutor to his younger siblings. Madison began to study law books in 1773. He asked Princeton friend William Bradford, a law apprentice under Edward Shippen in Philadelphia, to send him an ordered written plan on reading law books. At the age of 22, there was no evidence that Madison, himself, made any effort to apprentice under any lawyer in Virginia. By 1783, he had acquired a good sense of legal publications. Madison saw himself as a law student but never as a lawyer – he never joined the bar or practiced. In his elder years, Madison was sensitive to the phrase "demi-Lawyer", or "half-Lawyer", a derisive term used to describe someone who read law books, but did not practice law. Following the
Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War(s) may refer to: * American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the armed conflict between Great Britain and 13 of its North American colonies, which had declared themselves the independent United States of America * French Revolution ...
, Madison spent time at Montpelier in Virginia studying ancient democracies of the world in preparation for the Constitutional Convention.


American Revolution and Articles of Confederation

In 1765, the
British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind ...
passed the Stamp Act, which taxed the American colonists to help fund the increasing costs of administrating
British America British America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, terri ...

British America
. The colonists' opposition to the tax marked the start of a conflict that would culminate in the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
. The disagreement centered on Parliament's right to levy taxes on the colonists, who were not directly represented in that body. However, events deteriorated until the outbreak of the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colonia ...
of 1775–83, in which the colonists split into two factions:
Loyalists Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. ...
, who continued to adhere to , and the Patriots, whom Madison joined, under the leadership of the
Continental Congress The Continental Congress was a series of legislature, legislative bodies, with some executive function, for thirteen of British America, Britain's colonies in North America, and the newly declared United States just before, during, and after the ...
. Madison believed that Parliament had overstepped its bounds by attempting to tax the American colonies, and he sympathized with those who resisted British rule. He also favored disestablishing the
Anglican Church Anglicanism is a Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia * ...

Anglican Church
in Virginia; Madison believed that an established religion was detrimental not only to
freedom of religion Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freed ...
but also because it encouraged excessive defference to the authority of the state. In 1774, Madison took a seat on the local Committee of Safety, a pro-revolution group that oversaw the local Patriot militia. In October 1775, he was commissioned as the colonel of the Orange County militia, serving as his father's second-in-command until he was elected as a delegate to the
Fifth Virginia Convention The Fifth Virginia Convention was a meeting of the Patriot legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social ...
, which was charged with producing Virginia's first
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
. Of short stature and frequently in poor health, Madison never saw battle in the Revolutionary War, but he rose to prominence in Virginia politics as a wartime leader. At the Virginia constitutional convention, he convinced delegates to alter the
Virginia Declaration of Rights The Virginia Declaration of Rights was drafted in 1776 to proclaim the inherent natural and legal rights, rights of men, including the right of revolution, right to reform or abolish "inadequate" government. It influenced a number of later doc ...
to provide for "equal entitlement," rather than mere "tolerance," in the exercise of religion. With the enactment of the Virginia constitution, Madison became part of the
Virginia House of Delegates The Virginia House of Delegates is one of the two parts of the Virginia General Assembly, the other being the Senate of Virginia. It has 100 members elected for terms of two years; unlike most states, these elections take place during odd-numbe ...
, and he was subsequently elected to the Virginia governor's Council of State. In that role, he became a close ally of Governor
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and who served as the third from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second under and as the first under ...

Thomas Jefferson
. On July 4, 1776, the
United States Declaration of Independence The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known a ...

United States Declaration of Independence
was published formally declaring the 13 American states an independent nation. Although Madison was not a signatory of the Articles of Confederation, he did contribute to the discussion of religious freedom affecting the drafting of the Articles. Madison had proposed liberalizing the article on religious freedom, but the larger Virginia Convention made further changes. It was later amended by the Committee and the entire Convention, including the addition of a section on the right to a uniform government (Section 14). Madison served on the Council of State from 1777 to 1779, when he was elected to the
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British ...
, the governing body of the United States. America faced a difficult war against Great Britain, as well as runaway
inflation In economics, inflation refers to a general progressive increase in prices of goods and services in an economy. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation corresponds to a r ...

inflation
, financial troubles, and lack of cooperation between the different levels of government. According to historian J.G.A. Stagg, Madison worked to become an expert on financial issues, becoming a legislative workhorse and a master of parliamentary coalition building. Frustrated by the failure of the states to supply needed requisitions, Madison proposed to amend the
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, ...
to grant Congress the power to independently raise revenue through
tariffs A tariff is a tax imposed by a government of a country or of a supranational union on imports or exports of goods. Besides being a source of revenue for the government, import duties can also be a form of regulation of International trade, forei ...
on imports. Though General
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
, Congressman
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the . He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the , ...

Alexander Hamilton
, and other influential leaders also favored the amendment, it was defeated because it failed to win the ratification of all thirteen states. While a member of Congress, Madison was an ardent supporter of a close alliance between the United States and France, and, as an advocate of westward expansion, he insisted that the new nation had to assure its right to navigation on the
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and b ...

Mississippi River
and control of all lands east of it in the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War. After serving Congress from 1780 to 1783, Madison won election to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1784.


Father of the Constitution


Calling a convention

As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Madison continued to advocate for religious freedom, and, along with Jefferson, drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. That amendment, which guaranteed freedom of religion and disestablished the Church of England, was passed in 1786. Madison also became a land speculator, purchasing land along the
Mohawk River The Mohawk River is a U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline dataThe National Map accessed October 3, 2011 river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an oce ...

Mohawk River
in a partnership with another Jefferson protege,
James Monroe James Monroe (; April 28, 1758July 4, 1831) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. ...
. Throughout the 1780s, Madison advocated for reform of the Articles of Confederation. He became increasingly worried about the disunity of the states and the weakness of the central government after the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. He believed that "excessive democracy" caused social decay, and was particularly troubled by laws that legalized
paper money A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiable promissory note A promissory note, sometimes referred to as a note payable, is a legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a ...
and denied
diplomatic immunity Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity Legal immunity, or immunity from prosecution, is a legal status wherein an individual or entity cannot be held liable for a violation of the law, in order to facilitate societal aims that outwei ...
to ambassadors from other countries. He was also concerned about the inability of Congress to capably conduct foreign policy, protect American trade, and foster the settlement of the lands between the
Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (nor ...

Appalachian Mountains
and the
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and b ...

Mississippi River
. As Madison wrote, "a crisis had arrived which was to decide whether the American experiment was to be a blessing to the world, or to blast for ever the hopes which the republican cause had inspired." He committed to an intense study of law and political theory and also was heavily influenced by Continental Enlightenment texts sent by Jefferson from France. He especially sought out works on international law and the constitutions of "ancient and modern confederacies" such as the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
, the
Swiss Confederation , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal s ...
, and the
Achaean League The Achaean League (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...
. He came to believe that the United States could improve upon past republican experiments by its size; with so many distinct interests competing against each other, Madison hoped to minimize the abuses of
majority rule Majority rule is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority A majority, also called a simple majority to distinguish it from similar terms (see the "Related terms" section below), is the greater part, or more than half, ...
. Additionally, navigation rights to the Mississippi River highly concerned Madison. He disdained a proposal by
John Jay John Jay (December 12, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of ...

John Jay
that the United States acquiesce claims to the river for 25 years, and, according to historian John Ketchum, his desire to fight the proposal played a major role in motivating Madison to return to Congress in 1787. Madison helped arrange the 1785 Mount Vernon Conference, which settled disputes regarding navigation rights on the
Potomac River The Potomac River () is found within the Mid-AtlanticMid-Atlantic or Mid Atlantic can refer to: *The middle of the Atlantic Ocean *Mid-Atlantic English, a mix between British English and American English *Mid-Atlantic Region (Little League World ...

