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James Madison

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James Madison
4th President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
Vice President George Clinton
Elbridge Gerry
Preceded by Thomas Jefferson
Succeeded by James Monroe
5th United States Secretary of State
In office
May 2, 1801 – March 3, 1809
President Thomas Jefferson
Preceded by John Marshall
Succeeded by Robert Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1793
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by George Hancock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 15th district
In office
March 4, 1793 – March 3, 1797
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by John Dawson
Personal details
Born (1751-03-16)March 16, 1751
Port Conway, Virginia
Died June 28, 1836(1836-06-28) (aged 85)
Montpelier, Virginia, United States
Political party Democratic-Republican Party
Spouse(s) Dolley Todd
Children John (Stepson)
Alma mater Princeton University
Profession Lawyer
Signature Cursive signature in ink

James Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American politician and political philosopher who served as the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817) and is considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

He was the principal author of the US Constitution, and is often called the "Father of the Constitution". In 1788, he wrote over a third of the Federalist Papers, the most influential commentary on the Constitution. The first president to have served in the United States Congress, he was a leader in the 1st United States Congress, drafting many basic laws, and was responsible for the first ten amendments to the Constitution and thus is also known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights". As a political theorist, Madison's most distinctive belief was that the new republic needed checks and balances to protect individual rights from the tyranny of the majority.

As leader in the House of Representatives, Madison worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in 1791, Madison and Thomas Jefferson organized what they called the Republican Party (later called the Democratic-Republican Party) in opposition to key policies of the Federalists, especially the national bank and the Jay Treaty. He secretly co-authored, along with Thomas Jefferson, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 to protest the Alien and Sedition Acts.

As Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801–1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation's size, and sponsored the ill-fated Embargo Act of 1807. As president, he led the poorly prepared nation into the War of 1812 against Great Britain. A series of disasters at the beginning of the war damaged his reputation, but by 1814–15 American forces repulsed major British invasions, the Federalist opposition fell into disarray, and Americans felt triumphant at the end of the war. During and after the war, Madison reversed many of his positions. By 1815, he supported the creation of the second National Bank, a strong military, and a high tariff to protect the new factories opened during the war.

Early life

James Madison was born at Belle Grove Plantation near Port Conway, Virginia on March 16, 1751, (March 5, 1751, Old Style, Julian calendar). He grew up as the oldest of twelve children, of whom nine survived. His father, James Madison, Sr., (1723–1801) was a tobacco planter who grew up on an estate in Orange County, Virginia, which he inherited on reaching maturity. He later acquired still more property and became the largest landowner with 5,000 acres (20 km2) and leading citizen of Orange County. His mother, Nelly Conway Madison (1731–1829), was born at Port Conway, Virginia, the daughter of a prominent planter and tobacco merchant. Madison's parents married in 1743. Both parents had a significant influence over their most famous oldest son.

Madison had three brothers and three sisters who lived to maturity (by whom he had more than 30 nieces and nephews):

  • Francis Madison (1753–1800): planter of Orange County, Virginia
  • Ambrose Madison (1755–1793): planter and captain in the Virginia militia, looked after the family interests in Orange County; named after his paternal grandfather.
  • Catlett Madison (1758–1758): died in infancy.
  • Nelly Madison Hite (1760–1802)
  • William Madison (1762–1843): veteran of the Revolution and a lawyer, he served in the Virginia legislature
  • Sarah Catlett Madison Macon (1764–1843)
  • Unnamed child (1766–1766)
  • Elizabeth Madison (1768–1775)
  • Unnamed child (1770–1770)
  • Reuben Madison (1771–1775)
  • Frances "Fanny" Madison Rose (1774–1823)


From ages 11–16, A young "Jemmy" Madison studied under Donald Robertson, an instructor at the Innes plantation in King and Queen County, Virginia. Robertson was a Scottish teacher who flourished in the southern states. From Robertson, Madison learned mathematics, geography, and modern and ancient languages. He became especially proficient in Latin. Madison said that he owed his bent for learning "largely to that man (Robertson)."

