James Madison is most widely known as the father of the Constitution. It is a title “deeply deserved on many accounts” (Wills 37). Although his many achievements at times are overshadowed by his work on the Constitution, Madison’s life reflects a legislative talent (Wills 3). Through his interest in politics, he was able to shape the forming nation. Education, illness, and religion dominated the beginning of James Madison’s life; the experiences enabled Madison to write the Constitution as well as a number of influential essays in response to his views on the incompetent confederacy. Madison challenged the ideas of the Anti-federalists through his strong arguments and rhetoric, while leaving behind a balance between central government and individual rights, as well as the idea of being an American.
Madison’s education revolved around his bad health, which often dictated where he studied. Madison believed he would “ have a short life due to the illness he believed was epilepsy and actively tried to monitor and control breakdowns” (Wills 7). As a child, Madison was “frequently confined to the sick bed” and he “formed studious habits, developing an early love of scholarly investigation and contemplation” (Sheldon 3). While the young Madison stayed at home, his religious grandmother took on his education by using books from his father’s library and purchasing the British magazine, Spectator (Sheldon 3-4). After learning valuable lessons through her teaching, he moved on to attend school for five years at the King and Queen County Anglican School, later returning home in order to monitor his health (Wills 15). Madison’s desire for knowledge led him to study at P...
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...Inaugural Address. New York: The Library of America. 1999.
Madison’s address to the country, informing the people of his goals while in office.
Madison, James. Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention of Ratification and Amendments. New York: The Library of America. 1999.
A speech aimed at convincing the state of Virginia to give the ninth vote for ratification.
Peterson, Merrill D. ed. The Founding Fathers: James Madison A Biography in His Own Words. Vol. 1. New York: Newsweek, inc. 1974.
A biography of Madison’s life.
Sheldon, Garrett Ward. The Political Philosophy of James Madison. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press. 2001.
An analysis on the factors in Madison’s life that shaped his ideals.
Wills, Garry. James Madison. New York: Times Books. 2002.
A biography focusing on Madison’s Presidential years.
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