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AMERICAN HISTORY

4th President:  James Madison
Years in Office:  1809 -- 1817  ( 8 yrs )
Party:  Democratic - Republican
Vice Presidents: George Clinton,  Elbridge Gerry
First Lady: Dorothy Todd Madison
Year Born:  1751
Year Died: 1836  ( 85 yrs old )

At only 5-foot-6 and 130 pounds and with a soft voice and pliant manner,  James Madison became known as the "Father of the Constitution."

    He grew up at Montpelier, his family's Virginia plantation, and was tutored mostly at home.  When he got to Princeton, he read everything he could on politics, history and law.  In 1776, at the age of 25, he was elected to the Virginia Constitutional Convention, where he made the cause of complete freedom of religion his.

    In 1779 he was elected to the Continental Congress, and for five years he helped draw up treaties and implement laws such as taxing imports and precluding individual states from minting money.

    During his time in the Virginia Assembly (1784 - 86), he drafted the Virginia Plan which would eventually replace the Articles of Confederation and kindle the Constitution.  Later, when John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, he published The Federalist, a collection of 85 papers defining and defending the Constitution.

    In 1808 he was elected president, and during the War of 1812, Madison was forced to flee the White House with his wife Dolly when it was torched by British troops.