Portrait of James Madison by John Vanderlyn, 1816
Unlike the large amount of documentation surviving George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, relatively few papers exist to grant insight into James Madison's personal life. Madison didn't attempt to keep many of these private documents, and whether from humility or another unknown
reason, he didn't think they would be of any
importance to history. The few scattered
documents which remained survived
through the efforts of family and collectors.
Fortunately, Madison did manage to keep
many of his public papers. He recognized
the possibility that these documents would
have some importance to future American
scholarship, and arranged and organized
them for this purpose. Among the most
prominent records remaining are his notes
on the debates of the 1780's and many of
his letters and other papers concerning
public affairs of that decade, including his
notes on the proceedings of the Federal
Convention of 1787. He admitted that his
purposes for retaining these records were
that their sale and distribution would
provide for his wife, Dolley Payne Todd Madison, after his death.
The Papers of James Madison project, housed at the University of Virginia, was established in 1956 to publish annotated volumes of the correspondence and writings of James Madison, the Virginia statesman most often remembered as the Father of the United States Constitution.
James Madison's Papers
James Madison's Handwritten Notes on the Constitutional Convention
Madison's Notes on the
Memorial & Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (1785)
Spirit of Governments (1792)
Who Are the Best Keepers of the People's Liberty? (1792)
Excerpt from the "Detached Memoranda"
An excerpt from a Letter to Edward Livingston (1822)
Letter to William Taylor Barry (1822)
Letter to Jasper Adams (1832)
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