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Bentley | 22987 comments James Madison

At his inauguration, James Madison, a small, wizened man, appeared old and worn; Washington Irving described him as "but a withered little apple-John." But whatever his deficiencies in charm, Madison's buxom wife Dolley compensated for them with her warmth and gaiety. She was the toast of Washington.

Born in 1751, Madison was brought up in Orange County, Virginia, and attended Princeton (then called the College of New Jersey). A student of history and government, well-read in law, he participated in the framing of the Virginia Constitution in 1776, served in the Continental Congress, and was a leader in the Virginia Assembly.

When delegates to the Constitutional Convention assembled at Philadelphia, the 36-year-old Madison took frequent and emphatic part in the debates.

Madison made a major contribution to the ratification of the Constitution by writing, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the Federalist essays. In later years, when he was referred to as the "Father of the Constitution," Madison protested that the document was not "the off-spring of a single brain," but "the work of many heads and many hands."

In Congress, he helped frame the Bill of Rights and enact the first revenue legislation. Out of his leadership in opposition to Hamilton's financial proposals, which he felt would unduly bestow wealth and power upon northern financiers, came the development of the Republican, or Jeffersonian, Party.

As President Jefferson's Secretary of State, Madison protested to warring France and Britain that their seizure of American ships was contrary to international law. The protests, John Randolph acidly commented, had the effect of "a shilling pamphlet hurled against eight hundred ships of war."

Despite the unpopular Embargo Act of 1807, which did not make the belligerent nations change their ways but did cause a depression in the United States, Madison was elected President in 1808. Before he took office the Embargo Act was repealed.

During the first year of Madison's Administration, the United States prohibited trade with both Britain and France; then in May, 1810, Congress authorized trade with both, directing the President, if either would accept America's view of neutral rights, to forbid trade with the other nation.

Napoleon pretended to comply. Late in 1810, Madison proclaimed non-intercourse with Great Britain. In Congress a young group including Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, the "War Hawks," pressed the President for a more militant policy.

The British impressment of American seamen and the seizure of cargoes impelled Madison to give in to the pressure. On June 1, 1812, he asked Congress to declare war.

The young Nation was not prepared to fight; its forces took a severe trouncing. The British entered Washington and set fire to the White House and the Capitol.

But a few notable naval and military victories, climaxed by Gen. Andrew Jackson's triumph at New Orleans, convinced Americans that the War of 1812 had been gloriously successful. An upsurge of nationalism resulted. The New England Federalists who had opposed the war--and who had even talked secession--were so thoroughly repudiated that Federalism disappeared as a national party.

In retirement at Montpelier, his estate in Orange County, Virginia, Madison spoke out against the disruptive states' rights influences that by the 1830's threatened to shatter the Federal Union. In a note opened after his death in 1836, he stated, "The advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my convictions is that the Union of the States be cherished and perpetuated."

Source: The White House Biography

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Bentley | 22987 comments THE FIRST LADY: DOLLEY MADISON:

Dolley Payne Todd Madison

For half a century she was the most important woman in the social circles of America. To this day she remains one of the best known and best loved ladies of the White House--though often referred to, mistakenly, as Dorothy or Dorothea.

She always called herself Dolley, and by that name the New Garden Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends, in Piedmont, North Carolina, recorded her birth to John and Mary Coles Payne, settlers from Virginia. In 1769 John Payne took his family back to his home colony, and in 1783 he moved them to Philadelphia, city of the Quakers. Dolley grew up in the strict discipline of the Society, but nothing muted her happy personality and her warm heart.

John Todd, Jr., a lawyer, exchanged marriage vows with Dolley in 1790. Just three years later he died in a yellow-fever epidemic, leaving his wife with a small son.

By this time Philadelphia had become the capital city. With her charm and her laughing blue eyes, fair skin, and black curls, the young widow attracted distinguished attention. Before long Dolley was reporting to her best friend that "the great little Madison has see me this evening."

Although Representative James Madison of Virginia was 17 years her senior, and Episcopalian in background, they were married in September 1794. The marriage, though childless, was notably happy; "our hearts understand each other," she assured him. He could even be patient with Dolley's son, Payne, who mishandled his own affairs--and, eventually, mismanaged Madison's estate.

Discarding the somber Quaker dress after her second marriage, Dolley chose the finest of fashions. Margaret Bayard Smith, chronicler of early Washington social life, wrote: "She looked a Queen...It would be absolutely impossiblefor any one to behave with more perfect propriety than she did."

