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1. James Madison, a biography in
2. James Madison, 1751-1836: Chronology-Documents-Bibliographical
3. James Madison 1751-1836: A brief
4. The Federalist, on the new Constitution;
5. Patent for Wool Spinning and Roping
6. James Madison and the American
7. James Madison: Writings: Writings
8. James Madison and the American
9. James Madison and the American
10. Selected Writings of James Madison
11. Father of the Constitution: A
12. The Last of the Fathers: James
13. James Madison's "Advice to My
14. James Madison and the Creation
15. James Madison's Notes of Debates
16. The Presidency of James Madison
17. James Madison: The Founding Father
18. From Parchment to Power: How James
19. The Political Philosophy of James
20. James Madison (Presidents)

1. James Madison, a biography in his own words. Edited by Merrill D. Peterson, with an introd. by Robert A. Rutland. Joan Paterson Kerr, picture editor - [Complete in two volumes]
by James (1751-1836). Peterson, Merrill D., ed. Madison
 Hardcover: Pages (1974)

Asin: B000VZJXB6
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2. James Madison, 1751-1836: Chronology-Documents-Bibliographical Ai Ds. (Oceana Presidential Chronology Series, 18)
by James Madison
 Hardcover: 115 Pages (1969-06)
list price: US$10.00
Isbn: 0379120682
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3. James Madison 1751-1836: A brief biographical sketch
by Carlton B Smith
 Unknown Binding: 28 Pages (1986)

Asin: B00070TVZ8
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4. The Federalist, on the new Constitution; written in 1788
by Alexander (1757-1804). Madison, James (1751-1836). Jay, John (1745-1829) Hamilton
 Hardcover: Pages (1818)

Asin: B000JVB05E
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5. Patent for Wool Spinning and Roping Invention; Signed by James Madison as president and James Monroe as Secretary of State.
by James (1751-1836); James Monroe (1758-1831) Madison
 Unbound: Pages (1815)

Asin: B000OCU8JC
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6. James Madison and the American Nation 1751-1836: An Encyclopedia.
by Robert A. (ed) Rutland
 Hardcover: 450 Pages (1994)
-- used & new: US$163.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0135084253
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for Madison researchers!
This is a great book giving wonderful encyclopedia entries for almost everyone and everything associated with the life of James Madison.A wonderful reference book I use it all the time.

Kenneth Clark, President
James Madison Museum
... Read more

7. James Madison: Writings: Writings 1772-1836 (Library of America)
by James Madison
 Hardcover: 966 Pages (1999-08-30)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$22.41
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Asin: 1883011663
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
America's greatest political thinker, in the most comprehensive one-volume collection ever published

Over 200 years after the founding of the federal republic, James Madison remains the most important political thinker in American history. The prime framer of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Madison was also a brilliant expositor ofthe new republican government and its underlying principles. His eloquent and insightful writing on freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press, the rights of minorities under majority rule, the role of the states in the federal system, and the separation of powers are central to American political thought and speak to the controversies of the present day.

James Madison: Writings is the most comprehensive one-volume selection ever published. Arranged chronologically, it contains almost 200 documents written between 1772 and 1836. Included are all 29 of Madison's contributions to The Federalist, as well as speeches and letters that illuminate his central role in framing and ratifying the Constitution and in the adoption of the Bill of Rights; early writings on religious freedom; revealing correspondence with Jefferson, Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and James Monroe; his eloquent denunciations of the Alien and Sedition Acts; influential writings on republican government and constitutional interpretation; and candid private appraisals of the personalities and events he witnessed in four decades of public life. Writings from Madison's terms as secretary of state and president record his determination to uphold American independence during the conflicts of the Napoleonic era and his conscientious leadership of the nation during the fiercely controversial War of 1812. Letters and essays from his retirement reveal his deepening concern over the sectional threat to the federal union he loved.

James Madison: Writings includes explanatory notes, a chronology of Madison's life, and an index. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars James Madison: Writings: Writings 1772-1836 (Library of America)
I do not think Library of the America has even put out a bad book and this is no exception.The contents are of great use to anyone interested in our government.The index in the back is exhaustive and helps greatly.Buy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars One way to approach this book and others in the Library of America
I suspect the idea of reading a collection of writings by Madison, Washington, Hamilton and Jefferson to feel a little too much like home work for most of us to want to do it. I also believe fervently that if you really want to learn the history of this country that such a reading is a necessity.
Several years ago, I found a useful way around this paradox. Buy the Library of America volumes of the above individuals and keep them around for when you read contemporary works about the Founders.
I have recently read several books on Madison (right now I am going thru McCoy's excellent The Last of the Fathers). Whenever an author like McCoy mentions one of Madison's writings I go to my LOA Madison volume and read that writing first.
I have found this procedure to have several advantages. It allows me to form my own ideas about the document before McCoy (or whomever I am reading) can influence me. Thus I am provided a quick check on what they are asserting. Over time, this procedure has led me through much of the Jefferson and the Madison volumes. Sometimes I find myself bouncing back and forth between the volumes following a series of letters. (As an aside, it would be a great service if someone were to provide a well-chosen edition of their letters to each other.)
In general, I have found the Madsion volume to be extremely well-selected. I find about 80% of the documents referred to to be contained in this volume. Unlike the others, my major complaint is that there are not any of his notes on the debates during his tenure in the Continental Congress. I would have taken the more controversial route of leaving out Madison's essays from The Federalist. They are easily obtained and take up over 20% of this volume. Those 190 pages would have afforded a nice overview of his Continental Congress service and his Secretary of State and Presidential service (only 50 pages of material!)
But this is a minor complaint. Rakove as stated by all of the reviewers below has done a great job. Whether you use it like I do or work your way through assiduously this is a necessary volume to own for any American history fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Constitutional Questions?
The history of the making of our Constitution can be read here. Much valuable insight into contemporary constitutional questions, including separation of Church and State (Madison was a fervent exponent of 'the wall'). A must have and must read for today's politically minded citizen. Surprises abound.

