James Madison

In office: 1809-1817

James Madison (1751 – 1836)

Just like the presidents before him, James Madison, the fourth President of the United States of America, was a former leader of the independency movement. Since he moved to the Democratic Republican Party in 1771 due to his discontent with the federalist financial politics he was one of the cofounders of the Republican Party of which Thomas Jefferson was a member to that time as well!

Madison developed the so called “Virginia Plan” in which the basic principles of the US government system were originated in. He had suggested that the government should be bicameralism, which today is representative in the House of Representatives and Senate. From 1801 to 1809 Madison was Jefferson’s state secretary. He won the presidential elections in 1808 against federalist Charles C. Pinckney with 64.7% to 32.4%.

Madison was elected for a total of two ministries starting in 1809 until 1817. In the very first of his ministry trading with the French and British became illegal. In May of 1810 this embargo was taken back by the congress however. Furthermore, during his presidency the British American War (1812-1814) was declared and was mostly fought over the occupation of Canada. The US had to face multiple defeats. There was nothing Madison could do but watch when the Capitol and the White House in Washington D.C. were set on fire by the British, for example. Just before Christmas of 1814 he Madison was capable of making peace with them.

In the years after his presidency he supported Jefferson, who he had been friends with for many years, planning out the University of Virginia. He was furthermore and advisor of the future president James Monroe. His political comeback and last political performance at the same time was at the constitutional convention in Virginia in 1829.

Today’s capital of the US state Wisconsin was named after Madison just like several counties in different other states.

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

Dolley Payne Todd Madison

Dolley Payne Todd Madison was one of the most important woman and well known in America’s Society. Until today she remains the first lady, who was loved by almost everyone.

In 1790 she got married to a lawyer named John Todd Jr. who died only 3 years later leaving Dolley and their little son.

James Madison and Dolley had known each other for 17 years before they got married in September 1794. They did not have any children, but James Madison accepted her son from the first marriage and was very patient with him.

The beautiful Martha had a great interest in fashion and always carefully chose what to wear. Her home became the centre of the Society and Dolley helped in the White House whenever the president needed her.

Her hospitality and friendliness made her very famous and everyone was welcome in her home. In 1812 she had to flee during the war and when she came back, her home was destroyed.

After her husband died in 1836 she returned to the capital in 1837 and was supported by her friends until her death in 1949.

Back