Author: James Madison


Madison’s Amendments to the Declaration of Rights (May 29–June 12, 1776)

At the Fifth Constitutional Convention, state legislator James Madison proposed these amendments to George Mason‘s Virginia Declaration of Rights. The first (“A” below) was rejected and his phrasing “free exercise of religion” in the second (“B” below) replaced “fullest Toleration” to imply the protection of all religious practices, not merely the toleration of religions outside of Anglicanism.




The Federalist Papers: No. 10 (November 23, 1787)

In this essay, dated September 1816, James Madison argues that a larger republic would help control minority and majority factions of citizens that could trample other citizens’ rights. This is Number 10 of the Federalist Papers, a serious of essays Madison wrote under the pseudonym “Publius” along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay arguing for ratification of the U.S. Constitution.


Letter from James Madison to Robert Pleasants (October 30, 1791)

In this letter, dated October 30, 1791, James Madison responds to Robert Pleasantsletter requesting that Madison share a petition against the international slave trade from the Virginia Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, which Pleasants founded. Madison declines to share the petition with the U.S. House of Representatives because he didn’t think it represented the interests of his constituents. He also offers ambivalent advice on the wisdom of submitting a petition to the General Assembly for a law to emancipate children born into slavery after the law’s passage.


Letter from James Madison to Joseph Delaplaine (September 1816)

In this letter, dated September 1816, James Madison gives an autobiographical sketch to the publisher Joseph Delaplaine, who would go on to publish Delaplaine’s Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans. When it was published in two volumes in 1817 and 1818, James Madison’s portrait was not included.  


“A Memorial and Remonstrance” by James Madison (1785)

“A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments,” anonymously authored by James Madison and published on or about June 20, 1785, argues against a resolution by the House of Delegates, adopted on November 11, 1784, to levy a so-called General Assessment to benefit all Christian sects, including dissenters against the established Church of England. The resolution excited such opposition, and petitions like Madison’s such support, that Madison was emboldened to reintroduce Thomas Jefferson‘s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, which passed the General Assembly on January 16, 1786.

Sponsors  |  View all