5-0 out of 5 stars James Madison Speaks for Himself
The American Founders are receiving a great deal of merited attention in popular histories such as "John Adams" and "The Founding Brothers."These books have the merits of readability and accesibility -- of providing knowledge and historical context of the early days of our country in a relatively short but informed compass.

The Library of America's series of writings by America's Founders -- including Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton and many others besides the book of James Madison's writings -- are longer and more difficult to read.They consist of original texts with only the slightest endnotes and historical chronology.(In this book of Madison's writings, the historical chrononogy is excellent)The disadvantage, if that is the correct word, of the Library of American's series is that reading these books takes substantial effort and digging.In addition, it is difficult to stop with one book, as each collection relates to and requires and understanding of the work of the other Founders.The advantage these books offer, though, can't be found anywhere else.They offer a chance to meet and encounter American's Founders in their own words and on their own terms and to see the development of their thoughts over time.

James Madison (1751-1836) was probably America's greatest political thinker.His career spanned the Revolutionary War, the formation of the Articles of the Confederation, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, the creation of party in America, the Louisiana Purchase, and the War of 1812, which occurred during his Presidency.

The Library of America's collection of over 900 pages offers a rare opportunity to read in one place the major writings of James Madison.It allows the reader an opportunity to assess his importance and to see the themes Madison developed throughout his life.

A major contribution of Madison was his insistence on freedom of religion in the United States and his opposition to any established sect.These theme pervades this volume from the Amendments Madison proposed to the Virginia declaration of rights in 1776, through the Bill of Rights, Madison's Presidency, and beyond.

Madison was also the architect of representative government.He was a member of the Constitutional Convention and took copious notes of its proceedings.He was the major draftsman of the Constitution.He spoke for both a strong National government and for representative government -- in which the people chose their leaders.

Together with Alexander Hamilton, Madison wrote the Federalist papers which explained the Constitution to the people of New York but in a larger sense to the United States in his day and in succeeding days as well.This collaboration was significant in that Madison and Hamilton would later quarrel and be the founders of the party system.Madison and Jefferson spoke for what has become the Democratic Party (the "democracy) with its emphasis at the time on individual rights and participatory democracy and a narrow reading of Federal power while Hamilton became the spokseman for a strong central government and for economic development.

The book chronicle's Madison's efforts in supporting and drafting the Bill of Rights.Subsequently, Madison wrote a lengthy article for the State of Virginia expressing opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts that Congress enacted during the Presidency of John Adams.The opposition was based on the inconsistency of the act with the freedom of speech set forth in the First Amendment and to the lack of authority for these Acts in the original constitution.

The book has comparatively little on Madison's career as Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson and on Madison's own relatively unsuccessful Presidency during the War of 1812.

Upon leaving the Presidency, Madison enjoyed a long retirement at Montpelier.This collection gives a good view of Madison's continued activity during this time.It discusses his views on slavery and on the impending Missouri compromise (Madison opposed it -- an opposition that would haunt the United States in the later Dred Scott decision) and on Judicial Supremacy -- the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws unconstitutional.(Madison agreed the Court had this power but he disagreed with the way Chief Justice Marshall used it.)

One of the final items in this book is a short, two paragraph article entitled "Advice to my Country" written 1n 1834 as a parting before Madison's death.Looking at the impending conflict between North and South, but speaking to our time as well Madison wrote:

"The advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my convictions is that the Union of the States be cherished and perpetuated."

This is an important wish for our country now as then.

This book will repay reading and study.The study of our Founders is, I think, one of the best ways to learn to love and understand our country.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enormous selection and chronology
Rakove's contribution to Madisonian scholarship is well advanced, despite the great heights at has already achieved, by this collection. An erudite reviewer mentioned this might have benefited from stage setting by Rakove and this is true, for Rakove is among the few who could have set the stage for so precise and capacious a topic as Madison's refelctions. Despite the absence of background it is an excllent collection. In this 250 th year of Madison's birth and considering the recent scholarship by Rakove, Banning, McCoy, Rosen,and Mattern, the time may have arrived for Madison to be transformed from a forgotten lieutenant, or a keeper of arcanum, to a state of appreciation by all. ... Read more

8. James Madison and the American Nation 1751-1836: An Encyclopedia.
 Hardcover: Pages (1994)

Asin: B000ICES76
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9. James Madison and the American Nation 1751-1836: An Encyclopedia
by Robert A. Rutland;Editor In Chief
 Hardcover: Pages (1994)

Asin: B000OLLIR4
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10. Selected Writings of James Madison (American Heritage Series)
by James Madison
Paperback: 396 Pages (2006-09-30)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$19.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0872206955
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Editorial Review

Book Description
The writings collected here reflect the Madison who emerges from the best scholarship of the last thirty years - scholarship to which Ralph Ketcham, as editor of The Papers of James Madison and in many other ways, has made stunning contributions. Ketcham's Introduction, a brief chronology, the texts of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and an index further distinguish this collection. ... Read more

11. Father of the Constitution: A Story About James Madison (Creative Minds Biographies)
by Barbara Mitchell
Hardcover: 64 Pages (2003-09)
list price: US$22.60 -- used & new: US$21.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1575051826
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars James Madison
This book was fascinating. My previous understanding of James Madison was that he caved to political pressure and started the War of 1812. When I read about his thoughtful and brilliant additions to our Constitution, I realized *again* how special our founding fathers were. ... Read more

12. The Last of the Fathers: James Madison & The Republican Legacy
by Drew R. McCoy
Paperback: 406 Pages (1991-06-28)
list price: US$32.99 -- used & new: US$8.97
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Asin: 0521407729
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
James Madison survived longer than any other member of the most remarkable generation of political leaders in American history.Born in the middle of the eighteenth century as a subject of King George II, the Father of the United States Constitution lived until 1836, when he died a citizen of Andrew Jackson's republic.For over forty years he played a pivotal role in the creation and defense of a new political order.He lived long enough to see even that Revolutionary world transformed, and the system of government he had nurtured threatened by the disruptive forces of a new era that would ultimately lead to civil war. In recounting the experience of Madison and several of his legatees who witnessed the violent test of whether his republic could endure, McCoy dramatizes the actual working out in human lives of critical cultural and political issues. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Overly sympathetic, thus distorted
Professor McCoy has here taken vol. IX of James Madison's writings (the Hunt edition) and simply recast them as narrative.Even when Madison clearly contradicts himself, McCoy as author considers Madison's position obviously correct.

Thus, for example, the Virginia General Assembly in the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 claimed that each state was responsible for preventing the enforcement of federal policies that were both unconstitutional and dangerous within its respective territory.Madison during the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33 said that Virginia had never looked to separate state interposition!In other words, somehow the words "each" and "respective" did not refer to a single state acting to protect its own citizens when other states were not doing so.

Obviously, this is an absurdity.But there is more.

For a full rebuttal to Prof. McCoy's argument about Madison and the Nullification Crisis, see my article in the 1994 issue of _The Journal of the Early Republic_ entitled "A Troublesome Legacy:James Madison and 'The Principles of '98.'"It's avaialable online in a more extensvie version at the University of Virginia's "Essays in History" page.

You will find an alternative reading of the events of 1798, one that corrects Madison's miscasting of those events, in my new book, Virginia's American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840, chapter 4.

Kevin Gutzman, author, The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to the Constitution (Politically Incorrect Guides).

5-0 out of 5 stars Madison, his followers, the constitution, nullification and slavery.
This book seems to me to have two main purposes. The first is to present Madison's ideas about constitutional interpretation. The second is to show how Madison applied those ideas to the related issues of nullification and slavery. In order to serve these purposes McCoy choose to focus on the final and private portion of Madison's life and on the subsequent careers of three proteges of Madison's: Nicholas P. Trist, William Cabell Rives and Edward Coles.
The result is an altogether magnificent accomplishment-extremely well written, deeply researched and ultimately quite convincing.
There are many reasons why issues of constitutional interpretation came to the fore after Madison retired from public life. Madison, in his last major act as President vetoed an internal improvements bill on constitutional grounds (pp. 92-95). In the following years, there were many debates about the constitutionality of the Bank of the U.S., Georgia's policies toward the Cherokees, the tariff and the idea of nullification.
Certain principles of Madison's approach emerge from McCoy's exposition of this history.
The Constitution had been ratified by the people of the several states in state conventions. Thus the national government had the same origins and authority as the state constitutions. The people of the several states by that ratification had delegated to the Federal Government certain specified areas of sovereignity. Within those limited areas the national government was supreme(p.135-6). The Supreme Court is the proper
authority for determining the dividing line between the authority of the states and the federal government (p.70 and see Federalist 39).
Madison throughout his life was a strict constructionist or a textualist. He had been so during his early 1780's stint in the Continental Congress and was still so in the 1830s. He strongly disapproved of loose construction of the general welfare clause (pp.77-8). He felt the same way in re the necessary and proper clause. Madison felt that the Marshall Court had opened a Pandora's box with its reasoning in McCulloch vs. Maryland (pp99-102).
He was equally faithful to the idea of majority rule when it came to interpretation. He thought that if measures "reflecting a particular understanding of the Constitution were uniformly sustained by successive legislatures, and their constitutionality openly debated and acceded to, especially by other divisions and levels of government, such legislation constituted binding precedent" (p.80). The question, of course, is what length of time was required. McCoy sees this tendency as part of Madison's desire for stability (p.128) as well as for majority rule.
On the other hand, Madison was always alert to the dangers of majorities being uncontrolled. He felt that "perhaps the greatest danger" to strict interpretation of the Constitution was the "the usefullness and popularity of measures". Measures that were popular and useful were inevitably seen as constitutional by politicians (p.102).
A state does not have the right to "act within its borders against federal laws that it judged unconstitutional"(p.145). This is the way he saw it at the end of his life and that is the way he claimed he wrote it in the Virginia Resolution of 1798 and the Report of 1800. These papers had only attempted to rally and organize public opinion. Madison felt that they had been successful in light of the results of the 1800 election.
It should be clear how different Madison's theory is from that of Calhoun. Calhoun fully espoused the compact theory of the Constitution. This theory sees the Constitution as being the creation of the States. The individual states retain their full sovereignity within their borders and within their respective governmental areas. South Carolina regarded the tariffs as both unconstitutional and vicious. They saw themselves and the South as a whole bearing the majority burdern of the expense of running the federal government while being a minority of the population.
Calhoun's solution was nullification. It works like this:
1. A state nullifies a federal law as unconstitutional.
2. ¼ of the other states support it thus forcing the federal government to
3. Seek a constitutional amendment approving of the disputed authority and
4. If¾ of the states approve the amendment, that authority belongs to the federal
government but
5. The dissenting states can either acquiesce to that decision or secede.
To Madison, this was a madness ignorant of history. He felt it would return us to the state of the nation circa the 1780s when the power and willfulness of the states had all but destroyed the Union (pp.132-3). He also reminded Calhoun that that same history had taught majority abuses within a state were often as tyrannical and abusive as majority abuses within the nation (p.138). Ironically enough the nullifiers with South Carolina imposed a test oath on all government officials (except the legislature) within the state and determined that anyone who refused the oath would lose their office.
McCoy's delineation of Madison's position on the Missouri Compromise, the Bank Bill, the nullification controvery, the tariff, internal improvements and so on are exemplery. He is lucid and very readable.
However, on the issue of slavery, Madison's thinking was much more muddled. He was not comfortable with the issue and never really resolved it in his mind. He was a proponent of the voluntary exportation of freed slaves back to Africa even though few had any desire to go back to someplace they had never known (the vast majority of the slaves at this period had been born in the US). As for his own slaves, it appears he was more concerned about the financial security of Dolly Madison then their freedom. In fairness to Madison, it should be noted that many of his slaves were elderly at the time of his death and freeing them might actually have been a worse fate (and what does that statement say about our country?)
McCoy traces out the slavery issue through the careers of Madison three disciples. Coles, who became one of the early governors of Illinois, actually freed his slaves when he left Virginia (although he too was for the exportation scheme). Rives was perhaps the most Madisonian of the disciples. After actually voting for Jackson's Force Bill as a Virginia senator he was exposed to all sorts of verbal and even physical abuse (p.337). Rives was to live until the late 1860s. His life and thinking are the subject of McCoy's final chapter. This is arguably the richest part of this book although it defies (for me) easy exposition.
McCoy brings out much of the tensions that existed toward slavery in Madison's variant of republicanism. It was never admitted but in many ways the slaves served as the underclass that was needed to do the lowest tasks of society. They were also easy to justify excluding from the governance of the "democratic republic" (p.349-350). Madison never ceased to deny this. In this sense (alone), Calhoun was more honest.
I know I have gone on too long but this is a very rich book. To be honest, I wish McCoy would consider expanding it into a multi-volume biography of Madison. We need a new standard biography that reflects the scholarly endeavors of recent decades.
But for anyone who wants to understand the rich complex imperfect thought of the greatest theoretical politician America has ever produced, this book is a necessary read.

