Facts About James Madison

Facts About James Madison

American political philosopher, James Madison, was the fourth President of America. He is rightfully acknowledged as a 'Founding Father' of the United States, for his selfless contribution to the draft and ratification of the Constitution.
Historyplex Staff
The timeline associated with the persona of James Madison spans across a century. The author of the Federalist Papers and commentary on the US Constitution was born on March 16, 1751. He was not only the first U.S. President to also be a part of the Congress, but also one who is most credited for the amendments to the Constitution. He is rightly referred to as the 'Father of the Bill of Rights'. He died a natural death on June 28, 1836.

James Madison and the U.S. Constitution

James Madison was a political theorist. He strongly advocated the protection of individual rights, and voiced against oppression towards the layman by those in power. He was a part of the House of Representatives that worked in conjunction with President George Washington during the formative years of the federal government. In fact, in 1791, it was Madison and Thomas Jefferson who organized what is known today as the Democratic-Republican Party. He showed a lot of concern over the fragility of the Confederation articles after the American Civil War, and advocated the drafting of a new constitution.

Madison was particularly worried about the effect of the divisive nature of the state governments extolled within the articles. He presented the revolutionary federal system that was three-tiered. This became the widely accepted base for the American Constitution. The outspoken Congressman had, in essence, given the world the design of a federal government that promised a strong center. He worked alongside Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to co-author the Federalist Papers and get the Constitution ratified by the Congress. His role in the drafting and ratification of the U.S. Constitution remains unparalleled.

Intriguing Facts
  • James Madison graduated from the College of New Jersey or Princeton University. He served in the Virginia state legislature between 1776 and 1779, and helped draft the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

  • In 1783, he influenced Virginia to give up the northwestern territories of Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, thus creating the Northwest Territory.

  • In 1791, when the last ten amendments proposed by him were ratified as the 'Bill of Rights', the amendments were not integrated within the constitution.

  • In 1798, he co-authored the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, along with Thomas Jefferson. The draft was in protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts.

  • Madison served as Secretary of State between 1801 - 1809, in the Jefferson administration. In office, he oversaw the Louisiana Purchase and sponsored the Embargo Act.

  • He strongly advocated the need for a strong center during the War of 1812. He supported the setting up of a nationalized bank, and stronger defenses along the frontiers.

  • During his tenure as President, he faced many a formidable obstacle, such as a factious party, divided cabinet, unworthy governors, and recalcitrant Congress.

  • He retired in 1817, amidst financial collapse, subsequent deteriorating mental stress, and failing physical health. He readdressed his legacy before his death, taking time off to justify most of his actions in office. His legacy included political memoranda and objection against chaplain appointments within the Congress and defense forces.
His legacy continues thus:
  • Madison County.
  • Madison City.
  • James Madison College.
  • James Madison University, Virginia.
  • James Madison Dukes, athletic team.
  • James Madison Institute.
  • Madison Range.
  • Madison River, Montana.
  • USS James Madison and three USS Madison naval vessels.
  • Madison Square, NYC.
  • Madison Avenue.
  • Madison Square Gardens.
  • Madison Racing, a sport at the Olympics.