James Madison was the fourth American president, the writer of the first drafts of the U.S. Constitution, and the founder of the Democratic-Republican party. James Madison was just 5 feet and 4 inches tall, and prone to fits of epilepsy.Continue Reading
Madison was born in 1751 in Virginia and attended the College of New Jersey (since renamed Princeton University). Due to his frailness, Madison opted for a political instead of a military career, and represented Orange County during the Virginia Constitution Convention.
After the American Revolution, Madison returned to Virginia politics and wrote a religious freedom statute, although he was soon called back to help draft the Constitution. The initial form of government for the United States, the Articles of Confederation, had proven to be ineffective by 1787, and Madison led the charge for creating a new system, leading to his nickname of "Father of the Constitution."
After serving as the Secretary of State during Jefferson's presidency, Madison became President in the election of 1808. Madison's term in office saw the War of 1812 and a re-election victory over DeWitt Clinton. After his term in office, Madison returned to his estate of Montpelier, remaining active in civil causes and in the administration of the University of Virginia. Madison's estate, Montpelier, is now open to the public.Learn more about US History