1-0 out of 5 stars too much citing
I found this book horribly written. For any amazing president who helped to mold our nation, this author certainly did not portray Madison this way. I've read a number of books about other historical figure that all managed to capture the time and person, but this one did not. The only people who will probably pore over this book with slight interest will be the students that have assigned for class.

5-0 out of 5 stars an informative study
This is a fine work of scholarship in the area of intellectual history.McCoy offers a penetrating exposition of the ideas of one of this country's most important intellectuals, and explores Madison's great achievements as well as some of the disturbing contradictions within his thought, especially concerning the question of slavery.

Madison, of course, opposed slavery, but had great fears about the dangers of emancipation, and thus ended up endorsing colonization, a position now long since discredited.McCoy's treatment of this issue is insightful and relevant to any discussion of the later sectional crisis. The contradiction between slavery and the principles of American republicanism were real, as Madison understood very well, and ultimately were more or less resolved in the kind of war that Madison had feared.

Madison's concerns about the importance of public support for education, and the opportunities and dangers of industrialization and unemployment reveal a man both principled and pragmatic in his approach to new developments in the rapidly growing Republic. McCoy shows us an intellectually vigorous Madison who was skeptical about human nature, committed to republican institutions, and alert to the need to accommodate the new realities created by social and economic change. In McCoy's treatment, Madison was a principled thinker, but never an ideologue who might prefer the consistency of a philosophical system over the experience of reality.

McCoy's chapter on Madison's view of the 1832-1833 nullification crisis is also especially informative.Although Madison is often cited as a supporter of state nullification, based on a careless reading of his 1798 Virginia Resolution (that is often paired with Jefferson's more explicitly nullificationist 1798 Kentucky Resolution), in fact Madison was opposed to the South Carolina anti-tariff movement, and argued that while high tariffs might be a bad idea, they were not unconstitutional -- indeed, "no great constitutional question" was involved.

Worse, according to McCoy, Madison feared that the logic of nullification would lead to "a rupture of the Union; a Southern confederacy; mutual enmity with the Northern; the most dreadful animosities and border wars, springing from the case of slaves; rival alliances abroad; standing armies at home, to be supported by internal taxes; and federal Governments, with powers of a more consolidating and monarchical tendency than the greatest jealousy has charged on the existing systems" (Madison, quoted in McCoy, p. 134).

The book is well-documented from primary sources -- especially letters and personal papers -- but it would be nice if McCoy had included at the conclusion a complete bibliography, along with some commentary on how his findings related to the current literature on Madison, but that is a quibble; this is not a doctoral dissertation but a serious study, accessible to the ordinary reader, of a key founder of the Republic whose adult life spanned the colonial period in the 1770s though the Jacksonian era in the 1830s.

Madison, for all his strengths and limitations, remains one of the great political thinkers in American, and indeed, world, history.He is justly seen as the father of the Constitution.This book is a great introduction to the ideas and experience of "the last of the fathers."

5-0 out of 5 stars The Last of the Fathers
When reading the book you get the feeling that James Madison was thinking of how to preserve the actions and thoughts of the new republic founders.Madison lived longer than most of the founding fathers and saw the transition and change of the U.S. government.

The Father of the Constitution out lived both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson by 10 years and saw the new government he had worked hard to preserve, now threatened.Slavery was only one of his worries...Madison sought to stabilize a fragile system of politics that threatened to crack the national unity.

