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Available for the first time in paperback, James Madison: The Founding Father is a lively portrait of the man who essentially fathered our constitutional guarantees of civil and religious liberty. Focusing on the role Madison played at the Continental Congress and in each stage of the formation of the American Republic, Robert Allen Rutland also covers Madison's relationshAvailable for the first time in paperback, James Madison: The Founding Father is a lively portrait of the man who essentially fathered our constitutional guarantees of civil and religious liberty. Focusing on the role Madison played at the Continental Congress and in each stage of the formation of the American Republic, Robert Allen Rutland also covers Madison's relationship with his beloved wife, Dolley, his fifty-year friendship with Thomas Jefferson, and his years as a respected elder statesman after serving as secretary of state and fourth president of the United States....

Title : James Madison: The Founding Father
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ISBN : 9780826211415
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 312 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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James Madison: The Founding Father Reviews

  • Jeremy Perron
    2018-12-26 01:00

    Although my personnel favorite Founding Father is Alexander Hamilton, I find it very hard not to like James Madison. The title of this book declares Madison to be the Founding Father, now I do not think that is fair to the others but he is arguably one of the most important. Although not very relevant during the battles for independence itself, Madison was involved in the nation's affairs since the beginning. He was active from his election to state legislature in 1776 to his battles, as a former president, with the nullifiers in the 1830s. Madison's footprint can be seen it almost every major event of his life. Rutland's story begins with James Madison in New York, prepared to begin working on The Federalist Papers before switching back to the American Revolution. Madison's first bid for pubic office fails but his eventually elected in 1776 to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates, his physically illnesses prevented from taking a military role but he would dedicate his time as a political actor supporting the cause of independence. He was known as Thomas Jefferson's protégé and would often do battle with Patrick Henry over freedom of religion. Madison would be elected, by the Virginia state legislature, to serve as a member of the Confederation Congress. There he would earn a larger reputation of coalition building, and someone who could get things done. After the war, Madison, like others, was horrified at the weakness of the Articles of Confederation. Meeting at Mount Vernon, with Washington and others, they tried to devise a plan to save the Union. After Shay's Rebellion, it was obvious that change was necessary. When the Constitutional Convention was called for in Philadelphia, Madison played such a large role, that he would be regarded as the `Father of the Constitution'. Writing the Constitution was one thing, getting it approved was another. Forming and alliance with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, they began writing The Federalist Papers. They all took the pen name `Publius' and from there, they attacked the Anti-Federalist position with utter brilliance. "Madison's first contribution became his masterpiece. All of the twenty-nine manuscripts Madison wrote for the series have been lost, so there is no telling how many times he drafted The Federalist #10 or any other essay. He had used the language of #10 before, and at the Philadelphia convention. Hamilton himself had spoken of `separate interests [that] will arise. There will be debtors & Creditors &c.' Thus the essay was an amalgam of ideas then current among the men who read David Hume, Adam Smith, and other writers of the so-called Scottish Enlightenment. Madison gave an American twist to his distillation, as historian Douglass Adair later discerned. Perhaps Madison took Hume too literally--`the same causes always produce the same effects'--but he was trying to disprove Montesquieu's axiom that that a republican government could not operate effectively in a large geographical area. Hence the reverse judgment in The Federalist #10, that all systems of government for an `extended republic' a republican form was best. Factions had caused the downfall of past republics, small and large, and Madison defended the Constitution as a means of declawing factions while preserving order." p.30-1 When the Constitution was passed, James Madison was elected to the United States House of Representatives where he would serve from 1789-1797. He would pen the Bill of Rights that later became the first ten amendments to the Constitution. He would also draft, for President Washington, the President's first address to the Congress and Congress's response. "When Madison seemed about to denounce slavery as a cancer in the nation's body politic requiring drastic surgery, he was called up short by fellow Southerners. Raised eyebrows in the South Carolina and Georgia delegations, as well as among his Virginia colleagues, forced Madison to tread softly. Like most of his southern friends who detested slavery in the abstract but enjoyed the fruits of slave labor in their own backyards, Madison was reluctant to do battle on the slavery issue. Besides, that 1808 ban on slave trade, written into the Constitution promised a healthy change within two decades. If a citizen wanted to believe that the slavery problem would melt away in a decade of so, all they had to do was point to the Constitution and its shimmering `1808 clause' that implied all kinds of restrictions on the abominable human traffic. It remained a secret whether Madison believed that clause represented some kind of indelible pledge or simply was one way of avoiding a frightening problem." p.70 It was during this time that he fell in love with and married Dolley Payne Todd. Although they would have no children together, they would be one of the greatest couples that the capital of the United States had ever scene. However, Congressman Madison soon found himself leading an opposition against the Washington Administration, because he felt that Alexander Hamilton's programs gave to much power to the Federal government. Locking horns with the President and his cabinet, Madison would focus his energies getting the former Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, elected president over Vice President John Adams in 1796. They failed and Adams was elected, but Jefferson was elected to be the vice president. Madison's in-between office holding years were spent writing political propaganda against the Adams Administration. He would, in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts co-author, to his later regret, the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. States-rights advocates would take up these resolutions, falsely, as proof of nullification. In 1800, Jefferson won the presidential election, although the election would fall to the House of Representatives due to the actions of the eventual vice president, Aaron Burr. When Jefferson became the third President of the United States, he appointed Madison the new Secretary of State. In this position, Madison soared. The Jefferson Administration was able to purchase the entire Louisiana Territory from Napoleon's France. Madison also had some unintended success in the decision Mayberry v. Madison where Jefferson and Madison technically `won' but the Supreme Court secured the power of judicial review. In a major difference on Constitutional law, Jefferson thought the Supreme Court's newly secured power was bad, but Madison actually liked the idea. The Embargo Act of 1807, crippled the economy, and gave a soar taste for last year of the Jefferson Administration. Nevertheless, James Madison was able to secure the presidential nomination and, in 1808, was elected president defeating Charles C. Pinckney. His presidency was a mixed legacy; the United States got itself into a war it did not handle very well. Madison had abolished the National Bank* only to have that action undermine the war effort. They had to then re-establish the National Bank in the middle of a war. The capital was lost, and White House and Capitol destroyed**. Also, there was an adverted succession crisis considering that both Madison's vice presidents died before the end of their term. Although, Baltimore was held and Generals Jackson and Harrison had been able to defeat most of the British Native American allies in the South and West, the war was not his proudest moment. After the war was over, there was a general feeling that America had won its independence again. This made Madison really popular, and in 1816, Madison's chosen successor, James Monroe, was elected to succeed him. "America was now a nation. Further negotiations with England would be necessary to settle unmarked boundary lines, but British diplomats treated their American cousins far differently after the Battle of New Orleans. The humiliating tribute paid to the Dey of Algiers came to an explosive end when the American navy pounded the Barbary Coast so thoroughly that the once arrogant ruler sued for peace. America had no direct interest in the Congress of Vienna that met in 1815, but the accords reached there prevented another outbreak like the Napoleonic wars and postponed for a century further quarrels over the American claim that `free ships make free goods.' Then another Princeton graduate in the White House would revive Madison's main argument for neutral rights." p.233 In the twilight years of his life, Madison would come out of his retirement to do battle with the nullifiers. The nullifers were those who wanted to impose state sovereignty over the Constitution of the United States. Madison would spend the rest of his days writing articles against them. This Madison biography delves into some of the most interesting details in the life of James Madison. Rutland does a good job explaining to the reader what is going in each of these chapters. The narrative flows smoothly enough to be enjoyed all readers. *Something Jefferson himself decided not to do. **Dolley Madison earning some fame here saving irreplaceable national treasures.