Potomac River
and also served as a model for future interstate conferences. At the 1786 Annapolis Convention, he joined with Hamilton and other delegates in calling for another convention to consider amending the Articles. After winning the election to another term in Congress, Madison helped convince the other Congressmen to authorize the
Philadelphia Convention The Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia from May 25 to September 17, 1787. Although the convention was intended to revise the league of states and first system of government under the Articles of Confederation The Articles ...
to propose amendments. Though many members of Congress were wary of the changes the convention might bring, nearly all agreed that the existing government needed some sort of reform. Madison ensured that General Washington, who was popular throughout the country, and
Robert MorrisRobert or Bob Morris may refer to: Politics * Robert Hunter Morris (1700–1764), Lieutenant Governor of Colonial Pennsylvania * Robert Morris (financier) (1734–1806), financier of the American Revolution and signatory to three of the United Stat ...
, who was influential in the casting the critical vote of the state of
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
, would both broadly support Madison's plan to implement a new constitution. The outbreak of
Shays' Rebellion Shays Rebellion was an armed uprising in Western Massachusetts and Worcester, Massachusetts, Worcester in response to a debt crisis among the citizenry and in opposition to the state government's increased efforts to collect taxes both on individu ...

Shays' Rebellion
in 1786 reinforced the necessity for constitutional reform in the eyes of Washington and other American leaders.


The Philadelphia Convention and the Virginia Plan

Before a
quorum A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, Procedural law, ...
was reached at the Philadelphia Convention on May 25, 1787, Madison worked with other members of the Virginia delegation, especially
Edmund Randolph Edmund Jennings Randolph (August 10, 1753 September 12, 1813) was an American attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advis ...
and
George Mason George Mason IV (October 7, 1792) was an American planter, politician and delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention The Constitutional Convention (contemporarily known as the Federal Convention, the Philadelphia Convention, or the Gran ...

George Mason
, to create and present the
Virginia Plan The ''Virginia Plan'' (also known as the Randolph Plan, after its sponsor, or the Large-State Plan) was a proposal to the United States Constitutional Convention for the creation of a supreme national government with three branches and a bica ...

Virginia Plan
. This Plan was an outline for a new federal constitution; it called for three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial), a bicameral Congress (consisting of the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
and the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
) apportioned by population, and a federal Council of Revision that would have the right to veto laws passed by Congress. Reflecting the centralization of power envisioned by Madison, the Virginia Plan granted the Senate the power to overturn any law passed by state governments. The Virginia Plan did not explicitly lay out the structure of the executive branch, but Madison himself favored a single executive. Many delegates were surprised to learn that the plan called for the abrogation of the Articles and the creation of a new constitution, to be ratified by special conventions in each state rather than by the state legislatures. With the assent of prominent attendees such as Washington and
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
, the delegates went into a secret session to consider a new constitution. Though the Virginia Plan was extensively changed during the debate and presented as an outline rather than a draft of a possible constitution, its use at the convention has led many to call Madison the "Father of the Constitution". Madison spoke over 200 times during the convention, and his fellow delegates held him in high esteem. Delegate William Pierce (politician), William Pierce wrote that "in the management of every great question he evidently took the lead in the Convention [...] he always comes forward as the best informed man of any point in debate." Madison believed that the constitution produced by the convention "would decide for ever the fate of republican government" throughout the world, and he kept Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, copious notes to serve as a historical record of the convention. In crafting the Virginia Plan, Madison looked to develop a system of government that adequately prevented the rise of factions believing that a Constitutional Republic would be most fitting to do so. Madison's definition of faction was similar to that of the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume. Madison borrowed from Hume's definition of a faction when describing the dangers they impose upon the American Republic. In the essay Federalist No. 10 Madison described a faction as a "number of citizens [...] who are united by a common impulse of passion or interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or permanent and aggregate interest of the community". Madison drew further influence from the Scottish Economist Adam Smith who believed that every civilized society developed into economic factions based on the different interests of individuals. Madison, throughout his writing, alluded to ''The Wealth of Nations'' on multiple occasions as he advocated for a free system of commerce among the states that he believed would be beneficial to society. Madison had hoped that a coalition of Southern states and populous Northern states would ensure the approval of a constitution largely similar to the one proposed in the Virginia Plan. However, delegates from small states successfully argued for more power for state governments and presented the New Jersey Plan as an alternative. In response, Roger Sherman proposed the Connecticut Compromise, which sought to balance the interests of small and large states. During the convention, Madison's Council of Revision was not used and each state was given equal representation in the Senate, and the state legislatures, rather than the House of Representatives, were given the power to elect members of the Senate. Madison convinced his fellow delegates to have the Constitution ratified by ratifying conventions rather than state legislatures, which he distrusted. He also helped ensure that the President would have the ability to veto federal laws and would be elected independently of Congress through the Electoral College (United States), Electoral College. By the end of the convention, Madison believed that the new constitution failed to give enough power to the federal government compared to the state governments, but he still viewed the document as an improvement on the Articles of Confederation. The ultimate question before the convention, historian Gordon Wood notes, was not how to design a government but whether the states should remain sovereign, whether sovereignty should be transferred to the national government, or whether the constitution should settle somewhere in between.. Most of the delegates at the Philadelphia Convention wanted to empower the federal government to raise revenue and protect property rights. Those who, like Madison, thought democracy in the state legislatures was excessively subjective, wanted sovereignty transferred to the national government, while those who did not think this a problem wanted to retain the model of the Articles of Confederation. Even many delegates who shared Madison's goal of strengthening the central government reacted strongly against the extreme change to the ''status quo'' envisioned in the Virginia Plan. Though Madison lost most of his debates and discussions over how to amend the Virginia Plan, in the process, however, he increasingly shifted the debate away from a position of pure state sovereignty. Since most disagreements over what to include in the constitution were ultimately disputes over the balance of sovereignty between the states and national government, Madison's influence was critical. Wood notes that Madison's ultimate contribution was not in designing any particular constitutional framework, but in shifting the debate toward a compromise of "shared sovereignty" between the national and state governments.


''The Federalist Papers'' and ratification debates

After the Philadelphia Convention ended in September 1787, Madison convinced his fellow congressmen to remain neutral in the ratification debate and allow each state to vote upon the Constitution. Throughout the United States, opponents of the Constitution, known as Anti-Federalism, Anti-Federalists, began a public campaign against ratification. In response, Hamilton and Jay began publishing a series of pro-ratification newspaper articles in New York. After Jay dropped out from the project, Hamilton approached Madison, who was in New York on congressional business, to write some of the essays. Altogether, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay wrote the 85 essays of what became known as ''
The Federalist Papers ''The Federalist Papers'' is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawy ...
'' in six months, with Madison writing 29 of the essays. ''The Federalist Papers'' successfully defended the new Constitution and argued for its ratification to the people of New York. The articles were also published in book form and became a virtual debater's handbook for the supporters of the Constitution in the ratifying conventions. Historian Clinton Rossiter called ''The Federalist Papers'' "the most important work in political science that ever has been written, or is likely ever to be written, in the United States". Federalist No. 10, Madison's first contribution to ''The Federalist Papers'', became highly regarded in the 20th century for its advocacy of representative democracy. In Federalist 10, Madison describes the dangers posed by factions and argues that their negative effects can be limited through the formation of a large republic. He states that in large republics the significant sum of factions that emerge will successfully dull the effects of others. In Federalist No. 51, he goes on to explain how the separation of powers between three branches of the federal government, as well as between state governments and the federal government, established a system of checks and balances that ensured that no one institution would become too powerful. While Madison and Hamilton continued to write ''The Federalist Papers'', Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and several smaller states voted to ratify the Constitution. After finishing his last contributions to ''The Federalist Papers'', Madison returned to Virginia. Initially, Madison did not want to stand for election to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, but he was persuaded to do so by the strength of the Anti-Federalists. Virginians were divided into three main camps: Washington and Madison led the faction in favor of ratification of the Constitution, Randolph and Mason headed a faction that wanted ratification but also sought amendments to the Constitution, and Patrick Henry was the most prominent member of the faction opposed to the ratification of the Constitution. When the Virginia Ratifying Convention began on June 2, 1788, the Constitution had been ratified by eight of the required nine states. New York, the second-largest state and a bastion of anti-federalism would likely not ratify it without the stated commitment of Virginia, and in the event of Virginia's failure to join the new government there would be the disquieting disqualification of George Washington from being the first president.. At the start of the convention in Virginia, Madison knew that most delegates had already made up their minds, and he focused his efforts on winning the support of the relatively small number of undecided delegates. His long correspondence with Randolph paid off at the convention as Randolph announced that he would support unconditional ratification of the Constitution, with amendments to be proposed after ratification. Though Henry gave several persuasive speeches arguing against ratification, Madison's expertise on the subject he had long argued for allowed him to respond with rational arguments to Henry's emotional appeals. In his final speech to the ratifying convention, Madison implored his fellow delegates to ratify the Constitution as it had been written, arguing that the failure to do so would lead to the collapse of the entire ratification effort as each state would seek favorable amendments. On June 25, 1788, the convention voted 89–79 to ratify the Constitution, making Virginia the tenth state to do so. New York ratified the constitution the following month, and Washington won the country's 1788-89 United States presidential election, first presidential election.