Madison was a shy man, but when the time arose he was a most ardent supporter of the republican faith.People asked Madison on how to fashion their government... he inturn would espouse the need for the study of history.The history of the founding and the ideals that sprung forth to birth a great nation.

This approach moved him away from the mainstream of public attention, all along wanting the public attention to focus on the nation as a whole.

This book is a good study into Madison the man, from his early days as a young Revolutionary to his last years caught in the moral dilemma of abolitionism and proslavery arguments.Later in our history we shall see Madison's thoughts come to life.

We read a lot of Madison's letters on these subjects and others, thereby giving us a good look into Madison the man... character and temperament struggling to resolve these issues.

If one is into reading about the Founding Fathers and their times, thoughts and tribulations; this is a good book to read.I found this book to be interesting with good flowing narative, well documented and useful.

Read it and enjoy... I did ... Read more

13. James Madison's "Advice to My Country"
by James Madison
Hardcover: 119 Pages (1997-04)
list price: US$19.50 -- used & new: US$13.92
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Asin: 0813917174
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

The "Father of the U.S. Constitution" and the fourth U.S.President, James Madison, left behind voluminous writings ongovernment, human rights, and human nature. In this compendium ofbrief excerpts from his essays (including those of The Federalist)and speeches, Madison's thoughtful nature, humanity, and wit shinethrough. Designed as a ready reference to Madison's thought, theexcerpted writings tend to be brief, but they are not in any way shallow.Indeed, Madison possessed the gift of saying much in succinct andthoughtful prose, and the brevity of some of the selections accentuatetheir power. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Madison's advice to his country
This book compiles very short quotes of Madison's on many different issues. This is a very convenient and rather short book. This is no way a comprehensive book, but rather a good reference. If you want a comprehensive book about Madison and his beliefs I would strongly recommend Ralph Ketchan's biography which is one of the best overall bios on Madison. Overall I give "Advice to My Country" 4 stars because it is a good and easy reference but nothing more. Hope this review is helpful.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful
Madison's thoughts of many subjects from democracy to religion are insightful because it shows what the father of our Constitution believed. I would recommend it for anybody who loves Madison. ... Read more

14. James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic (Library of American Biography Series) (3rd Edition)
by Jack Rakove
Paperback: 288 Pages (2006-04-02)
list price: US$20.67 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: 032143076X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description

In James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jack Rakove examines the life and legacy of one of the founding fathers of the United States.

Paperback, brief, and inexpensive, each of the titles in the Library of American Biography Series focuses on a figure whose actions and ideas significantly influenced the course of American history and national life. In addition, each biography relates the life of its subject to the broader themes and developments of the times.

Clear and concise, this biography considers Madison’s life in the larger context of revolutionary and early America.

James Madison, Continental Congress, The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, The American Presidency

Readers interested in James Madison, the early American Presidency, and/or the founding of the United States.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
Rakove gives the reader a concise & readable account of the life of this central figure of the American founding.A breeze to read, but doesn't shortchange the reader in terms of insight & rigor.The capstone chapter "The Legacy of the Founder" is alone worth the price of the whole volume.For those interested in the creation of the Constitution, I would suggest reading this book after one of the shorter histories of the Constitutional Convention (I prefer Berkin's "A Brilliant Solution", but there are several very good ones out there), then turning to Rakove's magnificent "Original Meanings".

1-0 out of 5 stars I need an advil
I had to read this for a college course.Now, I consider myself a well-read person.I have read Tolstoy, I have read Thackery.Neither of them made me want to smash my head against my desk to end the misery like this book did.If you are a die-hard James Madison fan, you just might enjoy this book.Otherwise, you just might end up like me, i.e. with a great need for headache medicine and possibly a match.

5-0 out of 5 stars Biography of a Man and his Ideas
This short little book chronicles two things, though in sketches only: the life of James Madison and the story of his ideas.With this book Rakove does and excellent job of capturing both.

Rakove follows Madison through his service to the Virginia House, where he wrote a landmark bill separating church from state in his home state.After that we follow Madison to the Continental Congress and then the U.S. congress, where he takes the lead in drafting what would become the United States Constitution.Rakove then gives a tour of Madison's role in the early years of the Federal government, in the House and then as secretary of state and then president.While these were certainly tumultuous years, especially during the War of 1812, where there was legitimate concern about the survival of the Union, Madison was able to weather it all while holding close to his political principles.

These principles included an attachment to individual and minority rights and the preservation of the Federal Union above all.This little book gives and excellent depiction of those principles in action.I highly recommend it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Fine book impossibly packaged
I never thought I would write something like this, but it must be said. I buy hundreds of books a year and this work was unique. A fine book fatally flawed in its physical execution, and monumentally overpriced. Rakov, Amazon, and publishers take note. This shameful 'product' might have been acceptable even with its extravagent price were it not for the disgraceful binding that ran the text into the tightly bound spine. Books are meant to read, not wrestled. I had to return my copy because of this bit of publishing garbage - which cost me the postage. Shame on you all.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very well-written short biography of Madison
Initially, I had reservations about reading such a short book on such a complex and important figure as James Madison.Indeed, there are aspects of Madison's life that Rakove should have written more, particularly Madison's personal life and his famous, life-of-the-party wife, Dolly.

On the other hand, the book spends a lot of time on Madison's role during the Revolution and his role in creating the Constitution.Writing about these important subjects is potentially very difficult, very tedious and complex.And to his credit, Rakove does a good job making the pages easy to read and thoughtful.

The section on the War of 1812, which was conducted while Madison was president and almost ruined the country, was rivetting.I imagine a longer book would have spent even more time on this subject, not to take anything away from Rakove's coverage.

