By Richard Brookhiser

James Madison led essentially the most influential and prolific lives in American background, and his story—although all too usually overshadowed by way of his extra celebrated contemporaries—is essential to that of the state. Madison helped to form our kingdom as possibly no different Founder: taking part at the Federalist Papers and the invoice of Rights, resisting executive overreach by means of assembling one of many nation’s first political events (the Republicans, who grew to become today’s Democrats), and taking to the battlefield through the conflict of 1812, turning into the final president to guide troops in combat.

during this penetrating biography, eminent historian Richard Brookhiser provides a brilliant portrait of the “Father of the Constitution,” an comprehensive but humble statesman who nourished american citizens’ fledgling liberty and vigorously defended the legislation that experience preserved it to this day.

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Madison was once blissful to have received, yet he feared that everlasting harm have been performed. In April 1833, he wrote Henry Clay, who as a senator had helped defuse the predicament. South Carolina, he acknowledged, had bequeathed “the torch of discord” to its kingdom. The word was once from Pope’s Iliad, the place it describes the goddess of strife inspiring the Greeks to struggle the Trojans. . . . baleful Eris, despatched by way of Jove’s command The torch of discord blazing in her hand . . . (Book eleven, l. 5–6) The “tendency” of Calhoun’s efforts, Madison went on, “whatever be the goal, is to create a disgust with the union, after which to open the way in which out of it. ” in the back of the tariff conflict crouched one other: slavery. Calhoun himself said the “peculiar hard work” on which South Carolina’s agricultural economic system rested. The tariff conflict was once Missouri over again, a bit extra disguised. whilst Madison considered slavery at once, the single answer he may see was once Liberia. while he considered slavery as a sectional factor, he seemed to the Union because the bulwark opposed to the conflicts it generated. it's either silly and impossible to resist to invite how a 109-year-old James Madison could have voted within the four-way election of 1860. no longer for Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln desired to preserve slavery out of the west, and Madison might have attempted to tie his constitutional arguments up in knots. now not for John Breckinridge, rule-or-ruin southerner and inheritor of Calhoun. might be he might have voted for Stephen Douglas, latter-day Jacksonian; much more likely for John Bell, the Tennessee Unionist whose platform was once union and structure, with slavery off the desk, and whose working mate was once Edward Everett, writer of the North American assessment letter. Bell and Everett weren't persuasive; they complete fourth within the well known vote and carried in simple terms 3 states (Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee). Madison’s doctrines by means of themselves couldn't retain the rustic jointly. but if the crash got here, postelection, it's very unlikely to visualize Madison deserting the Union. In 1834, he wrote a brief observe, “Advice to My Country,” which was once his political final will and testomony. He sought after it published posthumously, whilst it will have the seriousness of demise. “The suggestion nearest to my middle” used to be that the Union “be adored and perpetuated. ” His story approximately John and Mary Bull had proven his obstacles as a storyteller, so he trusted tales that have been already well-known. “Let the open enemy to it [the union] be considered as a Pandora together with her field opened; and the disguised one because the Serpent creeping along with his lethal wiles into Paradise. ” the tip of this type of lengthy lifestyles needs to be a parade of deaths. Jefferson, as the entire global realized, died on July four, 1826. days later, Madison wrote Trist that for 50 years he and Jefferson had now not skilled “an interruption or diminution of mutual self belief and cordial friendship, for a unmarried second in one example. ” no longer one second? no longer one example? without doubt Madison idealized his lifeless brother and his personal constancy. yet in a life of collaborations, this used to be the best in addition to the main satisfying.

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