James Madison (1751-1836)

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James Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 - June 28, 1836), was an American politician and the fourth President of the United States (1809-1817). Considered to be the "Father of the Constitution", he was the principal author of the document.[1] He was the cousin of Bishop James Madison, a president of the College of William and Mary (1777-1812).

As leader in the House of Representatives, Madison worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in 1791, Madison and Thomas Jefferson organized the Democratic-Republican Party in opposition to key policies of the Federalists, especially the national bank and the Jay Treaty. He secretly co-authored, along with Thomas Jefferson, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 to protest the Alien and Sedition Laws. As Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801-1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation's size, and sponsored the ill-fated Embargo Act of 1807. As president, he led the nation into the War of 1812 against Great Britain in order to protect the United States' economic rights.[2]

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

James Madison, Jr. in the SCRC database.


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