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Advanced full-text search Advanced catalog search Search tips. Search HathiTrust. Tools Cite this Export citation file. During his presidency, Madison led the U. After two terms in the White House, Madison retired to his Virginia plantation, Montpelier, with his wife Dolley The oldest of 12 children, Madison was raised on the family plantation, Montpelier, in Orange County, Virginia. After graduation, Madison took an interest in the relationship between the American colonies and Britain, which had grown tumultuous over the issue of British taxation.
When Virginia began preparing for the American Revolutionary War , Madison was appointed a colonel in the Orange County militia. Small in stature and sickly, he soon gave up a military career for a political one. In , he represented Orange County at the Virginia Constitution Convention to organize a new state government no longer under British rule. During his work in the Virginia legislature, Madison met lifelong friend Thomas Jefferson , author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States.
America Is Living James Madison’s Nightmare
He left Congress in to return to the Virginia assembly and work on a religious freedom statute, though he would soon be called back to Congress to help create a new constitution. After the colonies declared independence from Britain in , the Articles of Confederation were created as the first constitution of the United States. The Articles were ratified in and gave most of the power to the individual state legislatures who acted more like individual countries than a union.
This structure left the national Congress weak, with no ability to properly manage federal debt or maintain a national army.
Madison, after undertaking an extensive study of other world governments, came to the conclusion that America needed a strong federal government in order to help regulate the state legislatures and create a better system for raising federal money. He felt the government should be set up with a system of checks and balances so no branch had greater power over the other.
James Madison Essays
Madison also suggested that governors and judges have enhanced roles in government in order to help manage the state legislatures. This plan would form the basis of the U.
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Madison took detailed notes during debates at the convention, which helped to further shape the U. Once the new constitution was written, it needed to be ratified by nine of the 13 states.
This was not an easy process, as many states felt the Constitution gave the federal government too much power. Supporters of the Constitution were known as Federalists, while critics were called Anti-Federalists. Madison played a strong role in the ratification process, and wrote a number of essays outlining his support for the Constitution.
After extensive debate, the U. Constitution was signed by members of the Constitutional Convention in September The document was ratified by the states in and the new government became functional the following year. Madison was elected to the newly formed U.
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House of Representatives , where he served from to In Congress, he worked to draft the Bill of Rights , a group of 10 amendments to the Constitution that spelled out fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and religion held by U. The Bill of Rights was ratified by the states in In the new, more powerful Congress, Madison and Jefferson soon found themselves disagreeing with the Federalists on key issues dealing with federal debt and power.
Madison also had a new development in his personal life: In , after a brief courtship, the year-old Madison married year-old Dolley Payne Todd , an outgoing Quaker widow with one son. Gutzman openly criticizes Madison for his handling of the War of The title of this book is misleading.
While it does focus on Madison, it seems to focus more on the Constitution. Gutzman tends to get bogged down with the ratification process of the Constitution.
Free James Madison Essays and Papers
He does not provide any new information that will advance the historiography. It is not fair to suggest that Madison is not the central actor in the book, yet neither is this quite a biography of his life. Scholars in the field of Virginian or Constitutional history should find this book to be an excellent study. Yet, one question still lingers: is the focus truly about Madison, or is the Constitution and its struggles through the New Nation years the main focus?
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