At age 16, he began a two-year course of study under the Reverend Thomas Martin, who tutored Madison at Montpelier in preparation for college. Unlike most college-bound Virginians of his day, Madison did not choose the College of William and Mary because the lowland climate of Williamsburg might have strained his delicate health. Instead, in 1769 he enrolled at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).

Through diligence and long hours of study that may have damaged his health, Madison graduated in 1771. His studies there included Latin, Greek, science, geography, mathematics, rhetoric, and philosophy. Great emphasis also was placed on speech and debate. After graduation, Madison remained at Princeton to study Hebrew and political philosophy under university president John Witherspoon before returning to Montpelier in the spring of 1772. Afterwards, he knew Hebrew quite well. Madison studied law sporadically but never gained admission to the bar.

Marriage and family

James Madison married Dolley Payne Todd, a widow, on September 15, 1794, in what is now Jefferson County, West Virginia. Madison adopted Todd's one surviving son, John Payne Todd, after the marriage. Dolley Payne was born on May 20, 1768, at the New Garden Quaker settlement in North Carolina, where her parents, John Payne and Mary Coles Payne, lived briefly. Dolley's sister (Lucy Payne) had married George Steptoe Washington, a nephew of President Washington.

As a member of Congress, Madison had doubtless met the widow Todd at social functions in Philadelphia, then the nation's capital. In May 1794, he took formal notice of her by asking their mutual friend Aaron Burr to arrange a meeting. The encounter apparently went smoothly for a brisk courtship followed, and by August she had accepted his proposal of marriage. For marrying Madison, a non-Quaker, she was expelled from the Society of Friends.

Early political career

As a young lawyer, Madison defended Baptist preachers arrested for preaching without a license from the established Anglican Church. In addition, he worked with the preacher Elijah Craig on constitutional guarantees for religious liberty in Virginia. Working on such cases helped form his ideas about religious freedom. Madison served in the Virginia state legislature (1776–79) and became known as a protégé of Thomas Jefferson. He attained prominence in Virginia politics, helping to draft the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. It disestablished the Church of England and disclaimed any power of state compulsion in religious matters. He excluded Patrick Henry's plan to compel citizens to pay for a congregation of their own choice.

Madison's cousin, the Right Reverend James Madison (1749–1812), became president of the College of William & Mary in 1777. Working closely with Madison and Jefferson, Bishop Madison helped lead the College through the difficult changes involving separation from both Great Britain and the Church of England. He also led college and state actions that resulted in the formation of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia after the Revolution.

James Madison persuaded Virginia to give up its claims to northwestern territories consisting of most of modern-day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota - to the Continental Congress, which created the Northwest Territory in 1783. These land claims overlapped partially with other claims by Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and possibly others. All of these states ceded their westernmost lands, with the understanding that new states could be formed from the land, as they were. As a delegate to the Continental Congress (1780–83), Madison was considered a legislative workhorse and a master of parliamentary coalition building. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for a second time from 1784 to 1786.

Father of the Constitution

Madison returned to the Virginia state legislature at the close of the war. He soon grew alarmed at the fragility of the Articles of Confederation, particularly the divisiveness of state governments, and strongly advocated a new constitution. At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Madison's draft of the Virginia Plan and his revolutionary three-branch federal system became the basis for the American Constitution of today. Though Madison was a shy man, he was one of the more outspoken members of the Continental Congress. He envisioned a strong federal government that could overrule actions of the states when they were deemed mistaken; later in life he came to admire the US Supreme Court as it started filling that role.

Federalist Papers

To encourage ratification of the Constitution, Madison joined Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to write the Federalist Papers in 1787 and 1788. Among other contributions, Madison wrote paper #10, in which he explained how a large country with many different interests and factions could support republican values better than a small country dominated by a few special interests. His interpretation was largely ignored at the time, but in the twentieth century became a central part of the pluralist interpretation of American politics.

In Virginia in 1788, Madison led the fight for ratification at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, debating with Patrick Henry and others who sought revisions (such as the United States Bill of Rights) before its ratification. Madison is often referred to as the "Father of the Constitution" for his role in its drafting and ratification. However, he protested the title as being "a credit to which I have no claim... The Constitution was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands".

He wrote Hamilton at the New York ratifying convention, stating his opinion that "ratification was in toto and 'for ever'". The Virginia convention had considered conditional ratification worse than a rejection.