Ideally, Madison should be covered in a much more substantial book, like Ketcham's, but the reviews of Ketcham's book weren't all that good from Amazon readers, so I chose Rakove's book.It so happens, that hidden in the middle of a large list of sources at the end of his book, Rakove mentions that the Ketcham book is the best single volume work on Madison.

Additionaly, a docent at Mountpelier left a review of Ketcham's book saying that it is excellent.It is heavily used and bookmarked at Montpelier...so the Ketcham book is probably OK to read, if you want a more substantial read.It may even be excellent.

Lastly, Rakove's book was easy to read as a whole and relatively "complete".More importantly, even though some subjects could have been fleshed out more, the most important subjects were covered well.This wasn't a shallow book.There was a lot of primary source material that was very well integrated.It is a very well-written and researched book.

4 and 1/2 stars is probably more like it, but we'll round up to 5 based on quality. ... Read more

15. James Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 and Their Relation to a More Perfect Society of Nations
by James Brown Scott, James Madison
Hardcover: 149 Pages (2001-09)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$65.00
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Asin: 158477164X
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Scott, James Brown. James Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 and their Relation to a More Perfect Society of Nations. New York: Oxford University Press, 1918. xviii, 149pp. Reprinted 2001 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.ISBN 1-58477-164-X. Cloth. $65. Scott examines Madison's notes on the Federal Convention of 1787 from the perspective that the Federal Convention of 1787 "was in fact as well as in form an international conference" (from the Preface) and therefore views the Constitution as an international document. In the Harvard Law Review, Henry Wolf Bikle called the work "...an excellent resume of the history of the Federal Convention of 1787, primarily in the light of Madison's Notes of the Debates." Harvard Law Review 33:744. Marke, A Catalogue of the Law Collection at New York University (1953) 380. ... Read more

16. The Presidency of James Madison (American Presidency Series)
by Robert Allen Rutland
Hardcover: 240 Pages (1990-04)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$25.10
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Asin: 0700604650
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
Henry Adams portrayed James Madison as a weak president who lacked both decisiveness and administrative skills. For a century, most historians accepted Adams's assessment.

In this study of the fourth presidency distinguished historian Robert Rutland paints a more complicated portrait. Rutland, former editor-in-chief of the Madison Papers, sees Madison as a bookish, practical statesman who worked furiously to avoid conflicts in his cabinet and in Congress. When he finally realized England would not be swayed by economic pressure, he boldly led the nation into a second war for independence that allowed the United States to emerge with a renewed sense of dignity and purpose.

Rutland's lively narrative covers all major events of the Madison administration, including the War of 1812 and the push for national expansion. It provides a fresh interpretation not only of the contribution of Madison's presidency, but also of the "master builder of the Constitution" himself. Madison emerges neither as the weakling painted by Henry Adams nor as a demigod, but rather as a man who attempted to be the president envisioned at the Constitutional Convention and who achieved his highest priority, to strengthen the Union.

This book is part of the American Presidency Series. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An account of a nation becoming an international power
Writing after the fact, historians often conclude that a war was preventable. This is generally false, as the dispassionate writer is removed from the context of the times. The war in 1812 between the United States and Great Britain has often been viewed as a pointless, forgettable war, yet in fact it had enormous consequences. The war was the defining moment of the Madison presidency and a significant break from the policy of the previous Jefferson and early Madison administrations. In describing the war, Rutland is masterful in describing the context and emotions of the times, the combination of which caused a war that was inevitable.
At the time, the Napoleonic wars were raging on the European continent and both Britain and France sought to wring every advantage they could out of what they considered an upstart nation. For years, Jefferson and Madison tried every tactic they could short of war in an attempt to delay a call to arms. Finally, national pride won out over all other factors and the war began. Madisonýs conduct of the war was not nearly as effective as it could have been, and yet the tie was all that was needed. James Monroe, the successor to Madison, enunciated what is now known as the Monroe doctrine, which warned all nations to avoid colonization efforts in the Western Hemisphere. With little American sea power to back it up, it was the first example of cooperation between Britain and the United States, as the enforcement was due to the power of the British navy. It is doubtful that this could have happened without the war.
The ways in which Rutland places the war in the context of power struggles in Europe and in the United States is masterful, as he describes how fragmented the United States was in those years. It is also possible to see the seeds of an eventual split and internal war, not over the issue of slavery, but over commercial and social differences.
In so many ways, Madisonýs best years were behind him when he became president. And yet, his handling of the war of 1812 was most likely the best that could have been done, as he sought to defend a fractious nation against an old foe who afterward became a staunch ally. For that reason alone, his administration should be considered a success and this book is the most realistic appraisal of his years in the White House that I have ever seen. ... Read more

17. James Madison: The Founding Father
by Robert Allen Rutland
Paperback: 287 Pages (1997-09)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
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Asin: 0826211410
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Too brief to be interesting
I did not really care for this book.Rutland makes the premise that Madison was THE founding father implying that he was the most important.He finishes the book with a quote from JFK that Madison was the most under-rated president yet the book dedicates less than 40 pages to the presidency of James Madison. In those 40 pages, I did not gleam anything that Madison did exceptionally well - it all sounded pretty bad to me.I believe the point that Rutland was trying to make is that Madison was not Jefferson's crony and that it was Madison who actually shaped the early Republican party (early version of today's Democratic Party).This was a point well taken and I might accept that Madison was Jefferson's superior.At that same time, I remain unconvinced that he was THE founding father with such peers as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin.Important yes but...

