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4th U.S. President James Madison

About the fourth President of the United States James Madison, his birth, death, biography, description, facts and quotes.

4th President JAMES MADISON

Born: March 16, 1751, at Port Conway, Va.

Died: June 28, 1836, at Montpelier, the Virginia estate that had been his home for 85 years.

Career: Princeton graduate, revolutionary activist, but too frail to enlist in the Continental Army. Elected to Virginia legislature at 25, delegate to Continental Congress, leading figure at Constitutional Convention ("Father of the Constitution"), coauthor of The Federalist papers, member of House of Representatives, organizer of Democratic-Republican party, Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson.

Personal Life: A lonely bachelor till age 43, when Sen. Aaron Burr introduced him to a merry widow named Dolley Todd. The lively and popular Dolley often overshadowed her soft-spoken husband. Their marriage was childless.

His Person: Madison was 5'4" tall and weighed under 100 lbs. Washington Irving described him as "a withered little apple-John." His popular nickname, "Jemmy," emphasized both his small stature and his boyish subservience to his friend Jefferson.

Elections: As Jefferson's personal choice and the candidate of the Democratic-Republicans, Madison rolled to easy victory in 1808 over the declining Federalists and their candidate, C. C. Pinckney: 122 electoral votes to 47. Four years later, however, Madison's controversial decision to enter the War of 1812 had breathed new life into the Federalist party, and DeWitt Clinton, with Federalist support, drew 89 votes to Madison's 128. A switch of one hotly contested State (Pennsylvania) would have defeated Madison.

Term of Office: March 4, 1809-March 4, 1817 (8 years).

Little-Known Facts: Both of Madison's Vice-Presidents died in office. Madison was the only President to face enemy gunfire while in office. With the British invading Washington, "Jemmy" personally took command of an artillery battery, but after a while, when he saw how things were going, he got back into his carriage and hurried off in the other direction.

Quote from Madison:

"I flung forward the flag of the country, sure that the people would press onward and defend it."-Explaining his decision to enter War of 1812.

Quote about Him:

"Our President, though a man of amiable manners and great talents, has not I fear those commanding talents which are necessary to control those about him."-John Calhoun.

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