James Madison, Father of the Constitution (1751-1836)

Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

–James Madison, Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention on Control of the Military, June 16, 1788 in: History of the Virginia Federal Convention of 1788, vol. 1, p. 130 (H.B. Grigsby ed. 1890). (Google Books)

James Madison, 4th President of the United Sates, is known as “Father of the Constitution” and (together with George Mason) “Father of the Bill of Rights” (1751-1836). (His second cousin was also named James Madison, the Right Reverend James Madison (1749-1812), who became the eighth president of the College of William and Mary.)

James Madison, Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States. Portrait by John Vanderlyn

James Madison, Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States. Portrait by John Vanderlyn

Born March 16, 1751, Madison was brought up in Orange County, Virginia, and attended Princeton (then called the College of New Jersey). A student of history and government, well-read in law, he participated in the framing of the Virginia Constitution in 1776, served in the Continental Congress, and was a leader in the Virginia Assembly.

When delegates to the Constitutional Convention assembled at Philadelphia in 1787, the 36-year-old Madison took frequent and emphatic part in the debates.

Madison made a major contribution to the ratification of the Constitution by writing, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the Federalist Papers. In later years, when he was referred to as the “Father of the Constitution,” Madison protested that the document was not “the off-spring of a single brain,” but “the work of many heads and many hands.”

In Congress, he helped frame the Bill of Rights and enact the first revenue legislation. Out of his leadership in opposition to Hamilton’s financial proposals, which he felt would unduly bestow wealth and power upon northern financiers, came the development of the Republican, or Jeffersonian, Party.

Source: James Madison – White House

President James Madison Biography

When James Madison’s second term as president ended in 1817, he and Dolley retired to Montpelier. In retirement Madison stayed active and interested in politics. In 1819 he founded the American Colonization Society dedicated to freeing slaves and transporting them to the West Coast of Africa. Madison served on the board of visitors at the University of Virginia, and briefly came out of retirement at the age of 79 to attend the 1829 Virginia Constitutional Convention. On June 28, 1836, James Madison died at Montpelier at the age of 85 and was buried in the Madison Family Cemetery on the mansion grounds.

Source: “James Madison: Retirement and Death,” James Madison’s Montpelier


Richard Brookhiser – James Madison, Father of American Politics


C-Span’s “James Madison and the Constitution”

Books

Madison's Montpelier

Montpelier is located at 13384 Laundry Rd, Montpelier Station, VA

More


James Madison and the Making of America

James Madison and the Making of America


James Madison: A Son of Virginia and a Founder of the Nation

James Madison: A Son of Virginia and a Founder of the Nation


James Madison

James Madison


James Madison

James Madison


Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, The Bill of Rights, and The Election that Saved a Nation

Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, The Bill of Rights, and The Election that Saved a Nation


James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights

James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights


James Madison: A Biography

James Madison: A Biography


Origins of the Bill of Rights

Origins of the Bill of Rights


The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction

The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction


America's Constitution: A Biography

America’s Constitution: A Biography


The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers


The Federalist Papers In Modern Language: Indexed for Today's Political Issues

The Federalist Papers In Modern Language: Indexed for Today’s Political Issues


James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic

James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic


The Last of the Fathers: James Madison & The Republican Legacy

The Last of the Fathers: James Madison & The Republican Legacy


The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic

The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic


James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government

James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government






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