Articles of Confederation - · Original set of laws for the United States before the
ratification of the U.S. Constitution. It delineated very few direct
powers for the central government, and maintained in principle
the sovereignty of the states.
Bill of Rights - · The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution which
define rights–such as free speech, freedom of the press, freedom
to bear arms, right to a trial by jury–which state governments
and individual citizens can claim before the powers of the federal government.
James Madison's was the primary pen behind the drafting of these
Continental Congress - · Legislative body formed during the years of the American Revolution
which claimed to represent the people of the several states of
the union. It governed for a time under the Articles of Confederation
and was the power which called to order the Constitutional Convention
Democratic-Republicans - · One of the original political parties in the United
States, which resisted the continued attempts by the Federalists
to expand the powers of the federal government. They were often
known simply as the Republicans, and they often represented agricultural
and state interests against the claims of mercantile, commercial,
and federal interests. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were
prominent leaders of this party.
doctrine of implied powers - · The idea that the Constitution allows for the exercise
of various powers by the several branches of the government which
are not explicitly stated or defined in the text of the document.
Federalism - · The doctrine that the sovereignty of the United States
lies ultimately in the hands of the American people at large–rather than
in the individual legislatures of the state governments–and that
the will of the people should be represented in a unified, national
government whose authority overrides the state governments. Federalism
is also associated with the doctrine of the separation of powers
in the several branches of the U.S. government.
Federalists - · One of the two original political parties in the United
States; the party advocated a vigorous national government and
was often associated with the mercantile and commercial interests
as well as those who favored the British over the French in international affairs.
John Adams and Alexander Hamilton were prominent Federalist partisans.
The Federalist - · Series of papers, written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton,
and John Jay, which defended the merits of the proposed U.S. Constitution
in 1788 and 1789. The papers were published under the pseudonym
Publius and were distributed in book form throughout the United
anti-Federalists - · Those who opposed the ratification of the U.S. Constitution because
they felt that it made the new government too powerful in its jurisdiction,
particularly over state governments.
Montpelier - · Name of James Madison's estate in Orange County, Virginia.
It was a great plantation and was home to Madison from his infancy
to his death in 1836.
states' rights - · Doctrine that the states in the American union maintain
a sovereignty before the federal government and that state legislatures
can justly resist federal laws and even secede from the Union if
they so desire.
strict constructionist - · Manner of interpreting the U.S. Constitution whereby
its sections and articles are interpreted literally, according
to the letter of the law.
Virginia Plan - · Plan for the U.S. Constitution adopted by the Constitutional Convention
on May 29, 1788. It was designed by James Madison and proposed
a strong federal system of government characterized by the separation
of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial powers of the government.
father of the United States of America, leader of the Massachusetts
delegations to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention.
He was a staunch proponent of Federalism, served as President George
Washington as Vice President, and served as President himself from 1797
- Prominent New York Federalist of the Founding era;
he worked with James Madison in writing The Federalist,
was Secretary of the Treasury in George Washington's presidential administration.
In this office, he spurred along the creation of the First National
Bank and courted the opposition of the Democratic-Republicans with
his robust nationalism and commercialism.
known as a great orator of the revolutionary period; a Virginian
among those who led the anti-Federalist cause in his state during
the Founding era. He and James Madison crossed swords over the question
of the Anglican Church establishment–he supported it while Madison
worked for disestablishment.
- Author of the Declaration of Independence, Secretary
of State under George Washington, and third President of the United
States, 1801–1809. He was a Virginian and a leader of the Democratic-Republicans on
the national stage. A life-long friend of James Madison, he also
made Madison his Secretary of State and supported his friend's
1808 bid for the presidency.
- Wife of James Madison. She was a widow, a mother
of a son, and sixteen years Madison's junior when she married him
in 1794. She was famous as a great hostess and set a high standard
in that capacity for all future First Ladies.
- (1761#ndash;1836) Best known as the "Father of the
Constitution," he became politically prominent on the national
stage as well as in his native Virginia. He was a delegate to the
Continental Congress during the revolutionary period, a delegate
to the Constitutional Convention of 1788, a member of the U.S. House
of Representatives from 1791 to 1797, Secretary of State under
Thomas Jefferson, and the fourth President of the United States,
1809–1817. His presidency coincided with the War of 1812.
Virginian who served James Madison as both Secretary of State and
Secretary of the Treasury, and succeeded him as the fifth President
of the United States, 1817–1821.
- The leading figure of the revolutionary and Founding
eras, Washington was a Virginian who was the commander of the Continental
Army during the Revolution, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention
of 1788, and the first President of the United States, 1789–1797.
His executive support of Federalist policies such as the creation
of the First National Bank and the Proclamation of Neutrality during
the Anglo-French wars courted the opposition of James Madison and
Alien and Sedition Acts - President John Adams's 1798 policy of censorship and
the crackdown on pro-French sentiment which mobilized a great deal
of Democratic-Republican opposition to his Administration. James
Madison led the Virginia opposition to the policy in 1798 and 1799.
Constitutional Convention - 1788 delegation of political leaders from throughout
the thirteen American states which was responsible for the drafting
of the U.S. Constitution and refining it to the form which was
sent out to be ratified by the governments of the several states.
James Madison was the leading figure at this Convention, which adopted
his Virginia Plan as its working model for the new American government.
Embargo Act - 1807 act, urged along by Thomas Jefferson's Secretary
of State, James Madison, which cut off American foreign commerce
in response to repeated British acts of aggression against U.S. trading
French Revolution - Great revolution against the monarchy and Church in France which
began in 1789 and continued in several stages through the following
decade, including drawn- out periods of war between the French Republic
and Great Britain. It was ideologically radical in a way which
distinguished it from its American counterpart of the decade before,
and was an encouragement to heated American ideological battles
between pro-British Federalists and pro-French Democratic- Republicans
such as James Madison.
Louisiana Purchase - 1803 purchase from Napoleon's France of the great tract
of land known as Louisiana, which stretched from New Orleans at
the Mississippi delta all the way to the Pacific northwest. It
virtually doubled the size of the United States, and gave control
of the Mississippi River to the Americans. James Madison, then Secretary
of State for Thomas Jefferson, directed the purchase from the State
Marbury v. Madison - Decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that established the
policy of judicial review of the other branches of the government.
James Madison, representing Thomas Jefferson's Executive branch, lost
the decision to William Marbury, who had sued the Secretary of
State for his right to a judicial commission.
Proclamation of Neutrality - President George Washington's 1793 policy of neutrality between
the warring parties of Great Britain and the revolutionary French
Republic. The policy angered pro-French Democratic-Republicans
such as James Madison.
Virginia Resolutions - 1798 resolutions drafted by James Madison and passed
in the Virginia assembly which denounced President Adams's Alien and
Sedition Acts and claimed a right for the several states of the union
"to interpose for arresting the progress of evil" in the federal
government, asserting a principle of states' rights.
War of 1812 - War fought between the United States and Great Britain
mainly over the issue of British domination and aggression against American
commercial vessels and sailors on the high seas. The most memorable
event of the war was, perhaps, the invasion and burning of Washington,
D.C., by the British Navy. The Americans suffered many defeats
early in the war but had turned their effort around by 1814. The
Treaty of Ghent, signed Christmas Eve, 1814, marked America's victory
in the conflict.