by Ralph Ketcham

ISBN 978-0-945707-33-2          $37.50

753 pages plus illustrations

           Drawing upon the immense amount of original source material that has become available during the past thirty years, Ralph Ketcham has written a historical work of major importance - a complete, thoroughly researched, and enlightening study of the life of the father of the Constitution and fourth President of the United States.  "From a scantily known major figure in American history, Madison has become one about whom information is now almost oppressively abundant," says Professor Ketcham.  "Furthermore, he lived eighty-five years and played a part in virtually every major public event from the Stamp Act protests to the nullification crisis...  Nonetheless, I have tried to use the new resources and at the same time present Madison's long and full life within the covers of one volume."
   Following Madison's life chronologically, Professor Ketcham covers his Virginia background and vast network of relatives; his boyhood, early education and years at the College of New Jersey at Princeton in which his studious labors nearly destroyed his health; his role as a youthful Virginia revolutionist; his part in the Continental Congress and his emergence as a national leader; his large role in the forming of the Constitution and its ratification; his assistance to the Washington administration; his marriage to the widowed Dolley Payne Todd who "looked a queen" and displayed such manners as "would disarm envy itself"; his service as Secretary of State under his intimate friend Thomas Jefferson; his eight turbulent years as President and the War of 1812; his twenty busy years of retirement and his death in 1836, which, as John Quincy Adams pointed out, removed the last of the nation builders who had drafted and signed the great founding documents of the Union.
   Throughout this biography James Madison emerges as a man of foresight, profundity, and integrity, whose thinking and actions clearly shaped the course of American history.  Says Professor Ketcham, "Madison's life reveals that he cherished the Union because only the cooperative power it released could bring the social justice necessary to fulfill the legal and moral equality of man.  He furthermore cherished liberty because only it could open to man the opportunities due his limitless potential.  His life has meaning, therefore, as long as these equations themselves are cherished and as long as men conceive government as legitimate only in pursuit of these ends."
Home Buy on Amazon