James Madison

James Madison


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James Madison (1751-1836) was a planter, scholar, the Father of the Constitution, and the fourth President of the United States. He was one of the most effective delegates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Madison was a skillful legislator who served in the Virginia Assembly, the Continental Congress, and the first four Congresses of the United States. Madison was Thomas Jefferson’s Secretary of State before succeeding him to the Presidency. Madison was elected to office for the first time in 1774.

Two years later, he took a seat at the Virginia Constitutional Convention, which played a major role in the drive toward American independence from the British Crown. Between 1777 and 1779, he was a member of the Virginia Council of State, serving Virginia governors Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, who became his lifelong friend. In 1780, Madison was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress, which met at Philadelphia. At twenty-nine, he was the youngest member of this Congress. With the end of the Revolution in 1783, there was the need to form a strong government in the United States. Madison took a leading role at the Constitutional Convention, drafting the Virginia Plan which became the basis of the U.S. Constitution. In defense of the Constitution during the crucial period of its ratification by the states, Madison authored a series of papers with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay which became known collectively as The Federalist Papers. During the presidential administrations of George Washington and John Adams, Madison became a major leader of the Democratic-Republicans along with Thomas Jefferson. In February 1817, Madison left office and retired to his estate, Montpelier, in Virginia. He died on June 28, 1836. He was eighty-five years old.

James Madison was one of the greatest leaders of the American Revolution. He was a great scholar who was passionate about independence and human rights. Through his work in the Virginia Plan and the Constitution, we enjoy a number of rights as citizens of the United States. Because of his great efforts to create a free country for all, we are able to live the American Dream. Madison is very important in American history because without him we would not be able to enjoy the rights that we do today.


Congress Voting Independence, a depiction of t...
Congress Voting Independence, a depiction of the Second Continental Congress voting on the United States Declaration of Independence. Oil on canvas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)