James Madison Biography Essay

1024 Words May 9th, 2006 5 Pages
Like his close friend Thomas Jefferson, James Madison came from a prosperous family of Virginia planters, received an excellent education, and studied law –though only informally— and quickly found himself drawn into the debates over independence. In 1776, he became a delegate to the revolutionary Virginia Convention, where he worked closely with Thomas Jefferson to push through religious freedom statutes, among other liberal measures. The youngest member of the Continental Congress, Madison was of smaller than average height for a Virginian of the period; reports have him standing either five feet four or five feet six inches tall. His soft-spoken, shy demeanor was a foil for his brilliant persistence in advocating his political …show more content…
During John Adams's presidency, Madison led the Republican fight against the Alien and Sedition Acts, which attempted to quell Republican opposition to Federalist foreign policy toward France. He authored the Virginia Resolution, which declared the laws unconstitutional. Under Thomas Jefferson, Madison served as secretary of state, supporting the Louisiana Purchase and the embargo against Britain and France. Indeed, Madison was the official primarily responsible for the administration's foreign policy, emerging from behind the scenes in 1808 to succeed Jefferson as the fourth President of the United States. It was not at all clear that Madison would carry the day. Jefferson's embargo of all trade with England and France had devastated the nation, and New England states spoke of open secession from the Union. The Federalists, convinced they would ride national outrage to victory, re-nominated their 1804 contender, Charles C. Pinckney of South Carolina. Meanwhile, George Clinton, who had agreed to run as Madison's vice president, consented to his own nomination for President. Madison swamped the opposition, winning 122 votes to Pinckney's 44. His re-election was also dramatic. Madison's nomination for a second term came just fifteen days prior to his war message to Congress, listing

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