Author: James Madison

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

Letter from James Madison to Thomas Jefferson (October 17, 1784)

In this letter, dated October 17, 1784, James Madison gives Thomas Jefferson a report of the negotiations that produced the 1784 Treaty of Fort Stanwix. With the end of the American Revolution, the American Indian nations, who had signed treaties of peace with Great Britain, needed to negotiate their treaties with the newly formed United States. The 1784 Treaty of Fort Stanwix between the United States and the Six Nations (comprised of the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora) was the first of those treaties to be renegotiated. The words in italics were written in code and were decoded between the lines by Thomas Jefferson.

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The Federalist Papers: No. 42 (January 22, 1788)

In this essay, the forty-second of the Federalist Papers, published January 22, 1788, James Madison makes the case for the compromise included in the U. S. Constitution that the slave trade would continue temporarily. He makes this case amidst a discussion of how the Constitution structures the government’s regulation of trade and commerce. The Federalist Papers were a series of essays by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton arguing for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The essays were written under the pseudonym “Publius.”

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The Federalist Papers: No. 54 (February 12, 1788)

In this essay, the fifty-fourth of the Federalist Papers, published February 12, 1788, James Madison makes the case for the three-fifths compromise as best representing enslaved peoples’ status as property and persons. The Federalist Papers were a series of essays by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton arguing for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The essays were written under the pseudonym “Publius.”

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

Records of the Federal Convention (August 25, 1787)

From May 25 to September 17, 1787, the Federal Convention met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to draft the Constitution of the United States. Although the delegates avoided mentioning slavery in the Constitution, this account of the proceedings, reconstructed from notes kept by James Madison, on August 25, 1787, includes a discussion about establishing a timeline for abolishing the slave trade.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

Debate in Virginia Ratifying Convention (June 15, 1788)

At the Virginia Ratifying Convention, delegates from around Virginia met in 1788 to ratify or reject the U.S. Constitution. This is a record of the debate of Article 1 Section 9 Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution on June 15, 1788, at the Virginia Ratifying Convention. The debate centered on whether abolishing the slave trade or convincing southern states to join the Union was more important.

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