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Madison's Gift - Five Partnerships That Built America

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  • United States
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Short, plain, balding, neither soldier nor orator, low
on charisma and high on intelligence, Madison cared
more about achieving results than taking the credit. To
reach his lifelong goal of a self-governing constitutional
republic, he blended his talents with those of key partners.
It was Madison who led the drive for the Constitutional
Convention and pressed for an effective new government
as his patron George Washington lent the effort legitimacy;
Madison who wrote the Federalist Papers with Alexander
Hamilton to secure the Constitution’s ratification;
Madison who corrected the greatest blunder of the
Constitution by drafting and securing passage of the Bill
of Rights with Washington’s support; Madison who joined
Thomas Jefferson to found the nation’s first political party
and move the nation toward broad democratic principles;
Madison, with James Monroe, who guided the new
nation through its first war in 1812, really its Second War
of Independence; and it was Madison who handed the
reins of government to the last of the Founders, his old
friend and sometime rival Monroe. These were the main
characters in his life.
But it was his final partnership that allowed Madison
to escape his natural shyness and reach the greatest
heights. Dolley was the woman he married in middle
age and who presided over both him and an enlivened
White House. This partnership was a love story, a unique
one that sustained Madison through his political rise, his
presidency, and a fruitful retirement.
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