Congressman and party leader (1789–1801)


Election to Congress

After Virginia ratified the constitution, Madison returned to New York and resumed his duties in the Congress of the Confederation. On Washington's request, Madison sought a seat in the Senate, but the state legislature instead 1788 and 1789 United States Senate elections, elected two Anti-Federalist allies of Henry. Now deeply concerned both for his political career and over the possibility that Henry and his allies would arrange for a second constitutional convention, Madison ran for the House of Representatives. At Henry's behest, the Virginia legislature Gerrymandering in the United States, created congressional districts designed to deny Madison a seat, and Henry recruited Monroe, a strong challenger to Madison. Locked in a difficult race against Monroe, Madison promised to support a series of constitutional amendments to protect individual liberties.. In an open letter, Madison wrote that, while he had opposed requiring alterations to the Constitution before ratification, he now believed that "amendments, if pursued with a proper moderation and in a proper mode ... may serve the double purpose of satisfying the minds of well-meaning opponents, and of providing additional guards in favor of liberty." Madison's promise paid off, as in 1789 Virginia's 5th congressional district election, Virginia's 5th district election, he gained a seat in Congress with 57 percent of the vote. Madison became a key adviser to President Washington, who considered Madison as the person who best understood the constitution. Madison helped Washington write his First inauguration of George Washington, first inaugural address, and also prepared the official House response to Washington's speech. He played a significant role in establishing and staffing the three Cabinet of the United States, Cabinet departments, and his influence helped Thomas Jefferson become the inaugural Secretary of State. At the start of the 1st United States Congress, first Congress, he introduced a tariff bill similar to the one he had advocated for under the Articles of the Confederation, and Congress established a federal tariff on imports through the Tariff of 1789. The following year, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton introduced an ambitious economic program that called for the federal assumption of state debts and the funding of that debt through the issuance of federal Security (finance), securities. Hamilton's plan favored Northern speculators and was disadvantageous to states such as Virginia that had already paid off most of their debt, and Madison emerged as one of the principal Congressional opponents of the plan. After prolonged legislative deadlock, Madison, Jefferson, and Hamilton agreed to the Compromise of 1790, which provided for the enactment of Hamilton's assumption plan through the Funding Act of 1790. In return, Congress passed the Residence Act, which established the federal capital district of Washington, D.C., on the
Potomac River The Potomac River () is found within the Mid-AtlanticMid-Atlantic or Mid Atlantic can refer to: *The middle of the Atlantic Ocean *Mid-Atlantic English, a mix between British English and American English *Mid-Atlantic Region (Little League World ...

Potomac River
.


Bill of Rights

During the first Congress, Madison took the lead in pressing for the passage of several constitutional amendments that would form the United States Bill of Rights, Bill of Rights. His primary goals were to fulfill his 1789 campaign pledge and to prevent the calling of a second constitutional convention, but he also hoped to protect individual liberties against the actions of the federal government and state legislatures. He believed that the enumeration of specific rights would fix those rights in the public mind and encourage judges to protect them. After studying over two-hundred amendments that had been proposed at the state ratifying conventions, Madison introduced the Bill of Rights on June 8, 1789. His amendments contained numerous restrictions on the federal government and would protect, among other things, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to peaceful assembly. While most of his proposed amendments were drawn from the ratifying conventions, Madison was largely responsible for proposals to guarantee freedom of the press, protect property from government seizure, and ensure jury trials. He also proposed an amendment to prevent states from abridging "equal rights of conscience, or freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases". Madison's Bill of Rights faced little opposition; he had largely co-opted the Anti-Federalist goal of amending the Constitution but had avoided proposing amendments that would alienate supporters of the Constitution. Madison's proposed amendments were largely adopted by the House of Representatives, but the Senate made several changes. Madison's proposal to apply parts of the Bill of Rights to the states was eliminated, as was his final proposed change to the Constitution's preamble. Madison was disappointed that the Bill of Rights did not include protections against actions by state governments, but the passage of the document mollified some critics of the original constitution and shored up Madison's support in Virginia. Of the twelve amendments formally proposed by Congress to the states, ten amendments were ratified as additions to the Constitution on December 15, 1791, becoming known as the Bill of Rights.


Founding the Democratic-Republican Party

After 1790, the Washington administration became polarized among two main factions. One faction, led by Jefferson and Madison, broadly represented Southern interests and sought close relations with France. The other faction, led by Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton, broadly represented Northern financial interests and favored close relations with Britain. In 1791, Hamilton introduced a plan that called for the establishment of a History of central banking in the United States, national bank to provide loans to emerging industries and oversee the money supply. Madison and the
Democratic-Republican Party The Democratic-Republican Party, also referred to as the Jeffersonian Republican Party and known at the time under various other names, was an American political party founded by Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – J ...
fought back against Hamilton's attempt to expand the power of the Federal Government at the expense of the sovereignty of the individual States by opposing the formation of a national bank. Madison used his influence in the Democratic-Republican Party and argued that empowering financial interest served as a dangerous threat to the republican virtues of the newly established United States. Madison argued that under the Constitution, Congress did not have the power to create such an institution. Despite Madison's opposition, Congress passed a bill to create the First Bank of the United States. After a period of consideration, Washington signed the banking bill into law in February 1791. As Hamilton implemented his economic program and Washington continued to enjoy immense prestige as president, Madison became increasingly concerned that Hamilton would seek to abolish the federal republic in favor of a centralized monarchy. When Hamilton submitted his ''Report on Manufactures'', which called for federal action to stimulate the development of a diversified economy, Madison once again challenged Hamilton's proposal on constitutional grounds. He sought to mobilize public opinion by forming a political party based on opposition to Hamilton's policies. Along with Jefferson, Madison helped Philip Freneau establish the ''National Gazette'', a Philadelphia newspaper that attacked Hamilton's proposals. In an essay published in the ''National Gazette'' in September 1792, Madison wrote that the country had divided into two factions: his faction, which believed in "the doctrine that mankind are capable of governing themselves," and Hamilton's faction, which allegedly sought the establishment of an aristocratic monarchy and was biased towards the wealthy. Those opposed to Hamilton's economic policies, including many former Anti-Federalists, coalesced into Democratic-Republican Party, while those who supported the administration's policies coalesced into the
Federalist Party The Federalist Party was the first political party in the United States American electoral politics has been dominated by two major political parties since shortly after the founding of the republic. Since the 1850s, they have been the Histo ...
. In the 1792 United States presidential election, 1782 presidential election, both major parties supported Washington's successful bid for re-election, but the Democratic-Republicans sought to unseat Vice President John Adams. Because the Constitution's rules essentially precluded Jefferson from challenging Adams, the party backed New York Governor George Clinton (vice president), George Clinton for the vice presidency, but Adams won re-election by a comfortable electoral-vote margin. With Jefferson out of office after 1793, Madison became the de facto leader of the Democratic-Republican Party. When Britain and France French Revolutionary Wars, went to war in 1793, the U.S. was caught in the middle. While the differences between the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists had previously centered on economic matters, foreign policy became an increasingly important issue as Madison and Jefferson favored France and Hamilton favored Britain. War with Britain became imminent in 1794 after the British seized hundreds of American ships that were trading with French colonies. Madison believed that a trade war with Britain would probably succeed, and would allow Americans to assert their independence fully. The British West Indies, Madison maintained, could not live without American foodstuffs, but Americans could easily do without British manufacturers. Washington avoided a trade war and instead secured friendly trade relations with Britain through the Jay Treaty of 1794. Madison and his Democratic-Republican allies were outraged by the treaty; the Democratic-Republican Robert R. Livingston (chancellor), Robert R. Livingston wrote to Madison that the treaty "sacrifices every essential interest and prostrates the honor of our country". Madison's strong opposition to the treaty led to a permanent break with Washington, ending a long friendship..