Blessed with a desire to please and a willingness to be pleased, Dolley made her home the center of society when Madison began, in 1801, his eight years as Jefferson's Secretary of State. She assisted at the White House when the President asked her help in receiving ladies, and presided at the first inaugural ball in Washington when her husband became Chief Executive in 1809.

Dolley's social graces made her famous. Her political acumen, prized by her husband, is less renowned, though her gracious tact smoothed many a quarrel. Hostile statesmen, difficult envoys from Spain or Tunisia, warrior chiefs from the west, flustered youngsters--she always welcomed everyone. Forced to flee from the White House by a British army during the War of 1812, she returned to find the mansion in ruins. Undaunted by temporary quarters, she entertained as skillfully as ever.

At their plantation Montpelier in Virginia, the Madisons lived in pleasant retirement until he died in 1836. She returned to the capital in the autumn of 1837, and friends found tactful ways to supplement her diminished income. She remained in Washington until her death in 1849, honored and loved by all. The delightful personality of this unusual woman is a cherished part of her country's history.

Source: The White House Biography

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Bentley | 22987 comments Wikiipedia:

Biographical Directory of the US Congress:

American President - Miller Center of Public Affairs:

Web Guides - The Library of Congress:

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Bentley | 22987 comments American Presidents:

James Madison Quotes:

The James Madison Papers at the Library of Congress:

The On Line Library of Liberty - James Madison's Writings:

The Avalon Project - Papers of James Madison:

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Bentley | 22987 comments Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments by James Madison - 1785


Will of James Madison:

Works by James Madison - Project Gutenberg:

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Bentley | 22987 comments The James Madison Museum

James Madison's Montpelier

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Bentley | 22987 comments Alumni Who Changed America (Princeton)

James Madison's Letters

James Madison and the Social Utility of Religion:
Risks vs. Rewards:

by James Hutson, Library of Congress

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Bentley | 22987 comments Google Books: James Madison:

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Bentley | 22987 comments University of Virginia: Papers of James Madison:

The United States Mint:$...

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Bentley | 22987 comments Google: James Madison a Biography:

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Bentley | 22987 comments Selected Works of James Madison and his debates:

James Madison Center for Free Speech:

Audio (Youtube):

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Bentley | 22987 comments The Constitution: A Dialogue with Madison & Mason
A Re-Enactment

James Madison - I and II (A Re-enactment)

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Bentley | 22987 comments James Madison Gravesite:

Life Portrait of James Madison - C-Span (Video)

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments I read this good one-volume history:
James Madison  A BiographyRalph Ketcham

Others I heard about:
James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic (Library of American Biography Series) (3rd Edition) (Library of American Biography)Jack Rakove

The Sacred Fire of Liberty  James Madison and the Founding of the Federal RepublicLance Banning

James Madison  The Founding FatherRobert Allen Rutland

James Madison  Writings  Writings 1772-1836 (Library of America) James Madison

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Bentley | 22987 comments Madison seems to have hit a motherlode in terms of books written about him. I think he probably has as many written about him as Jefferson. And we always hear about his wife too in very favorable terms as being most popular and well received in social circles and being most gracious.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments A new dual biography:

Madison and Jefferson by Andrew Burstein

“[A] satisfyingly rich dual biography [that] promotes Madison from junior partner to full-fledged colleague of the 'more magnetic' Jefferson…An important, thoughtful, and gracefully written political history from the viewpoint of the young nation's two most intellectual founding fathers.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Bentley | 22987 comments This is a great presentation by Chief Justice Roberts at the Federalist Society in honor of Barbara Olson. As you are all aware, The Federalist Society has specific conservative views; which is fine. I only mention this because some of the lectures should still be viewed because they are quite excellent and informative even if The Federalist Society does not support your viewpoints. Their speakers are quite excellent and worthwhile nonetheless. It is an opportunity to hear Justice Scalia, Alito, and Roberts and gain some perspective on their views outside of the Supreme Court.

Here is a link to The Federalist Society for those interested in learning more about this organization:

The Federalist Society looks to Federalist Paper Number 78 for an articulation of the virtue of judicial restraint, as written by Alexander Hamilton: "It can be of no weight to say that the courts, on the pretense of a repugnancy, may substitute their own pleasure to the constitutional intentions of the legislature.... The courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise WILL instead of JUDGMENT, the consequence would equally be the substitution of their pleasure to that of the legislative body."

