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Released to collectors July 31, 2013

                  along with  Owney the Postal Dog,  Antietam,  New Orleans,  &  So Long Stan Musial

Father of the Constitution

JAMES MADISON

My reference for the image of Madison sitting was taken from a statue of President Madison and his wife

standing behind him. I would have included her, except there wasn't space. I look to statues for reference more

often you may realize. General Meagher on his horse on the 1862 Civil War Antietam issue is another. 

I hesitated inserting the mansion in the background. Looking at it now, I think it makes the cachet.

$17

One of America’s Founding Fathers, James Madison, mighty with the pen and nicknamed the “Father of the Constitution” was born in 1751 and became the fourth president in 1808.  To the title, “Father of the Constitution”, he protested that the document was not “the off-spring of a single brain,” but “the work of many heads and many hands.”  While he did not personally write every part of the Constitution, he was a key player in all discussions and forcefully  argued for many items that would eventually make it into the Constitution.  Madison grew up on a plantation in Virginia called   Montpelier.  At age 16 he studied under an influential tutor named Donald Robertson and from there he attended Princeton University.  It was his friendship with Thomas Jefferson which led to his appointment as secretary of state, which eventually led to his presidency.  Surprisingly, Madison was only 5 feet 4 inches and never weighed more than 100 pounds.  He was also considered frail in appearance-hardly our idea of a presidential candidate today.  However, James Madison, also called “Jemmie”,  had a brilliant mind that overshadowed his small stature.  He     co-wrote the Federalist Papers, sponsored the Bill of Rights, and established the Democratic-Republican Party with President Thomas Jefferson.  While secretary of state, in his role, he oversaw the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.  It was during his presidency that Madison led the U.S. into the controversial War of 1812 against Great Britain.  Because America was not properly funded or prepared for a war, a number of states did not support it and referred to it as “Mr. Madison’s War” and would not allow their militias to join the campaign.   As the War of 1812 continued, Madison was often criticized and blamed for the difficulties stemming from the war.  Trade stopped between the U.S. and Europe and New England threatened secession from the Union.  The Federalists undermined Madison’s efforts and Madison was forced to flee Washington D.C. as British troops invaded and burned the White House, the Capitol and the Library of Congress.  Finally, weary from battle, Britain and the U.S. agreed

 

  

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 to negotiate an end to the war. Once blamed for the errors in the war, Madison was eventually hailed for its triumphs.  Prior to his election as President, Madison at the age of 43, married Dolley Payne Todd, an outgoing Quaker widow with one surviving son.  Dolley’s first husband, John, and second son William, died in the Philadelphia Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793.  As a result of her marriage to Madison, Dolley was expelled from the Quaker church for marrying an Episcopalian.  Dolley’s personality was in stark contrast to that of the shy, reserved James.  She loved to entertain and hosted many receptions and dinner parties during which Madison could meet other influential figures of his time.  She was an asset to him on a business level and a personal one as well.  It was said that during the couple’s 41- year marriage, they were rarely apart. Consequently, Mrs. Madison proved to be good for many a   business and with an adjustment to the spelling of Dolley/Dolly, many food companies and advertisers seized the opportunity to suggest that any woman could entertain as did Dolley Madison.  Remember the Dolly Madison cakes?    Leaving office in 1817, John and Dolley retired to Montpelier, his tobacco plantation in Virginia.  Madison left the presidency a poorer man than when he entered due to the decrease in the value of tobacco and his stepson’s mismanagement.  Madison ran the plantation and served on a special board to create the University of Virginia which opened in 1825.  He remained active in the American Colonization Society, which he co-founded in 1816.   This organization aimed to return freed slaves to Africa.  Madison saw slavery as a blot on our Republican character –the dilemma of slavery undid him.  With failing health, Madison continued to write on political subjects.  On June 28, 1836, James Madison, the last of the Founding Fathers died at his home at Montpelier and was buried in the Madison Family Cemetery.  Famous columnist George Will wrote that if we truly believed that the pen is mightier than the sword, our nation’s capital would have been called “Madison, D.C.”, instead of Washington, D.C.