4. James Madison

The Periodic Table of the Presidents - Jma   4 - Jma - Portrait


“The Father of the Constitution”


Presidential Basics

  • Full name: James Madison
  • Years in office: 1809–1817
  • Political party: Democratic-Republican
  • Vice president: George Clinton (first term), Elbridge Gerry (second term)
  • Age at inauguration: 57
  • Nicknames: “Father of the Constitution,” “Little Jemmy”

Random Trivia

  • Shortest president: At 5’4″ tall, James Madison is the shortest of all presidents.
  • Washington portrait: When the British invaded DC during the War of 1812, James Madison’s wife, Dolley Madison, is credited with saving the famous George Washington portrait by Gilbert Stuart.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: March 16, 1751
  • Birthplace: Port Conway, Virginia
  • Death date: June 28, 1836
  • Place of death: Montpelier, Virginia
  • Place of burial: Montpelier, Virginia
  • Last words: “I always talk better lying down.”

Family

  • Father: James Madison 1723–1801); Justice of the peace, vestryman, farmer
  • Mother: Eleanor Conway Madison (1732–1829)
  • Wife: Dorothea (Dolley) Payne Todd (1768 –1849)
  • Marriage: September 15, 1794 in Virginia
  • Kids: None
  • Home: Montpelier, Virginia

Other Facts

  • Height: 5’4”
  • Eye color: Blue
  • Ancestry: English
  • Religion: Episcopalian
  • Born in a log cabin: No
  • Owned enslaved people: Yes
  • Freemason: No

Education

  • Early education: Donald Robertson’s school; private tutoring
  • College degree: Yes
  • College: Princeton (graduated in 1771)

Career

  • Military Service: Yes
  • Lawyer: Yes
  • Writer
  • Colonel in Virginia Militia (1775)
  • Member of Orange County Committee of Safety (1775)
  • Member of  the Virginia Constitutional Convention (1776)
  • Member of Virginia Executive Council (1778–1779)
  • Member of Virginia Legislature (1779)
  • Member of Continental Congress (1780–1783)
  • Delegate to Annapolis Convention (1786)
  • Member of Constitutional Convention (1787)
  • Member of the Virginia Ratification Convention (1788)
  • U.S. House of Representatives (1789–1797)
  • Secretary of State: Jefferson administration (1801–1809)
  • President (1809–1817)
  • Rector of University of Virginia (1826–1836)

Writings

  • The Writings of James Madison
  • The Papers of James Madison

Links


Elections

 


Spotlight Artifact

The U.S. Constitution

U.S. Constitution page 1 - National Archives

You give me a credit to which I have no claim in calling me ‘The writer of the Constitution of the U.S.’ This was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands.

-James Madison to William Cogswell, March 10, 1834

U.S. Constitution page 2 - National ArchivesU.S. Constitution page 3 - National ArchivesU.S. Constitution page 4 - National Archives

 

 

 

 

 


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