Author of Bill of Rights

Initially Madison "adamantly maintained ... that a specific bill of rights remained unnecessary because the Constitution itself was a bill of rights." Madison had three main objections to a specific bill of rights:

  1. It was unnecessary, since it purported to protect against powers that the federal government had not been granted;
  2. It was dangerous, since enumeration of some rights might be taken to imply the absence of other rights; and
  3. At the state level, bills of rights had proven to be useless paper barriers against government powers.

However, the anti-Federalists demanded a bill of rights in exchange for their support for ratification.

Patrick Henry persuaded the Virginia legislature not to elect Madison as one of their first Senators; but Madison was directly elected to the new United States House of Representatives and became an important leader from the First Congress (1789) through the Fourth Congress (1797).

People submitted more than 200 proposals from across the new nation. Madison ignored proposals that called for structural change to the government and synthesized the remainder into a list for the protection of civil rights, such as free speech, right of the people to bear arms, and habeas corpus. Still ambiguous as late as 1788 in his support for a bill of rights, in June 1789, Madison offered a package of twelve proposed amendments to the Constitution. Madison completed his change in position and "hounded his colleagues relentlessly" to accept the proposed amendments.

By 1791, the last ten of Madison's proposed amendments were ratified and became the Bill of Rights. Contrary to his wishes, the Bill of Rights was not integrated into the main body of the Constitution, and it did not apply to the states until the passages of Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments restricted the powers of the states. The Second Amendment originally proposed by Madison (but not then ratified: see United States Bill of Rights) was later ratified in 1992 as the Twenty-seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. The remaining proposal was intended to accommodate future increase in members of the House of Representatives.

Opposition to Hamilton

The chief characteristic of Madison's time in Congress was his work to limit the power of the federal government. Wood (2006a) argued that Madison never wanted a national government that took an active role. He was horrified to discover that Alexander Hamilton and George Washington were creating "a real modern European type of government with a bureaucracy, a standing army, and a powerful independent executive". Ron Chernow argued that "for Madison, Hamilton was becoming the official voice of wealthy aristocrats who were grabbing the reins of federal power. [Madison] felt betrayed by [Hamilton] but it was Madison who had deviated from their former reading of the Constitution." Specifically, while Madison wrote in the Federalist number 44 that "No axiom is more clearly established in law or in reason than wherever the end is required, the means are authorized; wherever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power for doing it is included," he opposed Hamilton's attempts to use article 1, section 8 of the Constitution in this way.

When Britain and France went to war in 1793 the U.S. was caught in the middle. The 1778 treaty of alliance with France was still in effect, yet most of the new country's trade was with Britain. War with Britain seemed imminent in 1794, as the British seized hundreds of American ships that were trading with French colonies. Madison (in collaboration with Jefferson, who had temporarily returned to private life), believed that Britain was weak and America was strong, and that a trade war with Britain, although risking retaliation by the British government, probably would succeed, and would allow Americans to assert their independence fully. Great Britain, he charged, "has bound us in commercial manacles, and very nearly defeated the object of our independence." As Varg explains, Madison had no fear of British recriminations for "her interests can be wounded almost mortally, while ours are invulnerable." The British West Indies, he maintained, could not live without American foodstuffs, but Americans could easily do without British manufactures. This faith led him to the conclusion "that it is in our power, in a very short time, to supply all the tonnage necessary for our own commerce". However, George Washington avoided a trade war and instead secured friendly trade relations with Britain through the Jay Treaty of 1794, a treaty that Madison tried but failed to defeat. All across the country, voters divided for and against the Treaty and other key issues, and thus became either Federalists or Democratic-Republicans.

Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton built a nationwide network of supporters that became the Federalist Party and promoted a strong central government with a national bank. To oppose the Federalists, Madison and Jefferson organized the Democratic-Republican Party. Madison led the unsuccessful attempt to block Hamilton's proposed Bank of the United States, arguing the new Constitution did not explicitly allow the federal government to form a bank. In 1798, Madison drafted a resolution for Virgina declaring the Alien and Sedition Acts to be unconstitutional and noted that "states, in contesting obnoxious laws, should 'interpose for arresting the progress of the evil.'" This, according to Ron Chernow, "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."

