James Madison might have been the 4th President of the United States, but most people probably wouldn’t know who he was if they didn’t have American history classes. Madison was not much of an extrovert, to say the least. He was very slight in stature, in fact, and spoke with what could only be considered a timid voice. His height and weight, in fact, make him the smallest of all the US Presidents that have ever served.
That’s just one interesting aspect about Madison. Here are some more interesting facts about the man who is called the “Father of the Constitution.”
1. He Fought the British Twice
Madison might have carefully studied governments and ruling documents to come up with the Constitution during the Revolutionary War, but that isn’t the only time that Madison had to fight the British. He was also the President during the War of 1812 when the Americans looked like they were going to lose and lose badly. The White House was burned, Detroit was lost without even a fight, and if the Navy hadn’t been around, the US probably wouldn’t exist. In 1814, both nations decided to call it a draw.
2. It Wasn’t Just the Constitution
Madison was very concerned about the rights of the common person. That was the emphasis of the resolutions that he wrote for Kentucky and Virginia and was the foundation of his research while composing the Constitution. Once everything was completed and the nation formed, however, Madison realized that there were a few key rights missing that should be explicitly documented. He became a proponent for the Bill of Rights, or the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, which were ratified in 1791.
3. His Wife Wore the Pants
James Madison was not a socialite. He preferred to work alone and form an opinion based on complete research. His wife, however, is still one of the most loved first ladies of all time – partly because Dolley Madison really created the role. She helped Madison with state functions and became the toast of Washington. You could say that she became the Yin to Madison’s Yang and that was a relationship with served both well. As a side note, Dolley Madison also served as Thomas Jefferson’s first lady after his wife died while in office.
4. The Non-Intercourse Act… Wait – What?
France and England were both attacking American ships. To prevent this from happening, the Non-Intercourse Act was passed in 1809 which disallowed any trade with the two nations. About a year later, a new bill was passed that said whatever country would stop attacking American ships first would get preferential trading. France saw this as a good opportunity, but England saw red.
5. The Federalists Hated Him
Even though Madison wrote 3 Federalist papers, the group despised his trade policies that led up to the War of 1812. The group met secretly and came up with amendments to trade policy that they wanted to have passed. When the war was over, the secret meeting came up and it was the beginning of the end for the group.