The best one volume biography of Madison’s life, Ketcham’s biography not only traces Madison’s career, it gives readers a sense of the man. As Madison said of his early years in Virginia under the study of Donald Robertson, who introduced him to thinkers like Montaigne and Montesquieu, "all that I have been in life I owe largely to that man." It also captures a side of Madison that is less rarely on display (including a portrait of the beautiful Dolley Madison).
University of Virginia Press
In James Madison and the Making of America, historian Kevin Gutzman looks beyond the way James Madison is traditionally seen — as "The Father of the Constitution” — to find a more complex and sometimes contradictory portrait of this influential Founding Father and the ways in which he influenced the spirit of today's United States. Instead of an idealized portrait of Madison, Gutzman treats readers to the flesh-and-blood story of a man who often performed his founding deeds in spite of himself: Madison’s fame rests on his participation in the writing of The Federalist Papers and his role in drafting the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Today, his contribution to those documents is largely misunderstood. He thought that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary and insisted that it not be included in the Constitution, a document he found entirely inadequate and predicted would soon fail. Madison helped to create the first American political party, the first party to call itself “Republican”, but only after he had argued that political parties, in general, were harmful. Madison served as Secretary of State and then as President during the early years of the United States and the War of 1812; however, the American foreign policy he implemented in 1801-1817 ultimately resulted in the British burning down the Capitol and the White House. In so many ways, the contradictions both in Madison’s thinking and in the way he governed foreshadowed the conflicted state of our Union now. His greatest legacy—the disestablishment of Virginia’s state church and adoption of the libertarian Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom—is often omitted from discussion of his career. Yet, understanding the way in which Madison saw the relationship between the church and state is key to understanding the real man. Kevin Gutzman's James Madison and the Making of America promises to become the standard biography of our fourth President.
In This Cripping Biography, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger reveals the epic story of James Monroe (1758-1831)-the last of America's Founding Fathers-who transformed a small, fragile nation beset by enemies into a powerful empire stretching "from sea to shining sea."
Emerging from the battlefields of the Revolutionary War a decorated soldier, Monroe went on to serve America as its first full-time politician-a member of Congress, minister to France and Britain, governor of Virginia, secretary of state, secretary of war, and, finally, fifth president of the United States. Monroe took command of a nation nearly bankrupt, its people divided, its borders under attack, and its capital in ashes after the British invasion in the War of 1812. During two formative terms he rebuilt national defenses, expanded the military, extended national boundaries, and startled the world by proclaiming the landmark Monroe Doctrine, closing the Americas to foreign incursions and colonization. His leadership ushered in an "Era of Good Feelings" never seen before or since in American history. A superb read based on stellar scholarship, The Last Founding Father sheds light not only on the remarkable life of Monroe, but on a key chapter in the story of America. The result is an action-filled history in the grand tradition.
In this biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jack Rakove examines the life and legacy of James Madison, one of the founding fathers of the United States.
Paperback, brief, and inexpensive, each of the titles in the Library of American Biography Series focuses on a figure whose actions and ideas significantly influenced the course of American history and national life. In addition, each biography relates the life of its subject to the broader themes and developments of the times.
In this penetrating biography, eminent historian Richard Brookhiser presents a vivid portrait of the “Father of the Constitution,” an accomplished yet humble statesman who nourished Americans’ fledgling liberty and vigorously defended the laws that have preserved it to this day.