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#4 James Madison 1809-1817 “The Great Little Madison” Born: March 16, 1751 in Port Conway Virginia Parents: James and Nelly Rose (Conway) Wife: Dorothea (Dolly) Dandridge Children: None, but 2 stepson’s from his wife’s previous marriage. Background Madison was born to a wealthy family of Virginia. His father was a tobacco planter, church official, and local public servant. His mother was the daughter of a wealthy planter. Both of his parents were of English heritage. Both parents were encouraging of James, who was the oldest of 12 children. Montpelier James Madison’s Estate Early Life and Young Adulthood James Madison was a bookish young man, who received his earliest education from a private teacher. While most young Virginia gentlemen of his era went to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Madison went to the College of New Jersey, now Princeton. There he studied Latin, Greek, Mathematics, Philosophy, Rhetoric, Science, and Geography, and graduated at the age of 20! Early Life and Young Adulthood Continued Madison studied Hebrew and Political Philosophy for one year as a graduate student, but returned home for health reasons. While studying law a tremendous amount, Madison is never admitted to the bar, although he practices law as a young man. Madison defends Baptists preachers for practicing without a license, and helps draft the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Marriage Madison married his wife Dolly when he was 43 years old. She was 17 years his junior, and had already been widowed. Dolly had a vivid personality, and was a good hostess. (She even gambled!) By all accounts the marriage was a happy one. Personality Madison was only Five Feet, Four Inches in height, making him the shortest president in history. Madison was very shy, but he did have skill as an orator. He was a bachelor until he was 43, and most thought he would stay one. Political Career 1775 commissioned a colonel in the Orange County Militia, but sees know combat. 1776-1777 Member of the Virginia Legislature. 1777 Elected to Virginia State Council 1778 Member of Executive Council to direct Virginia’s activities in the Revolution. 1780-1783 Member of Continental Congress 1784-1786 Member of Virginia Legislature Political Career Continued 1786-1788 Member of Continental Congress. During this time he attended the Philadelphia Convention, where he proposed the “Virginia Plan”, which was the foundation of the Constitution. During this period, Madison began writing The Federalist essays. 1789-1797 Member of the House of Representatives. He also developed the Bill of Rights, to placate the anti-federalists. Political Career Pt. 3 1799-1800 Returns to Virginia Legislature. 1801-1809 Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson, during which time he helps with the Louisiana Purchase, and backs the disastrous Embargo Act. 1809-1817 President of the United States Presidency Adams had a strange Presidency, in which he, like Jefferson, seemed to contradict his views. His first few years were largely uneventful. He let the First Bank of the United States expire, and vetoed a bill to create a new one in 1815. By the end of the year though, he requested the creation of a new bank, mostly because it was necessary to finance the War of 1812. War of 1812: Madison’s Biggest Challenge In the spring of 1812, Madison decides to end trade with Great Britain. The British begin again the seizing of American ships. On the American frontier, settlers believe the British are arming Indians, and aiding them in attacking homes and farms. War Hawks in congress, led by Henry Clay of Kentucky, and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, urged war against Britain. On June 18th 1812, the U.S. declared war. War of 1812 Continued The War of 1812 lasted from 1812 until 1815, and ended in a stalemate after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. During the war, the United States was invaded for a time by the British, who burned the Capital and the White House. Dolly Madison rescued important paintings and documents from the White House. President Madison was the first and only president to engage in combat when he took command of an artillery battery at the Battle of Bladensburg. Only the British unfounded fears of getting cut off from their supplies stopped the embarrassing invasion War of 1812: Mixed Results Good: Bad: 1. U.S. Independence 1. Washington captured. was ensured. 2. The British blockade of 2. The U.S. military had a the U.S. cost millions few moments of of dollars. success. 3. Over 1,500 U.S. vessels 3. The Indian coalition of were seized. Tecumseh was 4. The New England destroyed. states essentially sat 4. The U.S. lost no out the war, and territory. debated succession. Famous Images of the War of 1812 After the War Madison was forced to accept Hamilton’s arguments for a national bank, a strong standing army and navy, and an efficient taxation system based on tariffs, which all turned out to be necessary. Madison did veto a bill that would provide federal support for internal improvements such as bridges, roads, and canals. Second Barbary War ends tribute payments to Pirates in North Africa Madison’s Legacy Madison is considered to be one of the most important of the Founding Fathers, and was the chief architect of the constitution which has governed the U.S. for well over 200 years. As a president, Madison largely limited the power of the executive branch, as he intended to do, with the exception being his acceptance of the Second Bank of the United States. Madison was not a good wartime president, but the “Era of Good Feelings” that began at the end of his presidency made him popular as he left office. Later Years and Death Madison followed Jefferson as rector of U.VA. He served at the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1829. Madison died at the age of 85, the last Founding Father to die.
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