Thursday, December 25, 2008

JAMES MADISON, 4TH PRESIDENT - James Madison was sworn in as our fourth President on March 4, 1809. He was the last of our founding fathers to serve as President and was the first President to be inaugurated in the chambers of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was also the first President to have his inaugural ball held on the day of his inauguration, and to have the U.S. Marine Band play at the inaugural ball. His presidency is best known for two things: one, the social life that his wife Dolley Madison brought to the White House, and two, the burning of the White House during the war of 1812 with Great Britain. While he is considered only an average President, Madison is one of the giants of America's founding because of the key role that he played in the Federal Convention of 1787 that drafted the U.S. Constitution, including his authoring the Virginia Plan which became the initial blueprint for the Constitution. After the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, as a Congressman he was responsible for drafting and pushing through the passage of the Bill of Rights. His essays in the Federalist papers arguing for the adoption of the U.S. Constitution are considered some of the best arguments for the republican form of government adopted by the United States. Madison quote: "What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. 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. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the greatest difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.