U.S. Presidents / James Madison

James Madison

1751 - 1836

James Madison

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. Federalist Papers, #51


Like his close friend Thomas Jefferson, James Madison came from a prosperous family of Virginia planters, received an excellent education, 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 small in stature. His soft spoken, shy demeanor was a foil for his brilliant persistence in advocating his political agenda. Madison emerged as a respected leader of the congress, known for his hard work and careful preparation.

Fast Facts

James Madison
Port Conway, Virginia
College of New Jersey (now Princeton University, graduated 1771)
Politician, Planter
"Father of the Constitution”
September 15, 1794, to Dolley Payne Todd (1768–1849)
Montpelier, Orange County, Virginia
J.C.A. Stagg

Chicago Style

Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “James Madison.” Accessed June 13, 2024. https://prod.millercenter.org/president/madison.

Professor of History

J.C.A. Stagg

Professor Stagg is the editor-in-chief of the Papers of James Madison Project and a history professor at the University of Virginia.