Contemplating the Constitution – Part III
FATHER OF THE CONSTITUTION and
BILL OF RIGHTS
Madison began his education home schooled by his Grandmother and later tutored by a minister. As a youth, he educated himself from the family library. He learned to reason from Scripture and was influenced by Dr. John Witherspoon and John Locke.
Historian Garry Wills wrote: “As a framer and defender of the Constitution he had no peer…. The finest part of Madison’s performance as President was his concern for the preserving of the Constitution…. No man could do everything for the country – not even Washington. Madison did more than most, and did some things better than any. That was quite enough. (Garry Wills, James Madison. Times Books, 2002, p.164)
“One scholar has written of Madison as the Founding Father ‘whose chief interest in life was to prove that Americans had been chosen by Providence for an experiment to test man’s capacity for self government.’” (Swanson, p. 84)
Madison joined Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to write the Federalist Papers. James Madison authored 29 of the 85 Papers.
Federalist Paper, No. 39 “The first question that offers itself is, whether the general form and aspect of the government be strictly republican. It is evident that no other form would be reconcilable with the genius of the people of America; with the fundamental principles of the Revolution; or with that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government. If the plan of the convention, therefore, be found to depart from the republican character, its advocates must abandon it as no longer defensible. (Madison)
Federalist Paper # 10: Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. (Madison)
“What we know today about the (Constitutional) Convention we owe largely to (Madison’s) daily record of all that transpired. Day after day for the entire 99 days, this man who was always in frail health never missed attendance. He said later that the ordeal almost killed him, but, nevertheless, he was sustained in his Herculean task” “His object was to preserve the history of a Constitution on which would be staked the happiness of a people great even in its infancy, and possibly the cause of liberty throughout the world.’”
(Swanson, Mary Elaine, The Education of James Madison A Model for Today, Montgomery, Alabama: The Hoffman Education Center for the Family, 1992, p. 191)
(Aside, in the Providence of God, Jim Rose was born on Constitution Day. He knew that Jim would spend 40 years teaching America’s Christian History and Government)
Originally published in Eagle’s Aerie, American Christian History Institute, September 2007. Used by Permission.