Many historians argue that Madison changed radically from a nationally oriented ally of Hamilton in 1787–88 to a states'-rights–oriented opponent of a strong national government by 1795 and then back to his original view while president. Madison started the first transition by opposing Hamilton;, by 1793 he was opposing Washington as well. Madison was often unsuccessful in his attempts to derail Hamilton's proposed legislation, including the National Bank, funding of state and national debts, and support of the Jay Treaty. A noted exception was Madison's success in blocking the proposal for high tariffs.

Madison's politics remained closely aligned with Jefferson's until the experience of a weak national government during the War of 1812 caused Madison to appreciate the need for a strong central government to aid national defense. He then began to support a national bank, a stronger navy, and a standing army. However, other historians, led by Lance Banning and Gordon S. Wood, see more continuity in Madison's views and do not see a sharp break in 1792.

United States Secretary of State 1801–1809

The main challenge which faced the Jefferson Administration was navigating between the two great empires of Britain and France, which were almost constantly at war. The first great triumph was the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, made possible when Napoleon realized he could not defend that vast territory, and it was to France's advantage that Britain not seize it. Madison and President Jefferson reversed party policy to negotiate for the Purchase and then win Congressional approval. Madison tried to maintain neutrality between Britain and France, but at the same time insisted on the legal rights of the U.S. under international law. Neither London nor Paris showed much respect, however. Madison and Jefferson decided on an embargo to punish Britain and France, forbidding Americans to trade with any foreign nation. The embargo failed as foreign policy, and instead caused massive hardships in the southern seaboard, which depended on foreign trade.

During his term as Secretary of State he was a party to the Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison, in which the doctrine of judicial review was asserted by the high Court.

The party's Congressional Caucus chose presidential candidates, and Madison was selected in the election of 1808, easily defeating Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, riding on the coattails of Jefferson's popularity. Congress repealed the failed embargo as Madison took office.

Presidency 1809–1817

James Madison engraving from between 1809 and 1817

Bank of the United States

The twenty-year charter of the first Bank of the United States was scheduled to expire in 1811, the second year of Madison's administration. Madison failed in blocking the Bank in 1791, and waited for its charter to expire. Secretary of the Treasury Gallatin wanted the bank rechartered, and when the War of 1812 broke out, he discovered how difficult it was to finance the war without the Bank. Gallatin's successor as Treasury Secretary, Alexander J. Dallas, proposed a replacement in 1814, but Madison vetoed the bill in 1815. By late 1815, however, Madison asked Congress for a new bank, which had strong support from the younger, nationalistic Republicans such as John C. Calhoun and Henry Clay, as well as Federalist Daniel Webster. Madison signed it into law in 1816, creating the Second Bank of the United States appointed William Jones as its president.

War of 1812

British insults continued, especially the practice of using the Royal Navy to intercept unarmed American merchant ships and " impress" (conscript) all sailors who might be British subjects for service in the British navy. Madison's protests were ignored by the British, so he helped the nationalist Republicans to stir up public opinion in the west and south for war. One argument by the so-called " war hawks" was that an American invasion of British Canada would be easy and would provide a good bargaining chip. Madison carefully prepared public opinion for what everyone at the time called "Mr. Madison's War", but much less time and money was spent building up the army, navy, forts, and state militias. After he persuaded Congress to declare war, Madison was reelected President over DeWitt Clinton but by a smaller margin than in 1808 (see U.S. presidential election, 1812). Some historians in 2006 ranked Madison's failure to avoid war as the sixth worst presidential mistake ever made.

In the ensuing War of 1812, the British, Canadians, and First Nations allies won numerous victories, including the capture of Detroit after the American general there surrendered to a smaller force without a fight, and the occupation of Washington, D.C. which forced Madison to flee the city and watch as the White House was set on fire by British troops. The attack was in retaliation for a U.S. invasion of York, Upper Canada (now Toronto, Ontario), in which U.S. forces twice occupied the city, burning the Parliament Buildings of Upper Canada. The British also armed American Indians in the West, most notably followers of Tecumseh who were defeated at the Battle of the Thames. The Americans built warships on the Great Lakes faster than the British and Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British fleet to avert a major invasion of New York in 1814. At sea, the British blockaded the entire coastline, cutting off both foreign trade and domestic trade between ports. Economic hardship was severe in New England, but entrepreneurs built factories that soon became the basis of the industrial revolution in America.

