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James Madison 1809-1817 Democratic-Republican 4th President

n His vice presidents were: George Clinton and Elbridge Gerry.

n Born March 16, 1751 in Port Conway, VA; died June 28, 1836 in Montpelier, VA and buried near his home.

n He married Dolley Payne Todd Madison and they had no children.

n He attended Princeton University, was a farmer, lawyer, congressman and secretary of state.

n He was one of the youngest of the Revolutionary patriots and was the author of the “Virginia Plan,” which proposed a government of three departments — legislative, executive and judicial — and furnished the basis for the constitution of the United States as finally adopted.

n Elected to the first Congress, he defended the Constitution throughout George Washington’s administration and helped write the Bill of Rights.

n Out of his leadership, in opposition to Hamilton’s financial proposals, came the development of the Republican or Jeffersonian Party. Jefferson made Madison his secretary of state.

n He was elected president in 1808 and was re-elected in 1812. He took office in the midst of controversies with England, caused by that nation’s blockades of France and the impressment of sailors from American ships when they were of British descent. This, and the British failure to recognize the United States’ naturalization laws, caused Madison to declare war on Britain. The conflict was to become known as The War of 1812.

n The United States wasn’t prepared for that war and its forces were severely trounced as the British entered Washington and set fire to the White House and the Capitol. The government fled to Virginia.

n United States’ forces began fighting back and a few notable naval and military victories climaxed by General Andrew Jackson’s triumph of the Battle of New Orleans, convinced Americans the War of 1812 was a glorious success. There was an upsurge of nationalism.

n During this administration, Madison had seen Louisiana and Indiana become states, Decatur triumphing in Algiers, Tecumseh beaten at Tippecanoe by General William Henry Harrison and John Marshall rendering his decisions as chief justice, which defined the scope of federal power.

Compiled by Phyllis Stowers, Lifestyles Editor

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