  • Mona
    2019-01-12 22:39

    TITLE: James Madison: The Founding FatherWHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK: I am trying to read a book about every US PresidentREVIEW: I did not know a lot about this president. Mainly that he was a founding father and had links to Jefferson. This book recounts mainly his time after the American Revolution and before his presidency. There is a little bit about his presidency but it is about 1/8 of the book. A lot about his being the architect of the Federalist Papers, which I really need to read. Then his switch from a Federalist to a Democratic Republican. I liked this president after reading about him. He was smart and principled. He made sure that he did not profit in any way from his public offices. He died broke/or nearly broke, but not like Jefferson because he was extravagant in his spending but because he was often helping others. He just seemed like a principled but reasonable fella who knew when to compromise and when not to. Of the first 4 presidents here is my ranking in terms of liking them generally: Madison, Adams, Washington, Jefferson.

  • Greg
    2019-01-14 01:39

    This was a good primer on Madison and the events that make up the founding of the United States of America. I am inspired by Madison's dream of a free country nurtured and supported by active and educated citizens. It is remarkable the level of detail, force of energy, and length of endurance Madison gave in his lifetime to making this dream a reality. I think the author's claim of Madison being THE founding father is not far from the truth in that Madison largely drafted both the constitution and the bill of rights as well as negotiated and shepherded this incredible documents through layers of difficulty. He was not without his weaknesses but I will be forever grateful for his strengths.

  • Keith Hall
    2018-12-27 06:48

    The language is this read was difficult at times and I found myself rereading many sentences. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I give it at least 3.5 stars but I cannot do that here.

  • Nick Dupree
    2018-12-27 03:54

    This 1987 book is an excellent primer on Madison, focusing on his role as founding father and principle author and advocate of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It's long enough to give us thorough coverage of Madison's life, but brief enough for general audiences seeking a quick overview. Madison's achievements were awesome, especially when you realize that he was the class nerd of the founding generation, not the star quarterback (Washington) or stand-out writer/debate team leader (Jefferson). Madison's ideas are amazing...well, except for his idea for ending slavery, which focused on deporting millions of slaves back to Africa, or the Caribbean, or anywhere that would allow them. But he realized before his death the unfeasibility of "colonization," and at least he wanted an end-point for slavery, and didn't lapse into pro-slave-power rhetoric the way his lifelong bro, Jefferson, did....Madison fought hard but lost on two big constitutional pieces during the constitutional convention: 1) he wanted both houses of Congress to be proportioned by population, thinking the prospect of Rhode Island having equal representation (two Senators) with Virginia or New York (the most populous states at the time) was undemocratic and absurd 2) he wanted a Council of Revision that would supervise laws created by the 13 states and veto if needed. The absence of this power to strike down unconstitutional legislation coming from states galled him the most, and he was concerned it could doom the union if states' laws conflicted with the federal government. The fact that the Supreme Court would later give itself the power to strike down unconstitutional legislation wasn't foreseen. Great overview of the author of so many of the laws and principles of the founding generation.

