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 James Madison

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James Madison

  • Birth 16 Mar 1751 Port Conway, King George County, Virginia, USA
  • Death 28 Jun 1836 Montpelier Station, Orange County, Virginia, USA
  • Burial Montpelier Station, Orange County, Virginia, USA
  • Memorial ID 661

4th United States President. He was the co-author of the Federalist Papers and Father of the American Constitution. He was born in Port Conway, Virginia on a plantation to a wealthy father and a mother the daughter of a rich tobacco merchant. He was sickly suffering from seizures which would plague him throughout his life. James Madison married Dorothea Dandling Payne (Dolley Madison) in 1794. As chief executive throughout the War of 1812, he displayed little understanding of military matters. The British were seizing cargoes from American owned ships. Madison caved to the pressure and asked Congress to declare war. Despite his poor record James Madison is nevertheless remembered: His administration gave the country a new identity with an upsurge of nationalism, enduring slogans like the Star Spangled Banner, Don't give up the ship, FreeTrade and sailor's Rights; historic events such as Perry and the victory on Lake Erie, Andrew Jackson and New Orleans and the US Constitution with its many victories. She was dubbed "Old Iron sides," is preserved as a national treasure and can be seen today. It was on his watch that British burned the public buildings of Washington, D.C. He was influenced by his Secretary of War who insisted Washington was not a target of the British. The aging President died quietly at breakfast in his room where he was confined for chronic rheumatism and liver dysfunction at the age of eighty-five. A small gathering of slaves, and family friends witnessed his burial the next day at the family cemetery located on the estate. Many physical legacy reminders remain today: The little farmhouse where he was born, long since razed has only an historic marker to indicate the spot which is near the large plantation mansion "Montpelier," which is the lifelong home of James Madison as well as three generations of the family. The mansion core was constructed by his father. Today, the property is owned and exhibited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Octagon Home in Washington DC located a few blocks from the White House was the Madison's temporary home after the burning of the White House. He signed the Treaty of Ghent in the upstairs parlor which declared England and America at peace. The James Madison Museum is located in Orange, Virginia and contains the nation's best collection of Madison artifacts. The Madison Family Cemetery is stunning as well as historic. It is surrounded by a brick wall with an iron gate marked simply Madison. It is accessible by a dirt road , very isolated and not much changed from the days of the President. It not only is the final resting place of the last founding father who formulated the Constitution but Dolley who was returned in death, penniless, after a massive state funeral in Washington DC. This is the place where John Quincy Adams came to deliver a public oration lauding the man for his service to the fledging nation.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 661
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Madison (16 Mar 1751–28 Jun 1836), Find A Grave Memorial no. 661, citing Montpelier Estate National Historic Site, Montpelier Station, Orange County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .