James Madison

The Young Virginian

Summary The Young Virginian

After graduation, Madison stayed on at the College of New Jersey for several months of postgraduate study, focusing on Hebrew and theology. He had an eye then for a career in the religious ministry, but after a short time he returned home to Virginia without a clear sense of where he was heading professionally. He had considered studying law or joining the military, but his health was still poor, and his spirits rather depressed. Indeed, he suffered from a severe nervous disorder, and his thoughts were often overshadowed by thoughts that he might die an early death.

While in this despondent state, Madison occupied his time at home in the early 1770s by tutoring his younger brothers and sisters. Uncertain and pessimistic about his future, he showed little ambition for any professional pursuit, though he seriously considered pursuing a legal career. This ambition was to change dramatically with the critical events leading up to the American Revolution.

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