Among all the Fathers of the Constitution/Nation, James Madison is perhaps one of the most mysterious. APUS barely skimmed over his achievements and society as a whole seems to prefer idolizing the accomplishments of better known Founding Fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Yet despite this, Madison did leave behind a legacy that still stands today. For starters, his work on the Virginia Plan created a template for what became the Constitution. Furthermore, similarly to Jefferson, Madison was adaptable. Although he initially supported more power to a centralized government, he also understood that a government is made up, at least in theory, by representatives of the will of the masses. This, in Madison’s eyes, made each state greedy and their representatives only willing to work in the Union for the benefit of their state. It created a paradox: the representatives, as part of a strong central government, should be wise judges over the nation’s policies but the representatives are so directly connected to the will of the people back home that their judgment may be biased. Thus a shift in Madison's ideology ocurred between the 1780's and 1790's. In the 1790's, he advocated for more power to the judiciary and executive branches over Congress. Furthermore Madison passionately advocated for the Bill of Rights during a time when the Congress feared more power to the masses; because although he wanted a strong centralized government at first, he also feared that such a concentration of power could morph the American government into something similar to Great Britain’s government. Though he is often forgotten by the mention of the other more prominent Founding Fathers, Madison left behind legacy of individual rights, and a central government ruled by checks and balances.
[Last edited Dec 16, 2012 23:59:48]