The failed argument of Madison's superiority aside, I found the book to brief to be interesting.James Madison was a central figure in the formation of our country, the formation of party politics, and the early days of the republic and to try and tell the story of his entire life in a 250 page book is simply impossible.Many important stories that I have previously enjoyed in book volume detail were reduced to a sentence or two in Rutland's book.

I think this book perfect for a high school student who needs a quick read for a research project but has no real interest in the life and career of James Madison.For a history nut like me, it is a bit too much like reading an encyclopedia.

4-0 out of 5 stars A New View Of James Madison
Read the title: "James Madison: The Founding Father" focuses on Madison's role in the founding of our country.Here we learn little of Madison's youth and upbringing.Although Dolly plays a role in this book, it is a relatively minor part.

This book explains Madison's role in the development and ratification of the Constitution, including his authorship of some of the Federalist Papers.The narration of Madison's leadership in the early Democratic-Republican Party can change the reader's view of history.Whereas we usually think of Thomas Jefferson as founder of the Democratic-Republican Party, Rutland makes a strong case that it was really Madison who united and organized the party from his seat in the House of Representatives.Much as Alexander Hamilton founded the party which elected John Adams, so it can be said that James Madison founded the party which chose Thomas Jefferson as its first standard bearer.

Rutland progresses through Madison's term as Secretary of State and even puts a favorable spin on his two terms as president.This is no easy task, considering that the British burned the White House and Capitol on his watch.

Rutland follows the wind down of Madison's career with his post-White House collaboration in the establishment of the University of Virginia.

I appreciate books which enable me to see things differently.This book meets that test.I had always thought of Madison as, so to speak, Jefferson's underling and less talented successor.Through Robert Rutland's eyes we see him as one of the most influential and talented men of the early Republic.Madison comes across, as a practical political operative, the equal of Hamilton and, in result at least, perhaps his better.In the title, Rutland tells us that James Madison is The Founding Father.In the book he proves it.

3-0 out of 5 stars James Madison just wasn't cool...
not like Jefferson & Hamilton or celebrated like Washington & Franklin. My fellow reviewers seemed disappointed in this as a biography. But it was not Mr. Rutland's purpose to write a personal story of Mr. Madison's life although his later years were covered quite well. I amglad, however, I took the easy way out by listening to the audio version (unedited). It was as if I was in Mr. Rutland's class as he was giving a lecture. The years after The Revolutionary War, The Federalist Papers, The Constitution & The Bill of Rights, are the real meat of this book. Madison's behind the scenes leadership in Congress was consummate. If we do not appreciate how important he was200 years later, it seems that he contemporaries did.To his sorrow he was, with Jefferson, responsible for creating the two party system we now operate under. That he wanted to heed Washington's advice against the party system is evident. But he found this advice quickly outdated. As a result Washington, & to a lesser extent Adams were the only unaffiliated presidents in our history. Happily, none of this two-party stuff is cluttering up our Consititution. As Secretary of State under Jefferson & President on his own he was unremarkable. Any one could have mucked things up as well as he did. Indeed his best years were his early years. What seemed to me remarkable was the love, respect & friendship that existed between Madison & Jefferson all of their adult lives. It was an alliance of two great men that never wavered & recreated the "republican"type government of ancient Greece. Mr Rutland was obviously impressed by this relationship & alludes to it several times.I appreciate biographies that teach me something about history I didn't know. How great is this book? Hard to say. But it fit the bill.

2-0 out of 5 stars Falls Short
If you are looking for a biography of James Madison, look elsewhere. Rutland's subtitle, "The Founding Father," makes it clear what this book is about: Madison's participation in the creation and passage of the constitution and the Bill of Rights. Although it does cover most of his life, the focus is definitely on Madison's role as founding father.

The book deals with the major issues of Madison's political life, often in too minute detail, but does not satisfy the biographical aspects of his life. There is absolutely no mention, for example, of Madison's birth date, or even the year he was born in! Further, the book failed completely to engage me. I set it aside for weeks at a time before I finally finished if off, despite its modest size.

2-0 out of 5 stars A guy who peaked early
I picked up this book because I was to attend a conference on Madison and wanted to know something more than the murky recollection I had from school of this less well known "founding father." I was fascinated to learn how it came to pass that after initially opposing the Bill of Rights Madison was the guy who actually got it through the first Congress. The early years were interesting, but this book rather quickly turned into a rather bewildering discussion of the ins and outs of trade with Europe and the problems that led up to the War of 1812--which sounded like a totally forgettable incident in American history. Madison was by and large an untalented president--his greatest achievements were complete by the time he was 30--the Bill of Rights and, before then, the Federalist Papers. Maybe the book went downhill with the career of its subject, but I thought the writing could have been a lot clearer and a few sentences of background information each time a new subject was introduced would have helped this book alot. ... Read more

18. From Parchment to Power: How James Madison Used the Bill of Rights to Save the Constitution
by Robert A. Goldwin
Paperback: 250 Pages (1997-06)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.70
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Asin: 0844740136
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This book tells how the Bill of Rights was amended to the Constitution and explains how that addition completed the Constitution by clarifying the status of the American people. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Explanation
A truly wonderful, easy to read portrayal of Mr. Madison, a federalist who saw the political advantage to a Bill of Rights and undertook the task to write the amendments that saved the Constitution.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lacks Critical Analysis of Madison's Ideas
The author is to be commended for writing about a an important event in our nation's history -- the formation of the Bill of Rights -- that has to date been the subject of very few book-length studies. While I liked much of the historical account, it seems to me that the treatment of James Madison's ideas was lacking in some respects.

