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Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, The Bill of Rights, and the Election That Saved a Nation

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3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  196 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
In 1789, James Madison and James Monroe ran against each other for Congress-the only time that two future presidents have contested a congressional seat.But what was at stake, as author Chris DeRose reveals in Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, the Bill of Rights, and the Election That Saved a Nation, was more than personal ambition. This was a race that determined the f ...more
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Published April 23rd 2012 by Tantor Media (first published November 14th 2011)
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Matt
Nov 30, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
While by no means an expert on the Founding Fathers or the creation of the United States Constitution, I chose to tackle this book to further flesh out the story surrounding the founding of America and the entrenched rules by which it would run. DeRose examines the lives of the two Virginia Jameses, Madison and Monroe, as well as the influential roles they played in the early stages of American independence. This book examines their clashes, teamwork, and the efforts both put into creating what ...more
Tyler
Feb 21, 2016 Tyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was going to rate this book 4 stars, until the final page blew me away.

"These unremarkable epitaphs and modest markers are all that testify, to the living, that great men lie here. For men whose monument is nothing less than the greatest, freest and most prosperous nation in all the history of the world, perhaps nothing more is needed.

Through the choices they made, the hardships they endured, and their tireless struggles, these men won an improbable Revolution, threw off the bonds of the weak
...more
Bill
Feb 04, 2012 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book reveals the long forgotten but significant election that would send James Madison to Congress from Virginia's 5th Congressional district. While I consider myself an amateur student of history this story was unknown by me. It was the first election after the ratification of the Constitution. The author persuasively contends had Madison not won we would not have had the Bill of Rights. His opponent was his good friend, James Monroe. Then a Federalist, Madison had let the effort to secur ...more
Scott Martin
Oct 21, 2015 Scott Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Audiobook). In the books that I have read about the Founding Fathers and the early years of the American nation, I hadn't done a lot of reading about either Madison or Monroe. Both are best known as the 4th and 5th presidents of the US (respectively), but there is much more to each of the men. For Madison in particular, he is arguably America's first true career politician, especially since he did so much to earn the moniker "Father of the Constitution". With Monroe, his route in the pre-Presid ...more
Michael
Feb 19, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Founding Rivals is a super book. The story of the history of the United States was a series of miracles, one after another after another. The country should not be here and wouldn't be but for these miracles.

After the Revolution, the Articles of Confederation were adopted to run the country. Unfortunately (and justifiably) they made the government impotent. It could not collect taxes, could not defend the nation and allowed the states to ignore whatever they didn't agree with. If import duties
...more
Kelly
Oct 02, 2015 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book mainly focused on James Madison rather James Monroe. Both men were fundamental to our country.
James Monroe fought against the British and quickly moved up the ranks. He seemed to love solider life. James Madison was too sickly to join the army but helped out in public government ways. Both men had Thomas Jefferson in common and he urged them to communicate. During the war Madison tried to get Virginia to enlist soliders by paying them in slaves.
Monroe was elected to replace Madison in
...more
Craig Adamson
Feb 14, 2016 Craig Adamson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well done. An enjoyable history book to read, I think even for someone who does not enjoy history. I now have a much better appreciation for both Madison and Monroe's roles in the Revolutionary War and the subsequent creation of our government -especially the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Interesting how these two men could be friends, oppose one another repeatedly, but still remain friends. No doubt there was plenty of personal attacks and mud-slinging that went on in those days. If
...more
Jane
Jan 20, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fills in a major gap in most narratives of US colonial history

Anyone who has read extensively on our founding fathers will want to read and devour DeRose's seminal work. All that we are and have become could have been lost were it not for two men. The obvious is George Washington who was the perfect choice for President under the new Constitution. The less obvious is Madison the principal author of our Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights. How is it that at so many turning points in our co
...more
Jim Blessing
Sep 20, 2012 Jim Blessing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This was a great book mainly about James Madison. It discussed a little known election between Madison and Monroe for Congressman. Madison was THE major player in the creation of our government. Great reading!
Matt
Mar 29, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The period from the end of the American Revolution until the ratification of the Constitution and swearing in of George Washington was always a bit hazy. This certainly cleared things up a bit, and using the relationship between Madison and Monroe to tell it was an inspired choice. Madison represents the federalist, pro-constitution faction, and Monroe the anti-federalist insistent that a Bill of Rights was the only way to keep the new government in check. After all the constitutional convention ...more
Heather
Dec 26, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
While I know a lot about James Madison, I know comparatively virtually nothing about James Monroe prior to his presidency. In Founding Rivals, DeRose takes a look at these two figures in the lead up to their presidencies and how they truly became rivals in politics. These two men were Founding Fathers of the Constitution and the formation of the early government of the United States.

These men were not always rivals; early on they were colleagues until their political ideologies began to differ.
...more
Bruce
May 29, 2013 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-history, politics
These two men can be considered founding fathers, both having served in the Revolutionary War, the Confederation Congress, in the First US Congress (one a Senator the other a Representative) and as Presidents (Madison as the 4th, Monroe as the 5th). They remained close friends for much of their lives in spite of running against each other in a gerrymandered district which strongly favored Monroe.
Both felt the government under the Articles of Confederation needed strengthening. Madison was motiva
...more
Stephen
Jan 30, 2016 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In these days of contentious politics, where adversaries rip into one another with all the grace of beasts, Chris DeRose's Founding Rivals is downright heartening. It is the story of a friendship born of revolution and the struggle to create a more perfect union, a friendship which helped define that union...and one which persevered even as the two friends found themselves running against one another for the same seat in the first Congress of the United States.

