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James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic
on August 20, 2002
James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic 2nd Ed. written by Jack N. Rakove is more than a biography about James Madison our fourth President of the United States. Reading this book you get a real feeling for Madison and his philosophy.
As Madison firmly believed, his record as a statesman should be a record of public deeds, not gossipy tale of ambitions, achievements, disappointments and revelations. Madison took care in to preserve his political papers as well as to ensure that the details of his private life would remain forever hidden from posterity.
Thus, it was only in the conduct of public affairs that his deepest talents and interests found expression. Madison was a political thinker of his generation... in the task of creating the extended national republic of the United States, he had many partners but very few equals. Madison played a key roll in every significant development in national politics: efforts to ratify and amend the Articles of Confederation, the adoption and ratification of the Federal Constitution, the framing of he first amendments, the organization of the first opposition party, the initial controversies over constitutional interpretation, and the long diplomatic and military struggle that ended with the War of 1812.
Madison's distinctive contributions to the American constitutional tradition were first and foremost a reflection of his remarkable capacity to reason abstractly about funamental problems of political life on the basis of lessions drawn from experience. We see the author taking Madison and showing us how ideas that began with books were shaped and elaborated and reconsidered through the experience of revolutionary, republican, and constitutional politics.
James Madison does not resonate nearly as deeply in our historical memory. Yet his lasting achievements are arguably no less important. As Madison deepest legacy for the American constitutional tradition, he helped to create the understanding of these two distinct problems of majority power and minority rights.
This is an excellent book and it really gets into the conscience of Madison and it gives the reader some analysis of the potent legacy for the statesman named James Madison.