Madison faced formidable obstacles—a divided cabinet, a factious party, a recalcitrant Congress, obstructionist governors, and incompetent generals, together with militia who refused to fight outside their states. Most serious was lack of unified popular support. There were serious threats of disunion from New England, which engaged in massive smuggling to Canada and refused to provide financial support or soldiers. However, by 1813, the main Indian threats in the South and West had been destroyed by Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison, respectively.

War-weariness led to the end of conflict after the apparent defeat of Napoleon in 1814. Both the British and American will to continue were exhausted, the causes of the war were forgotten, the Indian issue was resolved for the time being, and it was time for peace. New England Federalists, however, set up a defeatist Hartford Convention that discussed secession. The Treaty of Ghent ended the war in 1815. There were no territorial gains on either side as both sides returned to status quo ante bellum, that is, the previous boundaries. The Battle of New Orleans, in which Andrew Jackson defeated the British regulars, was fought fifteen days after the treaty was signed but before the news of the signing reached New Orleans.


With peace finally established, the U.S. was swept by a sense that it had secured solid independence from Britain. The Federalist Party collapsed and eventually disappeared from politics, as an Era of Good Feelings emerged with a much lower level of political fear and vituperation, although political contention certainly continued.

Although Madison had accepted the necessity of a Hamiltonian national bank, an effective taxation system based on tariffs, a standing professional army and a strong navy, he drew the line at internal improvements as advocated by his Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin. In his last act before leaving office, Madison vetoed on states' rights grounds the Bonus Bill of 1817 that would have financed "internal improvements," including roads, bridges, and canals:

Having considered the bill ... I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling this bill with the Constitution of the United States.... The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified ... in the ... Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers.

Madison rejected the view of Congress that the General Welfare provision of the Taxing and Spending Clause justified the bill, stating:

Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them, the terms "common defense and general welfare" embracing every object and act within the purview of a legislative trust.

Madison urged a variety of measures that he felt were "best executed under the national authority," including federal support for roads and canals that would "bind more closely together the various parts of our extended confederacy."


The Second Barbary War brought to a conclusive end the American practice of paying tribute to the pirate states in the Mediterranean and marked the beginning of the end of the age of piracy in that region.

Administration and cabinet

The Madison Cabinet
Office Name Term
President James Madison 1809–1817
Vice President George Clinton 1809–1812
Elbridge Gerry 1813–1814
Secretary of State Robert Smith 1809–1811
James Monroe 1811–1814
Secretary of Treasury Albert Gallatin 1809–1814
George W. Campbell 1814
Alexander J. Dallas 1814–1816
William H. Crawford 1816–1817
Secretary of War William Eustis 1809–1813
John Armstrong, Jr. 1813–1814
James Monroe 1814–1815
William H. Crawford 1815–1816
Attorney General Caesar A. Rodney 1809–1811
William Pinkney 1811–1814
Richard Rush 1814–1817
Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton 1809–1813
William Jones 1813–1814
Benjamin W. Crowninshield 1814–1817
  • Madison is the only president to have had two vice-presidents die while in office.

Judicial appointments

Supreme Court

Madison appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:

  • Gabriel Duvall– 1811
  • Joseph Story– 1812

Other courts

Madison appointed eleven other federal judges, two to the United States Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, and nine to the various United States district courts. One of those judges was appointed twice, to different seats on the same court.

