James Madison

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James Madison

In office
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
Vice President George Clinton
Elbridge Gerry
Preceded by Thomas Jefferson
Succeeded by James Monroe

In office
May 2, 1801 – March 3, 1809
President Thomas Jefferson
Preceded by John Marshall
Succeeded by Robert Smith

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 15th district
In office
March 4, 1793 – March 3, 1797
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by John Dawson

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1793
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by George Hancock

Born March 16, 1751(1751-03-16)
Port Conway, Virginia Colony
Died June 28, 1836(1836-06-28) (aged 85)
Montpelier, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic-Republican Party
Spouse(s) Dolley Todd
Children John (Stepson)
Alma mater Princeton University
Profession Planter
Signature Cursive signature in ink

James Madison, Jr. (16 March [O.S. 5 March] 1751–28 June 1836) was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817) and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and the author of the United States Bill of Rights.[1]

Along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, he is one of the authors of the Federalist Papers (1788), which became the most influential explanation and defense of the Constitution after its publication. Madison's most distinctive belief as a political theorist was the principle of divided power. Madison believed that "parchment barriers" were not sufficient to protect the rights of citizens. Power must be divided, both between federal and state governments (federalism), and within the federal government (checks and balances) to protect individual rights from the tyranny of the majority.


  1. Ralph Ketcham, James Madison: A Biography, (1971) pp.229, 289-92,

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