Birthplace: Port Conway, Va.
was born in Port Conway, Va., on March 16, 1751 (March 5, 1750/1, old
style). A Princeton graduate, he joined the struggle for independence
on his return to Virginia in 1771. In the 1770s and 1780s he was active
in state politics, where he championed the Jefferson reform program,
and in the Continental Congress. Madison was influential in the
Constitutional Convention as leader of the group favoring a strong
central government and as recorder of the debates; and he subsequently
wrote, in collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the Federalist papers to aid the campaign for the adoption of the Constitution.
Serving in the new Congress, Madison soon emerged as the leader in the
House of the men who opposed Hamilton"s financial program and his
pro-British leanings in foreign policy. Retiring from Congress in 1797,
he continued to be active in Virginia and drafted the Virginia
Resolution protesting the Alien and Sedition Acts. His intimacy with
Jefferson made him the natural choice for secretary of state in 1801.
In 1809, Madison succeeded Jefferson as president, defeating Charles C.
Pinckney. His wife, Dolley Payne Todd, whom he married in 1794, brought
a new social sparkle to the executive mansion. In the meantime,
increasing tension with Britain culminated in the War of 1812—a war for
which the United States was unprepared and for which Madison lacked the
executive talent to clear out incompetence and mobilize the nation"s
energies. Madison was reelected in 1812, running against the Federalist
De Witt Clinton. In 1814, the British actually captured Washington and
forced Madison to flee to Virginia.
Madison"s domestic program
capitulated to the Hamiltonian policies that he had resisted 20 years
before and he now signed bills to establish a United States Bank and a
After his presidency, he remained in retirement in Virginia until his death on June 28, 1836.Died: 6/28/1836