States admitted to the Union

  • Louisiana– April 30, 1812
  • Indiana– December 11, 1816

Later life

Gilbert Stuart Portrait of James Madison c. 1821
James Madison was honored on a Postage Issue of 1894

When Madison left office in 1817, he retired to Montpelier, his tobacco plantation in Virginia; not far from Jefferson's Monticello. Madison was then 65 years old. Dolley, who thought they would finally have a chance to travel to Paris, was 49. As with both Washington and Jefferson, Madison left the presidency a poorer man than when he entered, due to the steady financial collapse of his plantation. Some historians speculate that his mounting debt was one of the chief reasons why he refused to allow his notes on the Constitutional Convention, or its official records which he possessed, to be published in his lifetime "He knew the value of his notes, and wanted them to bring money to his estate for Dolley's use as his plantation failed—he was hoping for one hundred thousand dollars from the sale of his papers, of which the notes were the gem." Madison's financial troubles and deteriorating mental and physical health would continue to consume him.

In his later years, Madison also became extremely concerned about his legacy. He took to modifying letters and other documents in his possessions: changing days and dates, adding and deleting words and sentences, and shifting characters. By the time he had reached his late seventies, this "straightening out" had become almost an obsession. This can be seen by his editing of a letter he had written to Jefferson criticizing Lafayette: Madison not only inked out original passages, but went so far as to imitate Jefferson's handwriting as well. In Madison's mind, this may have represented an effort to make himself clear, to justify his actions both to history and to himself.

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.

In 1826, after the death of Jefferson, Madison followed Jefferson as the second Rector ("President") of the University of Virginia. It would be his last occupation. He retained the position as college chancellor for ten years, until his death in 1836.

In 1829, at the age of seventy-eight, Madison was chosen as a representative to the constitutional convention in Richmond for the revising of the Virginia state constitution; this was to be Madison's last appearance as a legislator and constitutional drafter. The issue of greatest importance at this convention was apportionment. The western districts of Virginia complained that they were underrepresented because the state constitution apportioned voting districts by county, not population. Westerners' growing numbers thus did not yield growing representation. Western reformers also wanted to extend suffrage to all white men, in place of the historic property requirement. Madison tried to effect a compromise, but to no avail. Eventually, suffrage rights were extended to renters as well as landowners, but the eastern planters refused to adopt population apportionment. Madison was disappointed at the failure of Virginians to resolve the issue more equitably. "The Convention of 1829, we might say, pushed Madison steadily to the brink of self-delusion, if not despair. The dilemma of slavery undid him."

A portrait of Madison, at age 82

Although his health had now almost failed, he managed to produce several memoranda on political subjects, including an essay against the appointment of chaplains for Congress and the armed forces, because this produced religious exclusion, but not political harmony.

Madison lived on until 1836, increasingly ignored by the new leaders of the American polity. He died at Montpelier on June 28, the last Founding Father to die. He is buried in the Madison Family Cemetery at Montpelier.

Auction of books of James Madison's library, Orange County, Virginia, 1854


Presidential Dollar of James Madison

As 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.
  • Montpelier, his family's estate and his home in Orange, Virginia, is a National Historic Landmark
  • Many counties, several towns, cities, educational institutions, a mountain range and a river are named after Madison.
    • Madison County - lists counties named for him
    • Cities: e.g. Madison, Wisconsin
    • The James Madison College of public policy at Michigan State University; James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia - its athletic teams are called the James Madison Dukes; the James Madison Institute was named in honour of his contributions to the Constitution.
    • The Madison Range was named in honour of the future President then U.S. Secretary of State by Meriwether Lewis as the Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled through Montana in 1805. The Madison River in southwestern Montana, named in 1805 by Lewis & Clark.
    • Mount Madison in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire is named after Madison.
    • Two U.S. Navy ships have been named USS James Madison and three USS Madison.
    • Madison's portrait was on the U.S. $5000 bill.

Madison Square Gardens and Madison Cycle Racing

"Madison Cottage" on the site of the Fifth Avenue Hotel at Madison Square, NYC, 1852

A lodge was built three years after Madison's death in a critical spot at the then-northernmost departure and arrival point in New York City — and named Madison Cottage in honour of the recently deceased fourth president. The site of Madison Cottage would remain a critical crossroads throughout the city's history — after its demise the site became a park, in turn named Madison Square, which remains today. Madison Square in turn, lead to the naming of Madison Avenue and Madison Square Garden, the latter taking the name of its original location: next to Madison Square. Madison Square Gardens, a prominent bicycling venue, gave rise to a popular form of track cycle racing named after the arena, Madison Racing, which remains an Olympic Sport today.

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