ABOUT THE WHITE HOUSE * PRESIDENTS
about_presidents_georgewashington 1. George Washington
about_presidents_johnadams 2. John Adams
about_presidents_thomasjefferson 3. Thomas Jefferson
about_presidents_jamesmadison 4. James Madison
about_presidents_jamesmonroe 5. James Monroe
about_presidents_johnquincyadams 6. John Quincy Adams
about_presidents_andrewjackson 7. Andrew Jackson
about_presidents_martinvanburen 8. Martin Van Buren
about_presidents_williamhenryharrison 9. William Henry Harrison
about_presidents_johntyler 10. John Tyler
about_presidents_jamespolk 11. James K. Polk
about_presidents_zacharytaylor 12. Zachary Taylor
about_presidents_millardfillmore 13. Millard Fillmore
about_presidents_franklinpierce 14. Franklin Pierce
about_presidents_jamesbuchanan 15. James Buchanan
about_presidents_abrahamlincoln 16. Abraham Lincoln
about_presidents_andrewjohnson 17. Andrew Johnson
about_presidents_ulyssessgrant 18. Ulysses S. Grant
about_presidents_rutherfordbhayes 19. Rutherford B. Hayes
about_presidents_jamesgarfield 20. James Garfield
about_presidents_chesterarthur 21. Chester A. Arthur
about_presidents_grovercleveland 22. Grover Cleveland
about_presidents_benjaminharrison 23. Benjamin Harrison
about_presidents_grovercleveland 24. Grover Cleveland
about_presidents_williammckinley 25. William McKinley
about_presidents_theodoreroosevelt 26. Theodore Roosevelt
about_presidents_williamhowardtaft 27. William Howard Taft
about_presidents_woodrowwilson 28. Woodrow Wilson
about_presidents_warrenharding 29. Warren G. Harding
about_presidents_calvincoolidge 30. Calvin Coolidge
about_presidents_herberthoover 31. Herbert Hoover
about_presidents_franklindroosevelt 32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
about_presidents_harrystruman 33. Harry S. Truman
about_presidents_dwightdeisenhower 34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
about_presidents_johnfkennedy 35. John F. Kennedy
about_presidents_lyndonjohnson 36. Lyndon B. Johnson
about_presidents_richardnixon 37. Richard M. Nixon
about_presidents_geraldford 38. Gerald R. Ford
about_presidents_jimmycarter 39. James Carter
about_presidents_ronaldreagan 40. Ronald Reagan
about_presidents_georgehwbush 41. George H. W. Bush
about_presidents_williamjclinton 42. William J. Clinton
about_presidents_georgewbush 43. George W. Bush
administration_president_obama 44. Barack Obama
[[[Image:4jm_header_sm.jpg|450px|Photo]] of James Madison ]
4. JAMES MADISON 1809-1817
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."
MD5: 25ba4ccdb7778aef8fc6de2ed9d79d8f Original URL: http://whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/jamesmadison/