Montpelier and the Legacy of James Madison

James Madison, 4th President of the United States

James Madison, 4th President of the United States

From the smithsonianmag.com article:
The recently restored Virginia estate of James Madison was home to a founding father and the ideals that shaped a nation.
 
See a few additinal images here.

The United States of America was born in April 1775, with the shots heard ’round the world from Lexington and Concord. Or it was born in July 1776, with the signing of the Declaration Independence in Philadelphia. Or it was born in the winter of 1787, when a 35-year-old Virginia legislator holed up at his estate and undertook a massive study of governmental systems around the world and over the ages.

The legislator was James Madison, and it was through his winter’s labor that he devised a system of checks and balances that would be enshrined in the Constitution of the United States that fall. Madison’s estate, Montpelier, proved less durable than his ideas, but now, after a five-year, $24 million restoration, it has been reopened to visitors.

“Without Washington, we wouldn’t have won the revolution. Without Jefferson, the nation wouldn’t have been inspired,” says Michael Quinn, president of the Montpelier Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting Madison’s legacy. “What made our revolution complete was the genius of Madison…. He formed the ideals of the nation.”

He died there in 1836, at age 85, the last of the founding fathers to pass away.

When the mansion was reopened, in September, the chief justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, spoke from its front steps. “If you’re looking for Madison’s monument, look around,” Roberts said. “Look around at a free country governed by the rule of law.”
Read the article here.

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1 Response to “Montpelier and the Legacy of James Madison”


  1. 1 recordsofhistory October 20, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    I recently visited Montpelier. Yes, the restoration is nice, but Montpelier is still a far way off from creating a distinctive and memorable experience. It should improve when they’re able to move contemporary furniture into the house in several months. What stuck with me was when our tour guide tried to convince us that Madison was “a nice slave owner” who was torn between economics and ethics.


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