Adams presidency

Washington chose to retire after serving two terms and, in advance of the 1796 United States presidential election, 1796 presidential election, Madison helped convince Jefferson to run for the presidency. Despite Madison's efforts, Federalist candidate John Adams defeated Jefferson, taking a narrow majority of the electoral vote. Under the rules of the Electoral College then in place, Jefferson became vice president because he finished with the second-most electoral votes. Madison, meanwhile, had declined to seek re-election, and he returned to his home at Montpelier. On Jefferson's advice, President Adams considered appointing Madison to an American delegation charged with ending French attacks on American shipping, but Adams's cabinet members strongly opposed the idea. After a diplomatic incident between France and the United States known as the XYZ Affair, the two countries engaged in an undeclared naval war known as the Quasi-War. Though he was out of office, Madison remained a prominent Democratic-Republican leader in opposition to the Adams administration. During the Quasi-War, the Federalists created a standing army and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which were directed at French refugees engaged in American politics and against Democratic-Republican editors. Madison and Jefferson believed that the Federalists were using the war to justify the violation of constitutional rights, and they increasingly came to view Adams as a monarchist. Both Madison and Jefferson as leaders of the Democratic-Republican party expressed the belief that natural rights could not be infringed upon even during a time of war. Madison believed that the Alien and Sedition acts formed a dangerous precedent, giving the government the power to look past the natural rights of its people in the name of national security. In response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Jefferson wrote the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, Kentucky Resolutions, which argued that the states had the power to Nullification (U.S. Constitution), nullify federal law on the basis that the Constitution was a compact among the states. Madison rejected this view of a compact among the states, and his Virginia Resolutions instead urged states to respond to unjust federal laws through interposition, a process in which a state legislature declared a law to be unconstitutional but did not take steps to actively prevent its enforcement. Jefferson's doctrine of nullification was widely rejected, and the incident damaged the Democratic-Republican Party as attention was shifted from the Alien and Sedition Acts to the unpopular nullification doctrine. In 1799, after Henry announced that he would return to politics as a member of the Federalist Party, Madison won the election to the Virginia legislature. At the same time, he and Jefferson planned for Jefferson's campaign in the 1800 United States presidential election, 1800 presidential election. Madison issued the Report of 1800, which attacked the Alien and Sedition Acts as unconstitutional but disregarded Jefferson's theory of nullification. The Report of 1800 held that Congress was limited to legislating on its Enumerated powers (United States), enumerated powers and that punishment for sedition violated freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Jefferson embraced the report, and it became the unofficial Democratic-Republican platform for the 1800 election. With the Federalists badly divided between supporters of Hamilton and Adams, and with news of the end of the Quasi-War not reaching the United States until after the election, Jefferson and his ostensible running mate, Aaron Burr, defeated Adams. As Jefferson and Burr tied in the electoral vote, the Federalist-controlled House of Representatives held a contingent election to choose between the two candidates. After the House conducted dozens of inconclusive ballots, Hamilton, who despised Burr even more than he did Jefferson, convinced several Federalist congressmen to cast blank ballots, giving Jefferson the victory.


Personal life

At a height of only five feet, four inches (163 cm), and never weighing more than 100 pounds (45 kg), Madison became the most diminutive president. He was small in stature, had bright blue eyes, a strong demeanor, and was known to be humorous at small gatherings. Madison suffered from serious illnesses, nervousness, and was often exhausted after periods of stress. He often feared for the worst and was a hypochondriac. However, Madison was in good health, while he lived a long life, without the common maladies of his times. On September 15, 1794, Madison married Dolley Madison, Dolley Payne Todd, a 26-year-old widow of John Todd, a Quaker farmer who died during a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. Burr introduced Madison to her, at his request, after Dolley had stayed in the same boardinghouse as Burr in Philadelphia. After an arranged meeting in early 1794, the two quickly became romantically engaged and prepared for a wedding that summer, but Dolley suffered recurring illnesses because of her exposure to yellow fever in Philadelphia. They eventually traveled to Harewood (West Virginia), Harewood in Virginia for their wedding. Only a few close family members attended, and Winchester, Virginia, Winchester Reverend Alexander Balmain pronounced them a wedded couple. Madison, an introspective individual, enjoyed a strong relationship with his wife Dolley and deeply relied on his wife to help him in dealing with social pressures that came with the politics of the day. She became a renowned figure in Washington, D.C., and excelled at hosting dinners and other important political occasions. Dolley helped to establish the modern image of the first lady of the United States as an individual who takes upon a role in the social affairs of the nation. Madison never had children, but he adopted Dolley's one surviving son, John Payne Todd (known as Payne), after the marriage. Some of his colleagues, such as Monroe and Burr, alleged that Madison was infertile and that his lack of offspring weighed on his thoughts, but Madison never spoke of any distress on this matter. Nonetheless, his fertility has come into questions in recent years, following a popular article from ''The Washington Post'' in 2007, in which an African-American named Bettye Kearse claimed to be a descendant of Madison and a slave named Coreen. Throughout his life, he maintained a close relationship with his father James Sr., who died in 1801. At age 50, Madison inherited the large plantation of Montpelier and other possessions, including his father's numerous slaves. He had three brothers, Francis, Ambrose, and William, and three sisters, Nelly, Sarah, and Frances, who lived to adulthood. Ambrose helped manage Montpelier for both his father and older brother until his death in 1793.


Secretary of State (1801–1809)

Despite lacking foreign policy experience, Madison was appointed as the secretary of state by Jefferson. Along with Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, Madison became one of the two major influences in Jefferson's Cabinet. As the ascent of Napoleon in France had dulled Democratic-Republican enthusiasm for the French cause, Madison sought a neutral position in the ongoing Coalition Wars between France and Britain. Domestically, the Jefferson administration and the Democratic-Republican Congress rolled back many Federalist policies; Congress quickly repealed the Alien and Sedition Act, abolished internal taxes, and reduced the size of the army and navy. Gallatin, however, did convince Jefferson to retain the First Bank of the United States. Though the Federalists were rapidly fading away at the national level, Chief Justice John Marshall ensured that Federalist ideology retained an important presence in the judiciary. In the case of ''Marbury v. Madison'', Marshall simultaneously ruled that Madison had unjustly refused to deliver federal commissions to individuals who had been appointed to federal positions by President Adams but who had not yet taken office, but that the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction over the case. Most importantly, Marshall's opinion established the principle of judicial review. By the time Jefferson took office, Americans had settled as far west as the Mississippi River, though vast pockets of American land remained vacant or inhabited only Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans. Jefferson believed that western expansion played an important role in furthering his vision of a republic of yeoman farmers, and he hoped to acquire the Spain, Spanish territory of Louisiana (New France), Louisiana, which was located to the west of the Mississippi River. Early in Jefferson's presidency, the administration learned that Spain planned to retrocede the Louisiana territory to France, raising fears of French encroachment on U.S. territory. In 1802, Jefferson and Madison sent Monroe to France to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans, which controlled access to the Mississippi River and thus was immensely important to the farmers of the American frontier. Rather than selling merely New Orleans, Napoleon's government, having already given up on plans to establish a new French empire in the Americas, offered to sell the entire Territory of Louisiana. Despite lacking explicit authorization from Jefferson, Monroe, along with ambassador Livingston, negotiated the
Louisiana Purchase The Louisiana Purchase (french: Vente de la Louisiane, translation=Sale of Louisiana) was the acquisition of the Louisiana (New France), territory of Louisiana by the United States from French First Republic, Napoleonic France in 1803. In retur ...

