Scramblin' thru... the U.S. Presidents
"The Father of the Constitution"
"His Little Majesty"
"The Sage of Montpelier"
Election of 1808
Election of 1812
A Presidential Life in Review
James Madison was a Founding Father of the United States and the 4th U.S. President from 1809 to 1817. An advocate for a strong Federal Government, the Virginia-born Madison composed the first drafts of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and earned the nickname "The Father of the Constitution". In 1792, Madison and Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican Party, which has been called America's first political party. When Jefferson became the 3rd U.S. President, Madison served as his Secretary of State. In this role, he oversaw the Louisiana Purchase from the French in 1803. Later, during his own Presidency, Madison led the U.S. into the controversial War of 1812 against Britain. After two terms, Madison retired to his Virginia plantation, Montpelier, with his wife Dolley. He remained active in various civic causes, and in 1826 became rector of the University of Virginia, which was founded by his friend Thomas Jefferson. Madison died at Montpelier in 1836 at the age of 85. Source: The History Channel
Click here to learn more about the C-SPAN Survey
James Madison Fun Facts
At just 5'4" tall and 99lbs, Madison was the shortest and lightest U.S. President. (You would need three-and-a-half Madisons to make up one William H. Taft, the heaviest U.S. President, who tipped the scales at 332lbs.)
Madison was the first President to wear trousers rather than knee breeches.
Madison was the first of 12 children, five of whom died in infancy or childhood.
Growing up, Madison's family called him "Jemmy" so as not to confuse him with his father, James Madison, Sr.
Seventeen U.S. Presidents did not have middle names. Madison was one of them.
Madison was related to George Washington, who was his half first cousin twice removed... whatever that means. Madison and Zachary Taylor were also related (second cousins).
Madison appears on the $5,000 bill, which was last printed in 1934. Currently, only 342 $5,000 bills exist.
Madison was one heck of a writer. To his credit are the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Bill of Rights, several of the Federalist Papers (that argued in favor of ratifying the Constitution), and the Virginia Resolution (that put forth the concept of nullification against any unjust Federal laws). Constitution-smonsitution, yes he has an impressive resume, but did Madison get an "A" on his "To Kill a Mockingbird" essay in 9th grade?
When the British marched on Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812, they burned many important buildings, including the Navy Yards, the unfinished U.S. Congress Building, the Treasury Building... and the White House. Madison's wife, Dolley, saved the large portrait of Washington as she fled. The inside of the White House was destroyed, and the exterior walls were badly charred. After the fire, Madison lived in the Octagon House before moving back into the partially reconstructed White House in 1817. Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT where the White House got its name. A myth emerged in 1811 that during the rebuilding of the structure after the fire, white paint was applied to mask the burn damage it had suffered, giving the building its namesake hue. The name "Executive Mansion" was used in reference to the White House until President Theodore Roosevelt established the formal name by having "White House–Washington" engraved on the stationery in 1901.
Both of Madison's Vice Presidents died while in office. George Clinton died in 1812, so Madison finished out his first term as President without a VP. In 1814, Elbridge Gerry died, leaving Madison without a VP for the rest of his second term as President.
Madison was the first U.S. President to have been a Congressman before becoming President. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives and represented Virginia.
During the American Revolution, Madison was afraid that the wrong people might read his letters. As a result, he used a secret code when he wrote to Thomas Jefferson and other friends.
Madison's last words were, "I always talk better lying down." He was the last of the Founding Fathers when he passed in 1836 at the age of 85.