President James Madison
Georgia Military College
30 August 2014
President James Madison was born March 16, 1751 in Port Conway, Virginia. James Madison was the 4th president and also known as one of the founding fathers of our great nation. James Madison’s father, James Madison Sr., acquired his wealth through inheritance and also by his marriage to Nelly Conway, the daughter of a wealthy tobacco merchant. Surrounded by seven younger siblings who looked up to him, James Madison read a pleather of books and took up an interest in classical languages. By the time James Madison started at the College of New Jersey, which later became Princeton University, James Madison had conquered Latin and Greek. He completed his college courses in two years but stayed on at the College of New Jersey for another semester to tackle philosophy and Hebrew. At Montpelier in 1772, Madison studied law at home but he did not have a passion for it. In 1774, he took a seat on the local Committee of Safety, a group that oversaw the local military. This was the first step in a life of public service that his family's wealth allowed him to pursue.
At the age of twenty-nine, James Madison became the youngest member of the Continental Congress, and within a year, James Madison had emerged as a respected leader of the body. It was because of his hard work and understanding of the issues. No one ever came more prepared than Madison. For three years, he argued strongly for legislation to strengthen the loose confederacy of former colonies, contending that military victory required vesting power in a central government. Most of his appeals were beaten down by independent-minded delegates who feared the emergence of a monarchical authority after the war. Along with Jefferson, the young Virginian persuaded his home state to give up its western lands, which extended to the Mississippi River. After this James Madison returned to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1784, Madison battled Patrick Henry who attempted to tax citizens in support of the Christian religion. Henry, though a strong supporter of independence, nevertheless believed in state support of religion. One of the proposed laws that fell victim to Madison's relentless pressure were those designed to establish religious tests for public office and to criminalize heresy, though this later measure was not one that Henry supported.
James Madison believed that the Article of Confederation made the new Republic open to foreign attack and turmoil. So James Madison convinced John Taylor to call for a meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, to address problems of commerce among the states. Madison led the Virginia delegation to the Philadelphia meeting, which began on May 14, 1787. They supported General George Washington. When Washington accepted, the body achieved the moral authority it needed to draft a new constitution for the nation. In the upcoming weeks, Madison emerged as the leader of the forces supporting a strong central government. His Virginia Plan, submitted by Delegate Edmund Randolph, who was then governor of Virginia, became the blueprint for the Constitution that eventually emerged. Its major features included a bicameral national legislature with the lower house directly elected by the people, an executive chosen by the legislature, and an independent judiciary including a Supreme Court. James Madison extensive notes, which are the best source of information available of the closed-door meetings, detailed the proceedings and his activist role in shaping the outcome. By September 1787, Madison had emerged from the Constitutional Convention as the most impressive and persuasive person who wanted a new constitution, he would eventually earn the title "Father of the Constitution."
In achieving ratification, Madison confronted his old opponent Patrick Henry, who wanted to keep Madison from gaining a seat in the newly created U.S. Senate. Patrick Henry...
Cited: James Madison - People - Department History - Office of the Historian. (n.d.). Retrieved
Miller Center. (n.d.). American President: James Madison.
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Papers of James Madison, University of Virginia. (n.d.).
Retrieved from http://www.virginia.edu/pjm/oped-stagg.htm
Stagg., J.C.A. Mr. Madison’s War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783-1830. Princeton: Princeton University Press,
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