James Madison Fact File: Lifespan: 1751 - 1836 *** Full Name: James Madison Jr ***Nickname: Father of the Constitution *** Occupation: 4th President of the United States *** Date of Birth: James Madison was born on March 16th 1751 *** Place of Birth: James Madison was born at Belle Grove Plantation near Port Conway in Virginia, America *** Family background: His father was James Madison Sr and his mother was Nelly Conway, James was the eldest of twelve children, with seven brothers and four sisters, five of which did not reach adulthood. His father was a tobacco planter who inherited his family plantation Mount Pleasant in Orange County *** Early life and childhood: He grew up on the family plantation with his parents and remaining siblings *** Education: James Madison was educated between eleven years of age until he was sixteen by Donald Robertson who was an instructor on another plantation who tutored several of the local plantation children ***
James Madison Fact 1: James Madison was born on March 16th 1751 and during the 18th century period in history when France and America both went through revolutions and the Industrial Revolution began in Britain.
James Madison Fact 2: In this period in history, slaves made up the majority of manual workers and their owners, the plantation owners formed the majority of the political hierarchy.
James Madison Fact 3: When he reached sixteen he went on to complete a two year course of education with the Reverend Thomas Martin who would prepare him for entering college and in 1769 he matriculated into the Princeton University.
James Madison Fact 4: It was at college that, as his roommate, he met Philip Freneau, who would become known as “the poet of the Revolution”.
James Madison Fact 5: He would study long and hard on his subjects of Greek, Latin, science, mathematics, geography philosophy and rhetoric and although the lengthy study sessions did little for his health he did nevertheless graduate in 1771.
James Madison Fact 6: Even though he had graduated he remained at Princeton and went on to study Hebrew and political philosophy and later he studied law not to practice but for the public policy knowledge.
James Madison Fact 7: As far as religion was concerned, madison had been educated by Presbyterian clergymen but thereafter he gave no indication in any form of whether he had any personal religious convictions.
James Madison Fact 8: Due to his slight stature and weighing in at only one hundred pounds he was called upon to actively take part during the American Revolution. What he did do however was oversee the local militia and would be commissioned as a colonel in Orange County militia.
James Madison Fact 9: He served the Virginia state legislature during the war and became a protégé of Thomas Jefferson. He would assist Jefferson in drafting the Virginian Statute for Religious Freedom which would be passed in 1786.
James Madison Fact 10: James also became the youngest delegate in 1780 to the Continental Congress and found himself reelected for a second term.
James Madison Fact 11: After the war other nationalist such as Alexander Hamilton and George Washington were fearful that Congress had no power to raise taxes and debts left over after the war were not being repaid. This caused great concern and fear that the union could break down and the country would go into national bankruptcy.
James Madison Fact 12: It was commonly thought that the Article of Confederation would need to be rewritten to fit the social compact and delineate the relationship between the states as well as the national government and the people.
James Madison Fact 13: Having persuaded General Washington to attend a national convention as he was so highly respected, while waiting for the convention to convene madison outlined the Virginian Plan which was just a draft of a potential constitution which once the debate began would be largely changed but would lead madison to be called by many the “Father of the Constitution”.
James Madison Fact 14: Those that supported the Constitutions ratification would become known as the Federalist Party, those that opposed were known as Anti-Federalists.
James Madison Fact 15: In September of 1794 he married Dolley Payne Todd, a young widow with a son, who he would adopt after the marriage. The couple had a happy marriage although marrying a non-Quaker meant Dolley was expelled from the Society of Friends.
James Madison Fact 16: Thomas Jefferson was currently President and a widower himself Dolley often found herself using her skills as a hostess at social functions.
James Madison Fact 17: When Jefferson became President he appointed madison as his Secretary of State but as Jefferson was approaching the end of his second term, the general consensus among party members was for madison to step up. He would be opposed by John Randolph but was chosen over James Monroe and easily beat Federalist Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.
James Madison Fact 18: He won the presidency and was inaugurated in 1809 and he chose he cabinet members for the great good of the national interest as well as political accord.
James Madison Fact 19: Several years into his presidency James madison had no choice other than to enter into the War of 1812 that would continue to two and half years between America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and was intrinsically linked to the Napoleonic Wars.
James Madison Fact 20: On May the 8th of 1822 James Madison died at his home aged ninety three years. His body was laid to rest at Stark Park in Manchester, New Hampshire.
James Madison Fact 21: As Napoleon was being defeated at the Battle of Waterloo so the War of 1812 also due to close and Madison’s final years as President would become peaceful and prosperous. President Madison’s reputation inspired Americans to believe the United States had proven itself a world power in their own right and had finally secured its independence from the United Kingdom.
James Madison Fact 22: By 1817 Madison retired from the Office of the presidency and returned to his home, Montpelier, inherited after his father died some years previously, although in his father’s old age Madison had managed the plantation anyway but his absence had meant the property had suffered under the mismanagement of his stepson. Although he knew his memoirs would bring in an income he refused to allow them to be published until after his demise in order to leave some income for his wife.
James Madison Fact 23: James Madison died at his home on June 28th 1836. His body was laid to rest in the Madison Family Cemetery at Montpelier.
Influence & Legacy: A well-known historian wrote of James Madison – “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.”
Short Facts about James Madison for Kids
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