James Madison and the Making of America

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Gutzman, Kevin
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2012-01-01T00:00:00-08:00
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Abstract
This is the first full-length biography, in over a decade, of James Madison, our fourth President and icon of the conservative movement. In it, the author, a historian looks beyond Madison's traditional moniker, "The Father of the Constitution", to find a more complex and realistic portrait of this influential Founding Father. Instead of an idealized portrait of Madison, the author treats readers to the 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. Yet, he thought that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary and insisted that it not be included in the unamended Constitution which, he lamented, was entirely inadequate and, likely, 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. Virtually all of his great accomplishments, such as his contributions to The Federalist Papers, are now misunderstood. 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.
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