Goldwin argues that Madison's principal purpose in proposing the Bill of Rights was political. Madison, Goldwin says, was concerned about Anti-Federalist opposition to the Constitution and the risk that the Anti-Federalists would succeed in calling a second constitutional convention that might undo all of the important structural features of the Constitution. Goldwin believes that Madison hoped to steal the Anti-Federalists' thunder by offering amendments whose substance was uncontroversial, but whose inclusion would help solidify support for the new Constitution in a public that was still nervous about the way it centralized national power.

Goldwin reinforces his argument about Madison's political motivations by suggesting that Madison regarded a Bill of Rights as being practically useless in preventing governments from encroaching on the liberties of its citizens. Instead, according to the author, Madison thought that the structural elements of the Constitution (separation of powers, bicameral legislature, etc.) afforded the best mechanism for securing rights against infringement by the majority. Goldwin goes so far as to suggest repeatedly that Madison was willing to propose a Bill of Rights precisely because he believed it would "leave the original Constitution unchanged . . . ." (p. 101; see also p. 153).

Goldwin may be right about Madison's political motivations in proposing a Bill of Rights; others have drawn similar conclusions. But the author's positive assessment of Madison's ideas about the intrinsic inefficacy of a Bill of Rights is unpersuasive. If Madison truly believed that including specific restraints on governmental power in a written constitution would do little directly to advance the cause of freedom, and that the Constitution as originally written would serve those ends well, in my view he was fundamentally mistaken. It is certainly true that the will of the majority would be frustrated less often if we had no Bill of Rights, or if the Judiciary had no power to enforce its provisions. But it is precisely for that reason that the freedoms set forth in the Bill of Rights would have been less secure if they had never been made a part of the Constitution.

In light of the widely held contemporary view that the Bill of Rights is an essential (even if sometimes misused) restraint on governmental power, this book would have been better if, instead of uncritically praising Madison's contrary view, Goldwin had subjected it to searching analysis. Madison's view of the role of the judiciary in enforcing the Bill of Rights, a subject not even broached in this book, would in my view be central to such an analysis. Raoul Berger pointed out in an article written several years ago that during the debates over the ratification of the original Constitution in Virginia, Madison joined John Marshall (who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) in maintaining that the Judiciary had this power. And in his speech to the First Congress proposing a Bill of Rights, Madison (echoing Jefferson's sentiments in a letter written to him from France) asserted that "independent tribunals of justice will consider themselves in a peculiar manner the guardians of those rights." Madison's support for some form of judicial review is also evidenced in statements he made in the Philadelphia Convention and in The Federalist Nos. 39 and 44. Since Madison believed that the courts would have a large responsibility for enforcing the Bill of Rights, then a question which needs to be addressed is why he nevertheless regarded the amendments as a mere "parchment barrier." And what makes the other, structural elements of the Constitution which Madison looked to as the main protector of our liberties (e.g., separation of powers, limitation of Congress to enumerated powers) anything more than "parchment barriers" themselves? Finally, it would have been useful to consider not only what Madison thought immediately before and after the formation of the Constitution, but also the extent to which his views may have changed as he observed the Constitution in operation over the course of his long political career.

I also think that Goldwin's insistence that both the Federalists (including Madison) and the Anti-Federalists believed that the Amendments "changed nothing in the Constitution" (p. 177) is misleading. This characterization not only distorts the views of both groups and obscures their important philosophic differences, but also trivializes the subtantive import of the Bill of Rights. How can it be said, for example, that the privilege against self-incrimination set forth in the Fifth Amendment "changed nothing," when in its absence Congress would have been able to compel the defendant to testify in a federal criminal proceeding? ... Read more

19. The Political Philosophy of James Madison (The Political Philosophy of the American Founders)
by Garrett Ward Sheldon
Hardcover: 160 Pages (2000-10-17)
list price: US$48.00 -- used & new: US$48.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0801864798
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Among the founders, James Madison wielded the greatest influence in drafting the Constitution of 1789. In this book, Garrett Ward Sheldon offers a concise synthesis of Madison's political philosophy in the context of the social and political history of his day.

Tracing the history of Madison's thought to his early education in Protestant theology, Sheldon argues that it was a fear of the potential "tyranny of the majority" over individual rights, along with a firmly Calvinist suspicion of the motives of sinful men, that led him to support a constitution creating a strong central government with power over state laws. In this way, Madison aimed to protect individual liberties and provide checks to "spiteful" human interests and selfish parochial prejudices. Among the topics Sheldon covers are Madison's Princeton education, his contributions to the Federalist Papers, his arguments in defense of states' rights on behalf of Virginia, his views on federal power during his terms as secretary of state and president, and, in his later years, his defense of the Union against those Southerners who advocated nullification.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Unexplored Avenues
Sheldon explores an area of Madison's life most just generalize - his early education.Frustrated by the lack of direct Madison writings covering this early period, many authors choose simply to generalize his educational process.Sheldon uses evidence we do have about the people (John Witherspoon) and institutions (College of New Jersey) to help better define what shaped this Founding Father.Very helpful in understanding what motivated Madison - especially the time spent under the strong Calvinist influence of John Witherspoon and the College of New Jersey (Princeton).

3-0 out of 5 stars Stimulating Treatise
Garret Sheldon's short work opens up a door previously pointed out by Katcham, in which Ketcham specified Madison amongst others believed the Ten Commandments, Sermon on the Mount,and Romans to be canonical. As most of Madison's personal papers may have been destroyed this work offers an insight not frequently explored, but certainly worthy of consideration. ... Read more

20. James Madison (Presidents)
by Neil D. Bramwell
Library Binding: 48 Pages (2003-06)
list price: US$25.26 -- used & new: US$17.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0766051293
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