Its logo is a silhouette of former President and Constitution author James Madison, who co-wrote the Federalist Papers.

Commissioner Paul S. Atkins of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission considered Federalist Society members "the heirs of James Madison's legacy" in a speech he gave in January 2008 to the Federalist Society Lawyers' Chapter of Dallas, Texas. Madison is generally credited as the father of the Constitution and became the fourth President of the United States.

The Society's name is said to have been based on the 18th-century Federalist Party; however, James Madison associated with Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican Party in opposition to Federalist Party policies borne from a loose interpretation of the Commerce Clause.

The Federalist Society's views are more associated with the general meaning of Federalism (particularly the New Federalism) and the content of the Federalist Papers than with the later Federalist Party.

The Federalist Society is funded by member dues and by grants, many from conservative organizations.

The society was begun by a group including Edwin Meese, Robert Bork, Theodore Olson, David M. McIntosh, and Steven Calabresi, and its members have included Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, John G. Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Here is the entire wikipedia article:

Subject of the Presentation:

Now the subject of the presentation which was given by Chief Justice Roberts focused on President James Madison, former President Thomas Jefferson at that time, the Supreme Court and Madison's appointees, the trials and tribulations with his set of appointees, some wonderful and humorous stories about Jefferson as Marshall called him: "the great lama of the mountain", Chief Justice Marshall and his relationship with Jefferson, the Federalist Papers, Fletcher vs. Peck, Justice Duval, Justice Storey, and the Legacy of the Marshall Court.

Here is the link to this wonderful speech:

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Thanks Bentley for the post. I always enjoy a Supreme Court Justice talking about his/her institution. It makes it fascinating. Many Madison biographies don't cover a lot on this topic.

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Bentley | 22987 comments I agree and this presentation was certainly top notch. I wonder why many Madison biographies do not cover these topics; they are frightfully interesting.

Heather (dolleygurl) | 27 comments Bentley wrote: "A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison

A Perfect Union  Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American NationCatherine Allgor"

I recently read this book and thought that it did a great job of laying out just how involved in Madison's politics and campaigns Dolley was. It made me admire her more and actually prompted me to select a topic on First Ladies and politics for a research project for my Masters degree.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Outstanding, Heather. I picked this book up at Montpelier.

A Perfect Union  Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American NationCatherine Allgor

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Heather (dolleygurl) | 27 comments Bryan wrote: "Outstanding, Heather. I picked this book up at Montpelier.

I'm actually hoping to be able to spend a day at Montpelier when I travel to Virginia this upcoming summer. Can't wait!

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Awesome, Heather. You will not be disappointed.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments A new book on the Madisons and the War of 1812:

Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War  America's First Couple and the Second War of IndependenceHugh Howard

Dressed in black, James Madison mourns the nation's loss. Smoke rises from the ruin of the Capitol before him; a mile away stands the blackened shell of the White House. The British have laid waste to Washington City, and as Mr. Madison gazes at the terrible vista, he ponders the future-his country's defeat or victory-in a war he began over the unanimous objections of his political adversaries. As we approach its bicentennial, the War of 1812 remains the least understood of America's wars. To some it was a conflict that resolved nothing, but to others, it was our second war of independence, settling once and for all that America would never again submit to Britain. At its center was James Madison-our most meditative of presidents, yet the first one to declare war. And at his side was the extraordinary Dolley, who defined the role of first lady for all to follow, and who would prove perhaps her husband's most indispensable ally.

In this powerful new work, drawing on countless primary sources, acclaimed historian Hugh Howard presents a gripping account of the conflict as James and Dolley Madison experienced it. Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War rediscovers a conflict fought on land and sea-from the shores of the Potomac to the Great Lakes-that proved to be a critical turning point in American history.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Another new book:

James Madison and the Making of AmericaKevin R.C. Gutzman

In James Madison and the Making of America, historian Kevin Gutzman looks beyond the way James Madison is traditionally seen -- as "The Father of the Constitution” -- to find a more complex and sometimes contradictory portrait of this influential Founding Father and the ways in which he influenced the spirit of today's United States. Instead of an idealized portrait of Madison, Gutzman treats readers to the flesh-and-blood story of a man who often performed his founding deeds in spite of himself: Madison’s fame rests on his participation in the writing of The Federalist Papers and his role in drafting the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Today, his contribution to those documents is largely misunderstood. He thought that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary and insisted that it not be included in the Constitution, a document he found entirely inadequate and predicted would soon fail. Madison helped to create the first American political party, the first party to call itself “Republican”, but only after he had argued that political parties, in general, were harmful. Madison served as Secretary of State and then as President during the early years of the United States and the War of 1812; however, the American foreign policy he implemented in 1801-1817 ultimately resulted in the British burning down the Capitol and the White House. In so many ways, the contradictions both in Madison’s thinking and in the way he governed foreshadowed the conflicted state of our Union now. His greatest legacy—the disestablishment of Virginia’s state church and adoption of the libertarian Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom—is often omitted from discussion of his career. Yet, understanding the way in which Madison saw the relationship between the church and state is key to understanding the real man. Kevin Gutzman's James Madison and the Making of America promises to become the standard biography of our fourth President.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments This gives an overview and discusses the first Congressional election with Monroe vs. Madison:

Founding Rivals  Madison vs. Monroe, The Bill of Rights, and The Election that Saved a NationChris DeRose

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 future of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the very definition of the United States of America.

Friends and political allies for most of their lives, Madison was the Constitution’s principal author, Monroe one of its leading opponents. Monroe thought the Constitution gave the federal government too much power and failed to guarantee fundamental rights. Madison believed that without the Constitution, the United States would not survive.

It was the most important congressional race in American history, more important than all but a few presidential elections, and yet it is one that historians have virtually ignored. In Founding Rivals, DeRose, himself a political strategist who has fought campaigns in Madison and Monroe’s district, relives the campaign, retraces the candidates’ footsteps, and offers the first insightful, comprehensive history of this high-stakes political battle.

DeRose reveals:
-How Madison’s election ensured the passage of a Bill of Rights—and how
-Monroe’s election would have ensured its failure
-How Madison came from behind to win a narrow victory (by a margin of only 336 votes) in a district gerrymandered against him
-How the Bill of Rights emerged as a campaign promise to Virginia’s evangelical Christians
-Why Madison’s defeat might have led to a new Constitutional Convention—and the breakup of the United States

Founding Rivals tells the extraordinary, neglected story of two of America’s most important Founding Fathers. Brought to life by unparalleled research, it is one of the most provocative books of American political history you will read this year.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments We have a new book out:

James Madison  A Son of Virginia and a Founder of the NationJeff Broadwater

James Madison is remembered primarily as a systematic political theorist, but this bookish and unassuming man was also a practical politician who strove for balance in an age of revolution. In this biography, Jeff Broadwater focuses on Madison's role in the battle for religious freedom in Virginia, his contributions to the adoption of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, his place in the evolution of the party system, his relationship with Dolley Madison, his performance as a wartime commander in chief, and his views on slavery. From Broadwater's perspective, no single figure can tell us more about the origins of the American republic than our fourth president.
In these pages, Madison emerges as a remarkably resilient politician, an unlikely wartime leader who survived repeated setbacks in the War of 1812 with his popularity intact. Yet Broadwater shows that despite his keen intelligence, the more Madison thought about one issue, race, the more muddled his thinking became, and his conviction that white prejudices were intractable prevented him from fully grappling with the dilemma of American slavery.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments The Business of May Next: James Madison and the Founding

Business of May Next  James Madison and the Founding William Lee MillerWilliam Lee Miller


"Good fortune offered this nation an unusual chance at ideal nation-forming and...some honorable leaders seized that chance," writes William Lee Miller in The Business of May Next, and none among the founders made more of the opportunity than did James Madison, subject of this engaging work. Madison is depicted during the critical years between 178 and 1791, when he was so active in articulating the governmental aims of the fledgling nation that he sometimes found himself in official dialogue with himself. More than simply a historical and biographical account, the book traces Madison's political and theoretical development as a means of illuminating its larger theme, the moral and intellectual underpinnings of the American nation.

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Jerome | 1208 comments I've gotten on a Barbary Wars reading kick lately and managed to acquire a copy of this:

The End of Barbary Terror: America's 1815 War Against the Pirates of North Africa

The End of Barbary Terror  America's 1815 War Against the Pirates of North Africa by Frederick C. Leiner


When Barbary pirates captured an obscure Yankee sailing brig off the coast of North Africa in 1812, enslaving eleven American sailors, President James Madison first tried to settle the issue through diplomacy. But when these efforts failed, he sent the largest American naval force ever gathered to that time, led by the heroic Commodore Stephen Decatur, to end Barbary terror once and for all.
Drawing upon numerous ship logs, journals, love letters, and government documents, Frederick C. Leiner paints a vivid picture of the world of naval officers and diplomats in the early nineteenth century, as he recreates a remarkable and little known episode from the early American republic. Leiner first describes Madison's initial efforts at diplomacy, sending Mordecai Noah to negotiate, reasoning that the Jewish Noah would fare better with the Islamic leader. But when the ruler refused to ransom the Americans--"not for two millions of dollars"--Madison declared war and sent a fleet to North Africa. Decatur's squadron dealt quick blows to the Barbary navy, dramatically fighting and capturing two ships. Decatur then sailed to Algiers. He refused to go ashore to negotiate--indeed, he refused to negotiate on any essential point. The ruler of Algiers signed the treaty--in Decatur's words, "dictated at the mouths of our cannon"--in twenty-four hours. The United States would never pay tribute to the Barbary world again, and the captive Americans were set free--although in a sad, ironic twist, they never arrived home, their ship being lost at sea in heavy weather.
Here then is a real-life naval adventure that will thrill fans of Patrick O'Brian, a story of Islamic terrorism, white slavery, poison gas, diplomatic intrigue, and battles with pirates on the high seas.

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Bentley | 22987 comments Good post Jerome; we like this format better than the long list of books; it gives everyone an idea about the book itself which is so helpful. Thank you very much for all of your hard work in helping out. We appreciate it very much.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Looks good,Jerome, thanks.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Dolley Madison: C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image:

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments A Companion to James Madison and James Monroe

A Companion to James Madison and James MonroeStuart Leibiger


A Companion to James Madison and James Monroe features essays from leading academics that consider various aspects of the lives and legacies of our fourth and fifth presidents.

Provides historians and students of history with a wealth of new insights into the lives and achievements of two of America’s most accomplished statesmen, James Madison and James Monroe

Features 32 state-of-the field historiographic essays from leading academics that consider various aspects of the lives and legacies of our fourth and fifth presidents

Synthesizes the latest findings, and offers new insights based on original research into primary sources

Addresses topics that readers often want to learn more about, such as Madison and slavery

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Bentley | 22987 comments Thanks Bryan for all of the adds.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments These companions are great. Your local library might have them.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Dolley Madison: C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image:

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Madison's Metronome: The Constitution, Majority Rule, and the Tempo of American Politics

Madison's Metronome  The Constitution, Majority Rule, and the Tempo of American Politics by Greg Weiner (no photo)


In the wake of national crises and sharp shifts in the electorate, new members of Congress march off to Washington full of intense idealism and the desire for instant change—but often lacking in any sense of proportion or patience. This drive for instant political gratification concerned one of the key Founders, James Madison, who accepted the inevitability of majority rule but worried that an inflamed majority might not rule reasonably.

Greg Weiner challenges longstanding suppositions that Madison harbored misgivings about majority rule, arguing instead that he viewed constitutional institutions as delaying mechanisms to postpone decisions until after public passions had cooled and reason took hold. In effect, Madison believed that one of the Constitution’s primary functions is to act as a metronome, regulating the tempo of American politics.

Weiner calls this implicit doctrine “temporal republicanism” to emphasize both its compatibility with and its contrast to other interpretations of the Founders’ thought. Like civic republicanism, the “temporal” variety embodies a set of values—public-spiritedness, respect for the rights of others—broader than the technical device of majority rule. Exploring this fundamental idea of time-seasoned majority rule across the entire range of Madison’s long career, Weiner shows that it did not substantially change over the course of his life. He presents Madison’s understanding of internal constitutional checks and his famous “extended republic” argument as different and complementary mechanisms for improving majority rule by slowing it down, not blocking it. And he reveals that the changes we see in Madison’s views of majority rule arise largely from his evolving beliefs about who, exactly, was behaving impulsively—whether abusive majorities in the 1780s, the Adams regime in the 1790s, the nullifiers in the 1820s. Yet there is no evidence that Madison’s underlying beliefs about either majority rule or the distorting and transient nature of passions ever swayed.