Louisiana Purchase
, in which France sold over of land in exchange for $15 million ($271 million adjusted for inflation in 2021). Despite the time-sensitive nature of negotiations with the French, Jefferson was concerned about the constitutionality of the Louisiana Purchase, and he privately favored introducing a constitutional amendment explicitly authorizing Congress to acquire new territories. Madison convinced Jefferson to refrain from proposing the amendment, and the administration ultimately submitted the Louisiana Purchase without an accompanying constitutional amendment. Unlike Jefferson, Madison was not seriously concerned with the Louisiana Purchase's constitutionality. He believed that the circumstances did not warrant a strict interpretation of the Constitution because the expansion was in the country's best interest. The Senate quickly ratified the treaty providing for the purchase, and the House, with equal alacrity, passed enabling legislation. The Jefferson administration argued that the purchase had included the Spanish territory of West Florida, but France and Spain both held that West Florida was not included in the purchase. Monroe attempted to purchase clear title to West Florida and East Florida from Spain, but the Spanish, outraged by Jefferson's claims to West Florida, refused to negotiate. Early in his tenure, Jefferson was able to maintain cordial relations with both France and Britain, but relations with Britain deteriorated after 1805. The British ended their policy of tolerance towards American shipping and began seizing American goods headed for French ports. They also impressment, impressed American sailors, some of whom had originally defected from the British navy, and some of whom had never been British subjects. In response to the attacks, Congress passed the Non-importation Act, which restricted many, but not all, British imports. Tensions with Britain heightened due to the ''Chesapeake–Leopard affair'', a June 1807 naval confrontation between American and British naval forces, while the French also began attacking American shipping. Madison believed that economic pressure could force the British to end attacks on American shipping, and he and Jefferson convinced Congress to pass the Embargo Act of 1807, which banned all exports to foreign nations. The embargo proved ineffective, unpopular, and difficult to enforce, especially in New England. In March 1809, Congress replaced the embargo with the Non-Intercourse Act (1809), Non-Intercourse Act, which allowed trade with nations other than Britain and France.


1808 presidential election

Speculation regarding Madison's potential succession of Jefferson commenced early in Jefferson's first term. Madison's status in the party was damaged by his association with the embargo, which was unpopular throughout the country and especially in the Northeast. With the Federalists collapsing as a national party after 1800, the chief opposition to Madison's candidacy came from other members of the Democratic-Republican Party. Madison became the target of attacks from Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke, John Randolph, a leader of a faction of the party known as the tertium quids. Randolph recruited Monroe, who had felt betrayed by the administration's rejection of the proposed Monroe–Pinkney Treaty with Britain, to challenge Madison for leadership of the party. Many Northerners, meanwhile, hoped that Vice President Clinton could unseat Madison as Jefferson's successor. Despite this opposition, Madison won his party's presidential nomination at the January 1808 congressional nominating caucus. The Federalist Party mustered little strength outside New England, and Madison easily defeated Federalist candidate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.


Presidency (1809–1817)


Taking office and cabinet

On March 4, 1809, Madison took the oath of office and was inaugurated president. Unlike Jefferson, who enjoyed political unity and support, Madison faced political opposition from Monroe and Clinton. Additionally, the Federalist Party had resurged owing to opposition to the embargo. Aside from his planned nomination of Gallatin for secretary of state, the remaining members of Madison's Cabinet were chosen for the purposes of national interest and political harmony, and according to historians Ketcham and Rutland were largely unremarkable or incompetent. Madison immediately faced opposition to his planned nomination of Secretary of the Treasury Gallatin as secretary of state. Madison chose not to submit the nomination for the advice and consent of Congress but instead kept Gallatin in the Treasury Department. With Gallatin's nomination now made moot by retaining him as the secretary of the treasury, Madison settled for Robert Smith (Cabinet member), Robert Smith, the brother of Maryland Senator Samuel Smith, to be the secretary of state. For the next two years, Madison performed most of the job of the secretary of state due to Smith's incompetence. After bitter party contention, Madison finally replaced Smith with Monroe in April 1811. With a Cabinet full of those he distrusted, Madison rarely called Cabinet meetings and instead frequently consulted with Gallatin alone. Early in his presidency, Madison sought to continue Jefferson's policies of low taxes and a reduction of the national debt.. In 1811, Congress allowed the charter of the First Bank of the United States to lapse after Madison declined to take a strong stance on the issue.


War of 1812


Prelude to war

Congress had repealed the embargo shortly before Madison became president, but troubles with the British and French continued. Madison settled on a new strategy designed to pit the British and French against each other, offering to trade with whichever country would end their attacks against American shipping. The gambit almost succeeded, but negotiations with the British collapsed in mid-1809. Seeking to split the Americans and British, Napoleon offered to end French attacks on American shipping so long as the United States punished any countries that did not similarly end restrictions on trade. Madison accepted Napoleon's proposal in the hope that it would convince the British to finally end their policy of commercial warfare, but the British refused to change their policies, and the French reneged on their promise and continued to attack American shipping. With sanctions and other policies having failed, Madison determined that war with Britain was the only remaining option. Many Americans called for a "second war of independence" to restore honor and stature to the new nation, and an angry public elected a "war hawk" Congress, led by Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun. With Britain in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, many Americans including Madison believed that the United States could easily capture Canada, at which point the U.S. could use Canada as a bargaining chip for all other disputes or simply retain control of it.. On June 1, 1812, Madison asked Congress for a declaration of war, stating that the United States could no longer tolerate Britain's "state of war against the United States". The declaration of war was passed along sectional and party lines, with opposition to the declaration coming from Federalists and from some Democratic-Republicans in the Northeast. In the years prior to the war, Jefferson and Madison had reduced the size of the military, leaving the country with a military force consisting mostly of poorly trained militia members. Madison asked Congress to quickly put the country "into an armor and an attitude demanded by the crisis," specifically recommending expansion of the army and navy.


