Books: James Madison The Founding Father by Robert A. Rutland

by | Jan 2, 2002

This is a fresh, extremely thoughtful biography of the Founding Father whom Thomas Jefferson called "the greatest man in the world."

This is a fresh, extremely thoughtful biography of the Founding Father whom Thomas Jefferson called “the greatest man in the world.”

After Jefferson, James Madison was this country’s last great republican, He understood the principles of limited and representative government, He, more than any of the other Founders, articulated those principles in debates on convention floors, in essays such as the “Federalist Papers,” and in his policies as our fourth President, Madison was instrumental in the formation of the Bill of Rights, in defining the role of the presidency (stripped of monarchical elements) and in establishing an independent judiciary.

He was both an intelligent political theorist and a man of practical accomplishment. We have Madison to thank for the historical record available to us on the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention because of his exhaustive note-taking.

Rutland’s superb portrait of Madison shows a man of unparalleled wisdom and common sense. Throughout his career, spanning 40 years of devotion to the political development of the United States, Madison was guided by the belief that the government’s only proper function is the protection of individual rights. His understanding of the effective mechanics of limited constitutional government was unequaled. Our constitutional guarantees of civil and religious liberty are, in many ways, his legacy.

The book is a delight to read because the character of Madison is so admirable, because the times he lived in and shaped were so glorious and because the author, a renowned scholar of Madison, so obviously esteems his subject. Rutland 26 concludes about James Madison; “He labored to make the lamp of freedom shine in the United States as a beacon for all mankind.”

This review is made available by the Ayn Rand Bookstore (formerly Second Renaissance Books)

The Ayn Rand Bookstore (formerly Second Renaissance Books) is your source for books and lectures for those interested in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism.

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