  • Mark
    2019-01-01 00:58

    Yes, I'm a history junkie (my kids call me a history nerd). I'm on a quest to read a biography on each president, in order. I doubt I'll make it, but we'll see. For some reason people don't view Madison on the same level as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, etc. He should be, since he's largely responsible for the Constitution and Bill of Rights, was champion for religious freedom, and basically created the Republican Party with Jefferson, which ultimately morphed into the Democratic Party as we know it. Upon finishing this book, I've gained quite a bit of knowledge on our 4th President. JFK considered him to be our most underrated president, and I tend to agree, although his greatest accomplishments occurred during his time in the House as a legislator. This is mostly a political biography that covers his chief public years (mostly 1787-1816). If you're looking for a more personal biography, look elsewhere.

  • David Miller
    2019-01-01 04:43

    I normally try to read about a hundred pages of a book in a day. With this book, I struggled to get through the first fifty. I wondered at first if my powers of concentration were abandoning me. When my concentration toward other books proved unaffected, I had to face the fact that this book is pretty damn boring.It's not terrible. It's just inconsequential and undistinguished. A case in point is how little effort the author makes in supporting the book's subtitle, THE FOUNDING FATHER. Madison was undeniably an important political figure, but his contributions as enumerated in this book never add up to paramount importance, especially when stacked against his various errors and failures.The narrative is unsatisfying: early chapters detail Madison's personal enmity with Alexander Hamilton, but Hamilton's death is (as memory serves) entirely unremarked upon. There's a lot of figures and quotes and a few good insights, but the story in this history is just lamely told.

  • Nathan
    2019-01-02 03:53

    A blandly utilitarian account of Madison's political career, premised on the broadest and most unengaging interpretation of his character. Madison here is cast as a Jeffersonian individualist, but only in the roughest brushtrokes: his concerns for democracy, for liberty and the freedom of individual conscience are conveyed through dense and mazy treatments of arcane legislature, his humanity sketchily referenced in patchy anecdotes of his personal life. The whole book feels scanty: there is not enough of a thesis to sustain a book of any weight, and Rutland barely tries.I'd like to at least give this volume credit as a convenient once-over of Madison's life, but its boring and illucid style make even that difficult. A waste of time

  • Kohl Gill
    2019-01-03 04:58

    I really enjoyed listening to this book. I had to rewind at some parts, during discussions of deciding moments of the constitutional debate, various early-nation crises, and the War of 1812. The book achieved its goal: I appreciate Madison's role in defining our country much more now. I also now have a grudge against Hamilton and his band of Federalists. The echoes of then-Treasury Secretary Hamilton's exploits, benefiting his friends who speculated on the national currency, reverberate to this day.I liked learning about Madison's foibles, too, such as that he would never use three words where five would do.

  • Michael Taylor
    2019-01-04 06:49

    An extremely readable and interesting account of James Madison as Founding Father. This book is not a comprehensive biography, rather a look at Madison as constitution maker and politician.If you are interested in this portion of Madison's life or would like an introduction to James Madison, the politician, then this book would be a superb choice!

  • Ross
    2019-01-14 01:03

    This is biography and history written for the lay reader, but it is quite scholarly in tone and content. I have read a great deal about the founding fathers, but still found new and interesting material in this work. He makes a good case that Madison was "the" founding father, and almost succeeds.

  • Tony
    2019-01-11 05:53

    Not a bad biography. Rutland focuses on Madison's well-documented public work and less on his personality. He has a firm grasp of Madison's papers.But if you're looking for juicy details, you'll need to find another book.

  • Tevvy
    2019-01-01 03:47

    Probably my last favorite of the president biographies I've read so far, but hey I'm only on the 4th one! And it was pretty interesting still.

  • Sean
    2019-01-15 22:52

    Madison never seems to get any love, taking a back seat to superstars like Washington, Jefferson and Adams. But nice to remember how instrumental he was in shaping our country.

  • K.C.
    2019-01-21 05:46


  • Sario Lawrence
    2019-01-13 05:55

    This book killed me. Torture to read and I retained nothing. Anyone have a better recommendation for a book about Madison?

  • Richard
    2019-01-03 02:03

    A good relatively short biography of a patriot and diplomat who was perhaps over his head as president.

  • Jim Johnson
    2019-01-08 04:57

    Insightful but a little dry.