James Madison attended college at Princeton (then called the College of New Jersey). It may be noted that our fourth president, was the third to attend college. Washington did not attend college, Adams graduated from Harvard, and Jefferson from William and Mary.
While Madison was a small man (our smallest president at 5 foot 4 inches and under 100 pounds), his wife was, in many ways, larger than life. Dolley Madison is so much more than a brand of ice cream. She was a force of American History and transformed the role of First Lady.
Madison's term is marked by a return to war for the new America. In 1812, America went to war yet again with the British. Hey, let's call it the War of 1812. But unfortunately, it took them more than a year to wrap up, but so what. The War of 1812 will feature the heroics of two future presidents, William Henry Harrison and Andrew Jackson. It is the War of 1812 that sees President Madison flee the White House in advance of British troops. And his wife, Dolley refusing to leave without the portrait of George Washington. The British burned the White House and the Capitol and much of Washington when they invaded. The War of 1812 is also when we get our national anthem, courtesy of Francis Scott Key.
Like his predecessors, when Madison left the Presidency, he was nearly destitute, as his farm had failed while in Washington. Trying to prepare for his future (and Dolley's) he refused to make available any of his papers until after his death. He spent his remaining years reviewing them and making changes to them (including forgery) as he slowly sank into depression and insanity.
- born March 16, 1751 in Port Conway, Virginia
- died June 28, 1836 at Montpelier (his home), Virginia (age 85)
- Take note, Ms. Rice. Being Secretary of State is a good stepping stone to the White House. Jefferson was John Adams' Vice President, but Washington's Secretary of State. Madison was Jefferson's Secretary of State (and there will be others).
- Madison is the first president to have prior congressional service, having served as a Representative from 1789-1797
- Madison is the first president to wear pants, as opposed to knee breeches fancied by his predecessors.
- The Madisons had no children.