Military action

Madison and his advisers initially believed the war would be a quick American victory, while the British were occupied fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. Madison ordered an invasion of Canada at Detroit, designed to defeat British control around American held Fort Niagara and destroy the British supply lines from Montreal. These actions would give leverage for British concessions on the Atlantic high seas. Madison believed state militias would rally to the flag and invade Canada, but the governors in the Northeast failed to cooperate, and the militias either sat out the war or refused to leave their respective states. As a result, Madison's first Canadian campaign ended in failure. On August 16, Major General William Hull surrendered to British and Native American forces at Siege of Detroit, Detroit. On October 13, a separate force from the United States was defeated at Battle of Queenston Heights, Queenton Heights. Commanding General Henry Dearborn, hampered by mutinous New England infantry, retreated to winter quarters near Albany, New York, Albany, after failing to destroy Montreal's vulnerable British supply lines. Lacking adequate revenue to fund the war, the Madison administration was forced to rely on high-interest loans furnished by bankers based in New York City and Philadelphia. In leading up to the 1812 United States presidential election, 1812 presidential election, held during the early stages of the War of 1812, the poorly-attended 1812 Democratic-Republican congressional caucus met in May 1812, and Madison was re-nominated without opposition. A dissident group of New York Democratic-Republicans nominated DeWitt Clinton, the Lieutenant Governor of New York and the nephew of recently deceased Vice President George Clinton, to oppose Madison in the 1812 election. This faction of Democratic-Republicans hoped to unseat the president by forging a coalition among Republicans opposed to the coming war, Democratic-Republicans angry with Madison for not moving more decisively toward war, northerners weary of the Virginia dynasty and southern control of the White House, and disgruntled New Englanders who wanted almost anyone over Madison. Dismayed about their prospects of beating Madison, a group of top Federalists met with Clinton's supporters to discuss a electoral alliance, unification strategy. Difficult as it was for them to join forces, they nominated Clinton for President and Jared Ingersoll, a Philadelphia lawyer, for vice president. Hoping to shore up his support in the Northeast, where the War of 1812 was unpopular, Madison selected Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts as his running mate. Despite the maneuverings of Clinton and the Federalists, Madison won re-election, though by the narrowest margin of any election since the 1800 United States presidential election, election of 1800. He received 128 electoral votes to 89 for Clinton. Federalists made gains in most states outside of the South, but Pennsylvania's support for Madison ensured that the incumbent won a majority of the electoral vote. Clinton won most of the Northeast, but Madison won the election by sweeping the South and the West and winning the key state of Pennsylvania. After the disastrous start to the War of 1812, Madison accepted Russia's invitation to arbitrate the war, and he sent a delegation led by Gallatin and John Quincy Adams (the son of former President John Adams) to Europe to negotiate a peace treaty. While Madison worked to end the war, the United States experienced some impressive naval successes, boosting American morale, by the , and other warships. With a victory at the Battle of Lake Erie, the U.S. crippled the supply and reinforcement of British military forces in the western theater of the war. In the aftermath of the Battle of Lake Erie, General William Henry Harrison defeated the forces of the British and of Tecumseh's Confederacy at the Battle of the Thames. The death of Tecumseh in that battle marked the permanent end of armed Native American resistance in the Old Northwest. In March 1814, General Andrew Jackson broke the resistance of the British-allied Muscogee in the Old Southwest with his victory at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814), Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Despite those successes, the British continued to repel American attempts to invade Canada, and a British force captured Capture of Fort Niagara, Fort Niagara and burned the American city of Buffalo, New York, Buffalo in late 1813. The British agreed to begin peace negotiations in the town of Ghent in early 1814, but at the same time, they shifted soldiers to North America following Napoleon's defeat in the Battle of Paris (1814), Battle of Paris. Under General George Izard and General Jacob Brown, the U.S. launched another invasion of Canada in mid-1814. Despite an American victory at the Battle of Chippawa, the invasion stalled once again. Making matters worse, Madison had failed to muster his new Secretary of War John Armstrong Jr., John Armstrong to fortify Washington D.C. At the same time, Madison, according to historian Ketcham, also put into command an "inexperienced and incompetent" Brig. General William H. Winder, William Winder to stop the impending British invasion. In August 1814, the British landed a large force off the Chesapeake Bay and routed Winder's army at the Battle of Bladensburg. The Madisons escaped capture, fleeing to Virginia by horseback, in the aftermath of the battle, but the British Burning of Washington, burned Washington and other buildings. The charred remains of the capital by the British were a humiliating defeat for Madison and America. The British army next moved on Baltimore, but the U.S. repelled the British attack in the Battle of Baltimore, and the British army departed from the Chesapeake region in September. That same month, U.S. forces repelled a British invasion from Canada with a victory at the Battle of Plattsburgh. The British public began to turn against the war in North America, and British leaders began to look for a quick exit from the conflict. In January 1815, an American force under General Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Just over a month later, Madison learned that his negotiators had reached the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war without major concessions by either side. Madison quickly sent the Treaty of Ghent to the Senate, and the Senate ratified the treaty on February 16, 1815. To most Americans, the quick succession of events at the end of the war, including the burning of the capital, the Battle of New Orleans, and the Treaty of Ghent, appeared as though American valor at New Orleans had forced the British to surrender. This view, while inaccurate, strongly contributed to a feeling of post-war euphoria that bolstered Madison's reputation as president. Napoleon's defeat at the June 1815 Battle of Waterloo brought a final close to the Napoleonic Wars, ending the danger of attacks on American shipping by British and French forces.


Postwar period and decline of the Federalist opposition

The postwar period of Madison's second term saw the transition into the "Era of Good Feelings," as the Federalists ceased to act as an effective opposition party. During the war, delegates from the states of New England held the Hartford Convention, where they asked for several amendments to the Constitution. Though the Hartford Convention did not explicitly call for the secession of New England, the Hartford Convention became a political millstone around the Federalist Party as Americans celebrated what they saw as a successful "second war of independence" from Britain. Madison hastened the decline of the Federalists by adopting several programs he had previously opposed, weakening the ideological divisions between the two major parties. Recognizing the difficulties of financing the war and the necessity of an institution to regulate the currency, Madison proposed the re-establishment of a national bank. He also called for increased spending on the army and the navy, a tariff designed to Protectionism, protect American goods from foreign competition, and a constitutional amendment authorizing the federal government to fund the construction of internal improvements such as roads and canals. His initiatives were opposed by strict constructionists such as John Randolph, who stated that Madison's proposals "out-Hamiltons Alexander Hamilton". Responding to Madison's proposals, the 14th United States Congress, 14th Congress compiled one of the most productive legislative records up to that point in history.. Congress granted the
Second Bank of the United States The Second Bank of the United States was the second federally authorized Hamiltonian national bank In banking A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates a demand deposit while simultaneou ...
a twenty-five-year charter. and passed the
Tariff of 1816 The Tariff of 1816, also known as the Dallas Tariff, is notable as the first tariff passed by Congress with an explicit function of protecting U.S. manufactured items from overseas competition. Prior to the War of 1812 War is an intense ...
, which set high import duties for all goods that were produced outside the United States. Madison approved federal spending on the Cumberland Road, which provided a link to the country's western lands, but in his last act before leaving office, he blocked further federal spending on internal improvements by vetoing the Bonus Bill of 1817. In making the veto, Madison argued that the Taxing and Spending Clause, General Welfare Clause did not broadly authorize federal spending on internal improvements.


Native American policy

Upon becoming president, Madison said the federal government's duty was to convert Native Americans by the "participation of the improvements of which the human mind and manners are susceptible in a civilized state". On September 30, 1809, a little more than six months into his first term, Madison agreed to the Treaty of Fort Wayne, negotiated and signed by Indiana Territory Governor Harrison. The treaty began with "James Madison, President of the United States," on the first sentence of the first paragraph. The American Indian tribes were compensated $5,200 ($109,121.79 for year 2020) in goods and $500 and $250 annual subsidies to the various tribes, for 3 million acres of land (approximately 12,140 square kilometers). The treaty angered Shawnee leader Tecumseh, who said, "Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds and the great sea, as well as the earth?" Harrison responded that the Miami tribe was the owner of the land and could sell it to whomever they wished. Like Jefferson, Madison had a paternalistic attitude toward American Indians, encouraging the men to give up hunting and become farmers.. Madison believed the adoption of European-style agriculture would help Native Americans assimilate the values of British-U.S. civilization. As pioneers and settlers moved West into large tracts of Cherokee, Choctaw, Muscogee people, Creek, and Chickasaw territory, Madison ordered the U.S. Army to protect Native lands from intrusion by settlers, to the chagrin of his military commander Andrew Jackson, who wanted Madison to ignore Indian pleas to stop the invasion of their lands.. Tensions mounted between the United States and Tecumseh over the 1809 Treaty of Fort Wayne, which ultimately led to Tecumseh's alliance with the British and the Battle of Tippecanoe, on November 7, 1811, in the Northwest Territory. Tecumseh was defeated and Indians were pushed off their tribal lands, replaced entirely by white settlers. In addition to the Battle of the Thames and the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814), Battle of Horseshoe Bend, other American Indian battles took place, including the Peoria War, and the Creek War. Settled by General Jackson, the Creek War added 20 million acres of land to the United States (approximately 80,937 square kilometers) in Georgia and Alabama, by the Treaty of Fort Jackson on August 9, 1814. Privately, Madison did not believe American Indians could be civilized. Madison believed that Native Americans may have been unwilling to make "the transition from the hunter, or even the herdsman state, to the agriculture". Madison feared that Native Americans had too great an influence on the settlers they interacted with, who in his view were "irresistibly attracted by that complete liberty, that freedom from bonds, obligations, duties, that absence of care and anxiety which characterize the savage state". In March 1816, Madison's Secretary of War William H. Crawford, William Crawford advocated for the government to encourage intermarriages between Native Americans and whites as a way of assimilating the former. This prompted public outrage and exacerbated anti-Indigenous bigotry among white Americans, as seen in hostile letters sent to Madison, who remained publicly silent on the issue.


