Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The American President: #4 James Madison

Please feel free to add anything you want about James Madison

- 4th President of the USA; Born March 16, 1751 in Port conway, VA; Died June 28, 1836 at Montpelier in Virginia

- Two-term President (March 4, 1809 - March 4, 1817)
- Vice Presidents: (George Clinton (1809-1812 - died in office; Elbridge Gerry 1813-1814 - died in office)

- Nickname: Father of the Constitution
- Religion: Episcopalian
- Higher education: College of New Jersey (now Princeton) 1772
- Profession: Politician
- Military service: Colonel, Virginia militia 1775-1776 (not in active service)
-Secretary of State 1801-1809

- Election of 1808 electoral vote: Madison 122; Charles C Pinckney 47; no popular vote
- Election of 1812 electoral vote: Madison 128; DeWitt Clinton 89; no popular vote
-Little known fact about currency and James Madison:

"As of 2009, there are four coins that portray our Fourth President of the United States, James Madison. The coins are 1993 James Madison "Bill of Rights" Half Dollar, Dollar, and Half Eagle, and the 2008 James Madison Presidential Dollar. The 1993 James Madison Half Dollar carry the mint marks of "W" for West Point, and "S" for San Francisco. The 1993 James Madison Dollar carry the mint marks of "D" for Denver, and "S" for San Francisco. The 1993 James Madison Half Eagle carries the "W" mint mark for West Point. The 2008 James Madison Presidential Dollar carries the mint marks of "P" for Philadelphia, "D" for Denver, and "S" for San Francisco."
Even though Thomas Jefferson was a fascinating President during a wonderful and exciting period of history, I found the story of James Madison to be even more intriguing.

Always a sickly person, Madison endured the nation's first foreign invasion and did so with strong conviction.

Madison is well known as one of the authors of the Federalists Papers, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, in which they argued, under the pseudonym Publius, in favor of the newly written Constitution and it is believed that these papers had a strong influence on the founding of our country.

Madison was in government during the 'great compromise' which created both a senate and a house of representatives, a system that survives today. A great site exisits with many of Madison's hand written notes:


When Madison took office in the house of representatives in 1789 he put his efforts into his true passion - the creation of a Bill of Rights. The first ten ammendments were ratified in 1791. These essential rights are the basis of our personal freedoms today, and I suggest you take a moment to read them:

Please note that #1 was never ratified, and #2 only in 1992:


Begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday, the
Fourth of March, One Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty-nine.

The Conventions of a Number of the States having at the Time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a Desire, in Order to prevent Misconstruction or Abuse of its Powers, that further declaratory and restrictive Clauses should be added: And as extending the Ground of public Confidence in the Government will best insure the beneficent Ends of its Institution,
RESOLVED, by the Senate, and House of Representatives, of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, Two Thirds of both Houses concurring, That the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States: All, or any of, which Articles, when ratified by Three-Fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all Intents and Purposes as Part of the said Constitution, viz.

ARTICLES in Addition to, and Amendment of, the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the Fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Article the first [Not Ratified]
After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

Article the second [27th Amendment - Ratified 1992]
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Article the third [1st Amendment]
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article the fourth [2nd Amendment]
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article the fifth [3rd Amendment]
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article the sixth [4th Amendment]
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article the seventh [5th Amendment]
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article the eighth [6th Amendment]
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article the ninth [7th Amendment]
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article the tenth [8th Amendment]
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article the eleventh [9th Amendment]
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article the twelfth [10th Amendment]
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


Madison will probably always be known as the President in charge when foreign enemies invaded and burned to the ground much of Washington DC.
The war of 1812 was primarily a war against the British - with a long back story, the best summary is to say many in America wanted to take some revenge to show strength. The US tried to take Canada for a brief period, only toi find the venture completely implausible. They turned their focus to the Britsh who now were invading.

Known as "Mr. Madison's War" the war of 1812 ended in 1814 with with the Treaty of Ghent, which essentially proposed that nothing would change between the two nations and all would revert back to pre-war conditions.

Of course the Presidential home and Congress had been torched during this time. Madison is said to have been very calm and collected during this time, offering his support to the troops and giving great rallying speeches. It appears Madison was able to take this 'defeat' and look towards how it could benefit the country as it rebuilt.

One last note: Started by Thomas Jefferson but never completed, Madison was able to finally pass laws which would be the basis of our separation of church and state, a matter both men felt very strongly about, and something which still plays a large part of our daily lives.

Forgot one important note:

During his Presidency the Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key (1814) - Most people are not familiar with the full verse

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Thoughts on his inaugural addresses:

March 4th, 1809

I will sum up this first address with a direct quote I feel brings together his speech:

"Indulging no passions which trespass on the rights or the repose of other nations, it has been the true glory of the United States to cultivate peace by observing justice, and to entitle themselves to the respect of the nations at war by fulfilling their neutral obligations with the most scrupulous impartiality. If there be candor in the world, the truth of these assertions will not be questioned; posterity at least will do justice to them."

March 4th, 1813

As expected much of this address involves the War of 1812. Madison states "On the issue of the war are staked our national sovereignty on the high seas and the security of an important class of citizens whose occupations give the proper value to those of every other class. Not to contend for such a stake is to surrender our equality with other powers on the element common to all and to violate the sacred title which every member of the society has to its protection."

Madison rips into the British for several paragraphs as to their handling of war in general. My interpretation of this second address is that Madison gives a speech that rallies the country, that gives them the feelign that they will prevail int he war, but even more importantly, that the war will notbe a long one. I imagine wild cheers from people who heard this or read this.

No comments: