Saturday, February 23, 2013

James Madison

Apologies for the late entry! Just a little bit belated, here we are at yet another Presidential Friday- this time, the fourth president, James Madison.

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
-James Madison

Often called the "Father of the Bill of Rights" and the Father of the Constitution," Madison drafted the first ten amendments to the Bill of Rights and was key to the writing of the Constitution. He was a Virginia man and therefore owned a plantation and hundreds of slaves. He supported the three-fifths compromise which counted slaves as three-fifths of a person, believing them to be below human beings. And uniquely, he never had any children.

He is also known for having fluid political beliefs, expressed by his switch in political affiliations and such. He split from the Federalist Party of James Adams, and Madison and Thomas Jefferson together formed the Republican party, nowadays referred to as the "Democratic-Republican" party.

As Secretary of State under President Jefferson, Madison presided over the purchase of the Louisiana territory. He rose to presidency in a time of peace, 1809, but soon the country was brought into war. Due to the British sinking of American ships and the British aid towards the Native Americans, Madison declared war against Great Britain. The War of 1812. Yet the country was in no place to engage a major empire and its colonies.

The Treaty of Ghent ended the war in early 1815 after the Americans won a large battle against the British, and many Americans felt an inflated sense in the US's power, believing they had forced Great Britain to withdrawal. Their somewhat inaccurate opinions on the US' 'victory' led them to refer to the war as "the Second War of American Independence" and brought high spirits to the people. It ushered in the 'era of good feelings,' and Madison saw in the last years of his term increased popularity and a time of peace and prosperity.

Sources: Wikipedia, White, Miller Center, Brainy Quote

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