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James Madison: The Founding Father by Robert…
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James Madison: The Founding Father

by Robert Allen Rutland

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Insightful but a little dry. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
A well researched, very readable biography of one of our early presidents. Rutland makes the case that Madison is truly "The Founding Father" since he was present and actively involved in all aspects of the nation's birth and early years up to the cementing of the concept of a united group of states acting and being perceived by the world as one nation.

The book dwells mostly on his years when he represented Virginia at the continental Congress, then served in the House of Representatives during Washington's term. He also served as Secretary of State before becoming the 4th president. His authorship of the majority of the Federalist papers in support of ratification of the constitution was explained with many elucidating quotes to highlight how he felt the nation should progress.
At the time of his death, he had the only set of notes surviving from the Continental Congress, notes that have served to enlighten us as to the thinking of the founders as they brought the country to birth.

This was a very interesting and enlightening book about one of the most important and influential presidents we have had, who often gets lost in the shadows of Washington, Adams, and Jefferson. ( )
1 vote tututhefirst | Apr 14, 2010 |
James Madison is one of those characters in American history that we often neglect. He's a "Founding Father", yet he falls under the shadow of Jefferson, his mentor and friend. He was instrumental in the writing and adoption of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and was a leader in the House of Representatives. But he was also instrumental in the establishment of the Democratic Republican party to oppose the Federalists. And he's not a President that I've studied all that much.

Rutland's biography, James Madison: The Founding Father, was good, but not great. I appreciated his recounting of the political maneuvering that went on during the establishment of the Constitution, but ultimately was unsatisfying given the brevity of the book. The choice of a single chapter per President through Madison's own term in office was limiting, and forced Rutland to greatly abbreviate his discussion of critical events. His brevity also meant that Madison's personal life was relatively unexplored.

In spite of its flaws, James Madison: The Founding Father should work fine as a jumping off point for further reading on Madison. ( )
  drneutron | May 11, 2009 |
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A portrait of Madison as a republican leader and statesman from 1787 to 1817.

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