If patience was a fact of life in Madison’s day—a time when communication and travel were slow—it surely is much harder to cultivate in the age of the Internet, 24-hour news, and politics based on instant gratification. While many of today’s politicians seem to wed supreme impatience with an avowed devotion to original constitutional principles, Madison’s Metronome suggests that one of our nation’s great luminaries would likely view that marriage with caution.

This book is part of the American Political Thought series.

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Jerome | 1208 comments An upcoming book:
Release date: February 2, 2014

James and Dolley Madison: America's First Power Couple

James and Dolley Madison  America's First Power Couple by Bruce Chadwick (no photo)


In this comprehensive biography of James and Dolley Madison, historian Bruce Chadwick introduces the reader to "America's first power couple." Using newly uncovered troves of letters at the University of Virginia, Chadwick has been able to reconstruct the details of the Madisons' personal and political lives. Based on this archive, the author argues that our fourth president--the architect of the Constitution--owed much of his success to the political savvy of his wife. And Dolley, through her many social skills, created the dynamic role of First Lady that we know today.

Within the new historical papers are remarkable stories of Dolley's parties and her backdoor politicking. Their letters show Madison not as a boring, average president--as some historians have maintained--but as a vibrant, tough leader, a very successful commander in chief who changed America. These documents also help to paint a searing portrait of the Madisons' struggles with their irresponsible son and outline how their lifelong funding of his whims brought about their own demise.

Blending the personal and the political, this is a fascinating portrait of a couple whose life together contributed so much to the future course of our nation.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Great Jerome, thanks.

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Jerome | 1208 comments James Madison

James Madison by Richard Brookhiser (no photo)


James Madison led one of the most influential and prolific lives in American history, and his story—although all too often overshadowed by his more celebrated contemporaries—is integral to that of the nation. Madison helped to shape our country as perhaps no other Founder: collaborating on the Federalist Papers and the Bill of Rights, resisting government overreach by assembling one of the nation’s first political parties (the Republicans, who became today’s Democrats), and taking to the battlefield during the War of 1812, becoming the last president to lead troops in combat. In this penetrating biography, eminent historian Richard Brookhiser presents a vivid portrait of the "Father of the Constitution,” an accomplished yet humble statesman who nourished Americans’ fledgling liberty and vigorously defended the laws that have preserved it to this day.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons

A Slave in the White House  Paul Jennings and the Madisons by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor (no image)


Paul Jennings was born into slavery on the plantation of James and Dolley Madison in Virginia, later becoming part of the Madison household staff at the White House. Once finally emancipated by Senator Daniel Webster later in life, he would give an aged and impoverished Dolley Madison, his former owner, money from his own pocket, write the first White House memoir, and see his sons fight with the Union Army in the Civil War. He died a free man in northwest Washington at 75. Based on correspondence, legal documents, and journal entries rarely seen before, this amazing portrait of the times reveals the mores and attitudes toward slavery of the nineteenth century, and sheds new light on famous characters such as James Madison, who believed the white and black populations could not coexist as equals; French General Lafayette who was appalled by this idea; Dolley Madison, who ruthlessly sold Paul after her husband's death; and many other since forgotten slaves, abolitionists, and civil right activists.

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Bryan Craig | 9889 comments This is a cool site, Montpelier, Madison's home, has created a site that includes the constitution, Madison's Journals of the convention, a few other related documents. You can sign in and comment or read the annotations.

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Jerome | 1208 comments An upcoming biography:
Release date: May 6, 2014

James Madison: A Life Reconsidered

James Madison  A Life Reconsidered by Lynne CheneyLynne Cheney


This majestic new biography of James Madison explores the astonishing story of a man of vaunted modesty who audaciously changed the world. Among the Founding Fathers, Madison was a true genius of the early republic.

Outwardly reserved, Madison was the intellectual driving force behind the Constitution and crucial to its ratification. His visionary political philosophy and rationale for the union of states—so eloquently presented in The Federalist papers—helped shape the country Americans live in today.

Along with Thomas Jefferson, Madison would found the first political party in the country’s history—the Democratic Republicans. As Jefferson’s secretary of state, he managed the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the United States. As president, Madison led the country in its first war under the Constitution, the War of 1812. Without precedent to guide him, he would demonstrate that a republic could defend its honor and independence—and remain a republic still.

message 50: by Bryan, Assisting Moderator - Presidential Series (new)

Bryan Craig | 9889 comments Interesting, must be Dick Cheney's wife

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