James Madison, the youngest member of the Continental Congress, was nickname, “Father of the Constitution,” and “Father of the Founding Fathers,” because he wrote the first draft of the Constitution and all of the Bill of Rights.
He suffered from epilepsy and had frail health. Yet, despite these difficulties, he accomplished incredible feats.
Madison was not only a Founding Father, but also was America’s fourth president who served for two terms. As president, he fought the British again in the War of 1812.
Prior to that, under America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, he oversaw the Louisiana Purchase from the French as Secretary of State. He and Jefferson also founded the Democratic-Republican Party in 1792, which was considered the “opposition party” of the time.
Madison was raised on his family’s plantation, Montpelier, in Orange County, Virginia. The oldest of 12 children, he was a tireless defender of religious liberty. In 1783, Madison left Congress to write a religious freedom statute as a member of the Virginia assembly. However, he was soon called back to Congress to write the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified four years later– on September 17, 1787.
Between 1787 and 1788, he and others published a series of 85 essays, known as “The Federalist,” later referred to as the Federalist Papers.