Madison and Monroe's names stand ta
...more
Judy
Sep 20, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are pivotal moments in history that have shaped our present times. It is a shame when these moments become obscure and unknown to most of us. This book brilliantly explains the events leading up to and including such a moment. Does The Constitution continue or does it die as the previous, insufficient Articles of Confederation did before it? It all comes down to one election fought between two men who shared a life-long friendship and maintained that friendship although they had become pol ...more
Dale
Feb 09, 2012 Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A refreshing perspective on the Founding Fathers

Published 2011 by Regnery History

I am an avid reader of American history and one of my favorite areas to study is the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers. There is no shortage of books about the build up to the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War and Washington, Jefferson and Adams (as of late) but there is a real scarcity of books about the difficulties experienced by the Articles of Confederation government and the debates
...more
Tom
Oct 24, 2014 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though more like a doctorate dissertation than a piece of marketable historical non-fiction, De Rose's research is impeccable...and a bit exhausting. That and his obvious religious sympathy and endless nationalistic cheerleading (AINT we just the epitome of...well Everything!!!) are wearing and mar what is impressive scholarship and solid prose. I learned a great deal but, no, I didn't enjoy it.
Daniel Ziegelbauer
This is an excellent book which confirms the truth behind the saying that "there is no history, just biography" in that it exhibits the important events surrounding and lived by these two great subjects of history. Revealing details not covered in the many books I have read about Monroe and Madison kept things fresh and interesting while also generating thought about the importance of character that sometimes seems forgotten in the modern era. I highly recommend this book but perhaps not to some ...more
Norman McLaughlin
Very interesting story

It is hard to imagine how the United States would've turned out without the passage of the Bill of Rights and amazing to realize how close the original States came to fracturing even after the Constitution was ratified. A must read if you are into founding American history.
Shawn
Aug 31, 2014 Shawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent book that touches briefly on the lives of Madison and Monroe. It doesn't go into much depth or detail. But it is a good start for anyone wanting a brief overview over the ratification of the Constitution and the desire for a bill of rights.
Richard
I loved having that time period of the US under the articles of confederation covered, I felt the book really didn't cover the actual election well. also, at times the narrative was a bit tough to follow.
Robert Morrow
Jun 09, 2012 Robert Morrow rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book might have value for junior high school students if the author would restrain his tendencies towards excessive melodrama and patriotic worship of the Founding Fathers and adopt a more objective approach to his subject. The "election that saved a nation" is only one example of his tendency to exaggerate and oversell what is not a particularly interesting or insightful narrative. The principals come across with less depth than the average comic book character and the retelling of the eve ...more
Stephen
Mar 02, 2015 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Read

A lot of info I never knew. While only a few pages pertain to the actual election...the history of the young republic was superb.
Curtiss Matlock
I find things I learned in this book helps me to have a bit different view of the country today. I doubt we have ever had since that time such strong and forceful men as began our country, yet they had their weaknesses, too. I doubt it was the author's intention, but I rather blame James Madison for the strength of the central government. I find myself in the camp of the other side, who believed the danger too great to give the government the power to levy taxes as it eventually got.

The book en
...more
David
Feb 11, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read .... well done.
Lyle A
Jul 28, 2012 Lyle A rated it really liked it
This book was quite interesting despite the reader - I just could not get into his half whispers and fake inflections. The information provided gave me an insight into the Federalist and the Anti-Federalists. Considering when this took place I would have seen myself as and Anti-Federalist - even today - I realize that they had foreseen the problems we have today in the overreaching of the government.
Renee
Mar 29, 2013 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now one of my favorites. This book is really well written and quite easy to read. Does a great job of weaving the lives of two friends turned political rivals: James Madison and James Monroe. Good mix of general biography with a great educational slant: you learn what each thought of the Constitution and in hindsight, get to judge who was right. If you like American History, don't miss this book!
Lauren Albert
An excellent look at the political struggles behind the fight for and against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The author waxes a bit too enthusiastic at times--but he is a political strategist not a professional historian. This gives him a unique perspective and adds to the interest of the book because he has a strong understanding of how politics worked then and works now.
Jon
Dec 24, 2011 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of book about the founding, the Founders, and this one is very good. Then author writes well, and describes the activities of Madison and Monroe contemporaneously with each other. The author also captured some new thoughts and ideas about these two and the founding that I hadn't considered before. A definate must read.
Bob Price
Apr 11, 2012 Bob Price rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book details the events of a unique Congressional election...the only time in American history when two future Presidents would face off against each other.

The writer writes a fast paced narrative that keeps the pages turning. Highly recommended for people with an interest in history.

Matt
Jan 24, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, comprehensive history of the U.S. from the 1750s to 1790s including the Revolutionary war, Articles of Confederation, Constitution and Bill of Rights. I would recommend this book to history buffs and people interested in the principles behind the construction of the U.S. government.
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“Perhaps modern esteem for these figures serves as a reminder that, though statesmen may have to struggle mightily to advance their cause, and though they may lose on an issue or come out on the wrong side in the judgment of history, their principled determination is sufficient to win them a place in people's hearts, long after they are gone.” 1 likes
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