General Wilkinson misconduct

In 1810, the House investigated Commanding General James Wilkinson for misconduct over his ties with Spain. Wilkinson was a hold-over of the Jefferson administration. In 1806, Jefferson was told Wilkinson was under a financial retainer with Spain. Wilkinson had also been rumored to have ties to Spain during both the Washington and Adams administrations. Jefferson removed Wilkinson from his position of Governor of the Louisiana territory in 1807 for his ties with the Burr conspiracy. The 1810 House investigation was not a formal report but documents incriminating Wilkinson were given to Madison. Wilkinson's military request for a court-martial was denied by Madison. Wilkinson then asked for 14 officers to testify on his behalf in Washington, but Madison refused, in essence, acquitting Wilkinson of malfeasance. Later in 1810 the House investigated Wilkinson's public record, and charged him with a high casualty rate among soldiers. Wilkinson was acquitted again. However, in 1811, Madison launched a formal court-martial of Wilkinson, that suspended him from active duty. The military court in December 1811 acquitted Wilkinson of misconduct. Madison approved of Wilkinson's acquittal, and restored him to active duty. After Wilkinson failed a command during the War of 1812, Madison dismissed him from his command for incompetence. However, Madison retained Wilkinson in the Army, but replaced him with Henry Dearborn as its commander. Not until 1815, when Wilkinson was court-martialled and acquitted again, did Madison finally remove him from the Army. Historical evidence brought forth in the 20th century proved Wilkinson was under the pay of Spain. Retrospectively, in 1974, historian James Banner criticized Madison for his protection of General James Wilkinson in the Army. Wilkinson had been involved in the Aaron Burr conspiracy during the Jefferson Administration, was on retainer of Spain, and had a high mortality rate among soldiers. Wilkinson had also botched a campaign during the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the and its against and its allies in , with limited participation by in . It began when the US declared war on 18 June 1812 and although peace terms were agreed i ...
. Madison finally mustered Wilkinson out of the Army in 1815.


Election of 1816

In the 1816 United States presidential election, 1816 presidential election, Madison and Jefferson both favored the candidacy of Secretary of State James Monroe and he defeated Secretary of War William H. Crawford in the party's congressional nominating caucus. As the Federalist Party continued to collapse as a national party, Monroe easily defeated Federalist candidate Rufus King in the 1816 election. Madison left office as a popular president; former president Adams wrote that Madison had "acquired more glory, and established more union, than all his three predecessors, Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, put together".


Later life and death (1817–1836)

When Madison left office in 1817 at age 65, he retired to Montpelier, his tobacco plantation in Orange County, Virginia, not far from Jefferson's Monticello. As with both Washington and Jefferson, Madison left the presidency a poorer man than when elected. His plantation experienced a steady financial collapse, due to the continued price declines in tobacco and also due to his stepson's mismanagement. In his retirement, Madison occasionally became involved in public affairs, advising Andrew Jackson and other presidents. He remained out of the public debate over the Missouri Compromise, though he privately complained about the North's opposition to the extension of slavery. Madison had warm relations with all four of the major candidates in the 1824 United States presidential election, 1824 presidential election, but, like Jefferson, largely stayed out of the race. During presidency of Andrew Jackson, Jackson's presidency, Madison publicly disavowed the Nullification Crisis, Nullification movement and argued that no state had the right to secession in the United States, secede. Madison also helped Jefferson establish the University of Virginia. In 1826, after the death of Jefferson, Madison was appointed as the second rector of the university. He retained the position as college chancellor for ten years until his death in 1836. In 1829, at the age of 78, Madison was chosen as a representative to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829–1830, Virginia Constitutional Convention for revision of the commonwealth's constitution. It was his last appearance as a statesman. Apportionment (politics), Apportionment was the central issue at the convention. The western districts of Virginia complained that they were underrepresented because the state constitution apportioned voting districts by county. The increased population in the Piedmont and western parts of the state were not proportionately represented by delegates in the legislature. Western reformers also wanted to extend suffrage to all white men, in place of the prevailing property ownership requirement. Madison tried in vain to effect a compromise. Eventually, suffrage rights were extended to renters as well as landowners, but the eastern planters refused to adopt citizen population apportionment. They added slaves held as property to the population count, to maintain a permanent majority in both houses of the legislature, arguing that there must be a balance between population and property represented. Madison was disappointed at the failure of Virginians to resolve the issue more equitably. In his later years, Madison became highly concerned about his historic legacy. He resorted to modifying letters and other documents in his possession, changing days and dates, adding and deleting words and sentences, and shifting characters. By the time he had reached his late seventies, Madison's self-editing of his own archived letters and older materials had become almost an obsession. As an example, he edited a letter written to Jefferson criticizing Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette—Madison not only inked out original passages, but even forged Jefferson's handwriting. Historian Drew R. McCoy wrote that, "During the final six years of his life, amid a sea of personal [financial] troubles that were threatening to engulf him ... At times mental agitation issued in physical collapse. For the better part of a year in 1831 and 1832 he was bedridden, if not silenced ... Literally sick with anxiety, he began to despair of his ability to make himself understood by his fellow citizens." Madison's health slowly deteriorated. In a coincidence, the calendar date of the fourth of July was the day of the year on which former presidents Jefferson, Adams, and Monroe had all died. In his final week, his doctors advised Madison to take stimulants which might prolong his life to July 4, 1836. However, Madison refused. He died of congestive heart failure at Montpelier on the morning of June 28, 1836, at the age of 85. By one common account of his final moments, he was given his breakfast, which he tried eating but was unable to swallow. His favorite niece, who sat by to keep him company, asked him, "What is the matter, Uncle James?" Madison died immediately after he replied, "Nothing more than a change of ''mind'', my dear." He is buried in the family cemetery at Montpelier. He was one of the last prominent members of the Revolutionary War generation to die. His last will and testament left significant sums to the American Colonization Society, Princeton, and the University of Virginia, as well as $30,000 ($897 thousand corrected for inflation in 2021) to his wife, Dolley. Left with a smaller sum than Madison had intended, Dolley suffered financial troubles until her death in 1849.


Political and religious views


Federalism

During his first stint in Congress in the 1780s, Madison came to favor amending the Articles of Confederation to provide for a stronger central government. In the 1790s, he led the opposition to Hamilton's centralizing policies and the Alien and Sedition Acts. According to historian Ron Chernow, Madison's support of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions in the 1790s "was a breathtaking evolution for a man who had pleaded at the Constitutional Convention that the federal government should possess a veto over state laws". Historian Gordon S. Wood says that Lance Banning, as in his ''Sacred Fire of Liberty'' (1995), is the "only present-day scholar to maintain that Madison did not change his views in the 1790s". During and after the War of 1812, Madison came to support several policies he had opposed in the 1790s, including the national bank, a strong navy, and direct taxes. Wood notes that many historians struggle to understand Madison, but Wood looks at him in the terms of Madison's own times—as a nationalist but one with a different conception of nationalism from that of the Federalists. Gary Rosen and Banning use other approaches to suggest Madison's consistency.


Religion

Although baptized as an Anglican and educated by Presbyterianism, Presbyterian clergymen, young Madison was an avid reader of English Deism, deist tracts. As an adult, Madison paid little attention to religious matters. Though most historians have found little indication of his religious leanings after he left college, some scholars indicate he leaned toward deism. Others maintain that Madison accepted Christian tenets and formed his outlook on life with a Christian world view. Regardless of his own religious beliefs, Madison believed in religious liberty, and he advocated for Virginia's disestablishment of the Anglican Church throughout the late 1770s and 1780s. He also opposed the appointments of chaplains for Congress and the armed forces, arguing that the appointments produce religious exclusion as well as political disharmony. In 1819, Madison said, "The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State."


