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Three Cheers for Mr. Madison

Posted March 16th, 2011 at 2:00pm in First Principles

James MadisonIf forced to enter a duel with a Founder, James Madison would be an easy opponent—slender, diminutive, and painfully shy. But if you were to engage in any sort of intellectual debate with “little Jimmy,” you would indeed suffer a cerebral defeat. Today we celebrate Madison’s birthday, and though he is not with us, his Constitution still stands.

In May of 1787, Madison arrived at the Constitutional Convention having read scores of books about political philosophy, the rise and fall of empires, and enlightenment thought. For four summer months, Madison tirelessly explained and defended his “Virginia Plan” to the other delegates. At the same time, Madison also understood the art of compromise, and like any tactful politician, he was willing to concede some points to the North and to the South in order to complete a draft of the Constitution.


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