Slavery

Madison grew up on a plantation that made use of slave labor and he viewed the institution as a necessary part of the Southern economy, though he was troubled by the instability of a society that depended on a large slave population. During the revolutionary war, Madison responded to a proposal of providing slaves to soldiers as a recruitment bonus by advocating enlisting blacks in exchange for their freedom instead, writing "would it not be as well to liberate and make soldiers at once of the blacks themselves as to make them instruments for enlisting white Soldiers? It would certainly be more consonant to the principles of liberty which ought never to be loss sight of in a contest for liberty." At the Philadelphia Convention, Madison wrote "Where slavery exists the republican Theory becomes still more fallacious." He favored an immediate end to the importation of slaves, though the final document barred Congress from interfering with the international slave trade until 1808,. Madison initially opposed the 20-year ban on ending the international slave trade, writing "Twenty years will produce all the mischief that can be apprehended from the liberty to import slaves. So long a term will be more dishonorable to the National character than to say nothing about it in the Constitution." However, he eventually accepted it as a necessary compromise to get the South to ratify the constitution, later writing "It ought to be considered as a great point gained in favor of humanity, that a period of twenty years may terminate forever, within these States, a traffic which has long and so loudly upbraided the barbarism of modern policy; that within that period it will receive considerable discouragement from the Federal government and be totally abolished, by a concurrence of the few States which continue the unnatural traffic in the prohibitory example which has been given by so great a majority of the Union." He also proposed that apportionment in the United States House of Representatives be allocated by the sum of each state's free population and slave population, eventually leading to the adoption of the Three-Fifths Compromise. Madison supported the extension of slavery into the West during the Missouri crisis of 1819–1821. Madison believed that former slaves were unlikely to successfully integrate into Southern society, and in the late 1780s, he became interested in the idea of African-Americans establishing colonies in Africa. Madison was president of the American Colonization Society, which founded the settlement of Liberia for former slaves. Madison was unable to separate himself from the institution of domestic slavery. Although Madison had championed a republican form of government, he believed that slavery had caused the South to become aristocratic. Madison believed that slaves were human property, while he opposed slavery intellectually. Along with his colonization plan for blacks, Madison believed that slavery would naturally diffuse with western expansion. Madison's political views landed somewhere between John C. Calhoun's separation nullification and Daniel Webster's nationalism consolidation. Madison was never able to reconcile his advocacy of Republican government and his lifelong reliance on the slave system. In 1790, Madison ordered an overseer to treat slaves with "all the humanity and kindness of consistent with their necessary subordination and work". Visitors noted slaves were well housed and fed. According to Paul Jennings (slave), Paul Jennings, one of Madison's younger slaves, Madison never lost his temper or had his slaves whipped, preferring to reprimand. Madison never outwardly expressed the view that blacks were inferior; he tended to express open-mindedness on the question of race. When Madison moved to Washington D.C. in 1801, to serve as President Jefferson's Secretary of State, Madison brought slaves from Montpelier. He also hired out slaves in Washington D.C. but paid their masters money directly, rather than the slaves, who did the work. During Madison's presidency, his White House slaves included John Freeman, Paul Jennings, Sukey, Joseph Bolden, Jim, and Abram. Madison was referred to as a “garden-variety slaveholder" by historian Elizabeth Dowling Taylor. Madison withheld excessive cruelty to slaves to avoid criticism from peers, and to curb slave revolts. Madison worked his slaves from dawn to dusk, six days a week, getting Sundays off for rest. By 1801, Madison's slave population at Montpelier (Orange, Virginia), Montpelier was slightly over 100. During the 1820s and 1830s, Madison was forced by debts to sell land and slaves. In 1836, at the time of Madison's death, he owned 36 taxable slaves. Madison did not free any of his slaves either during his lifetime or in his will. Upon Madison's death, he left his remaining slaves to his wife Dolley, asking her only to sell her slaves with their consent. Dolley, however did not follow this prescription, selling the Montpelier plantation and many slaves to pay off the Madisons' debts, including Paul Jennings, who she had planned to emancipate upon her death. The few remaining slaves, after Dolley's death, were given to her son, Payne Todd, who freed them upon his death, though some were likely sold for debts as well.


Legacy


Historical reputation

Madison is widely regarded as one of the most important Founding Fathers of the United States. Historian J.C.A. Stagg writes that "in some ways—because he was on the winning side of every important issue facing the young nation from 1776 to 1816—Madison was the most successful and possibly the most influential of all the Founding Fathers." Though he helped found a major political party and served as the fourth president of the United States, his legacy has largely been defined by his contributions to the Constitution; even in his own life he was hailed as the "Father of the Constitution". Law professor Noah Feldman writes that Madison "invented and theorized the modern ideal of an expanded, federal constitution that combines local self-government with an overarching national order". Feldman adds that Madison's "model of liberty-protecting constitutional government" is "the most influential American idea in global political history". Polls of historians and political scientists tend to Historical rankings of presidents of the United States, rank Madison as an above-average president. A 2018 poll of the American Political Science Association's Presidents and Executive Politics section ranked Madison as the twelfth best president. Historian Gordon Wood commends Madison for his steady leadership during the war and resolve to avoid expanding the president's power, noting one contemporary's observation that the war was conducted "without one trial for treason, or even one prosecution for libel". Nonetheless, many historians have criticized Madison's tenure as president. Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris in 1968 said the conventional view of Madison was as an "incapable President" who "mismanaged an unnecessary war". A 2006 poll of historians ranked Madison's failure to prevent the War of 1812 as the sixth-worst mistake made by a sitting president. The historian Garry Wills wrote, "Madison's claim on our admiration does not rest on a perfect consistency, any more than it rests on his presidency. He has other virtues. ... As a framer and defender of the Constitution he had no peer. ... The finest part of Madison's performance as president was his concern for the preserving of the Constitution. ... No man could do everything for the country—not even Washington. Madison did more than most, and did some things better than any. That was quite enough." In 2002, historian Ralph Ketcham was critical of Madison as a wartime President during the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the and its against and its allies in , with limited participation by in . It began when the US declared war on 18 June 1812 and although peace terms were agreed i ...
. Ketcham blamed Madison for the events that led up to the burning of the nation's capital by the British. Ketcham said: "The events of the summer of 1814 illustrate all too well the inadequacy in wartime of Madison's habitual caution and tendency to let complexities remain unresolved...Although such inclinations are ordinarily virtues, in crisis they are calamitous." Ketcham said "it was, ironically, Madison's very republican virtue that in part unsuited him to be a wartime president." File:James Madison 1894 Issue-2$.jpg, upright=0.8, 1894 postage stamp depicting Madison File:James Madison Presidential $1 Coin obverse.png, upright=0.8, Madison on 2007 Presidential Dollar coin File:US-$5000-FRN-1928-Fr-2220g.jpg, Madison on the Large denominations of United States currency, $5,000 bill


Memorials

Montpelier, the Madison family's plantation, has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The James Madison Memorial Building is a building of the United States Library of Congress and serves as the official memorial to Madison. In 1986, Congress created the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation as part of the bicentennial celebration of the Constitution.Title 45 CFR 2400.51
/ref> Several counties and communities have been named for Madison, including Madison County, Alabama, and Madison, Wisconsin. Other things named for Madison include Madison Square, James Madison University, and the USS James Madison (SSBN-627), USS ''James Madison''.


See also

* Irving Newton Brant, Madison's leading biographer * Expansionism * List of delegates to the Continental Congress * List of presidents of the United States * Republicanism


Notes


References


Works cited

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading


Biographies

* * , the standard scholarly biography
Online additions
* single volume condensation of 6-vol biography * * * detailed popular history * * * Ketcham, Ralph. "Madison, James." in ''Presidents: A Reference History,'' edited by Henry F. Graff, (3rd ed., Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002), pp. 57–70
online
* * * *


Analytic studies

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Historiography

* * *


Primary sources

* ; The main scholarly edition *
"Founders Online," searchable edition
* * * * * * * * reprints his major messages and reports.


External links


White House biography
*
James Madison: A Resource Guide
at the Library of Congress
The James Madison Papers, 1723–1836
at the Library of Congress
The Papers of James Madison
subset o
Founders Online
from the National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives
American President: James Madison (1751–1836)
at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia * * *
James Madison Personal Manuscripts

Guide to the James Madison and Dolley Madison Collection 1780–1848
at th
University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center
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