James Madison and the Making of America

Kevin R. C. Gutzman

St. Martin's Griffin

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In James Madison and the Making of America, historian Kevin Gutzman looks beyond the way James Madison is traditionally seen -- as "The Father of the Constitution” -- to find a more complex and sometimes contradictory portrait of this influential Founding Father and the ways in which he influenced the spirit of today's United States.  Instead of an idealized portrait of Madison, Gutzman treats readers to the flesh-and-blood story of a man who often performed his founding deeds in spite of himself: Madison’s fame rests on his participation in the writing of The Federalist Papers and his role in drafting the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Today, his contribution to those documents is largely misunderstood.  He thought that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary and insisted that it not be included in the Constitution, a document he found entirely inadequate and predicted would soon fail. Madison helped to create the first American political party, the first party to call itself “Republican”, but only after he had argued that political parties, in general, were harmful.  Madison served as Secretary of State and then as President during the early years of the United States and the War of 1812; however, the American foreign policy he implemented in 1801-1817 ultimately resulted in the British burning down the Capitol and the White House.  In so many ways, the contradictions both in Madison’s thinking and in the way he governed foreshadowed the conflicted state of our Union now.  His greatest legacy—the disestablishment of Virginia’s state church and adoption of the libertarian Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom—is often omitted from discussion of his career.  Yet, understanding the way in which Madison saw the relationship between the church and state is key to understanding the real man.  Kevin Gutzman's James Madison and the Making of America promises to become the standard biography of our fourth President.

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter 1
 
 
From Subject to Citizen,
1751–76
 
 
James Madison Jr. entered the world at midnight of the night of April 16–17, 1751.1 By chance, he was an American prince.
James Madison Sr., the master of Montpelier in Piedmont Virginia’s semifrontier Orange County, was the wealthiest man in the county. His lands were extensive, his slaveholdings were notable, and his family connections were impressive. In a society that privileged the wealthy to a notable degree, James Jr.’s world was his oyster.

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Reviews

Praise for James Madison and the Making of America

"A well-considered and written biography of this gifted Founding Father's many contributions to the early republic."--Kirkus

"The serious reader who wants a detailed account of James Madison's long public career, drawn from primary sources, will find Kevin Gutzman's book deeply rewarding.  The author's treatments of Virginia's ratification convention and the drafting of the Bill of Rights are particularly valuable.”--Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

“Writing with authority and verve, Kevin Gutzman merges James Madison the practical Virginia politician and James Madison the world-class political theorist in this well-rounded biography of one of the most remarkably multifaceted founders of the republic.”-- Jon Kukla, author of Mr. Jefferson’s Women and A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America
"Kevin Gutzman's beautifully written and insightful account of James Madison's fascinating life promises to become the standard biography of this great Founding Father."- Edward G. Lengel, Professor and Editor-in-Chief – The Papers of George Washington, University of Virginia and author of Inventing George Washington:  America's Founder, In Myth and Memory

"Focusing on the fourth president's public life, Kevin Gutzman's James Madison and the Making of America recaptures the drama and excitement of the new nation's bold experiment in republican self-government.  No one played a more important role than Madison in the drafting, ratification, and implementation of the federal Constitution.  The power of the great Virginian's penetrating intelligence is amply evident on every page of this nicely balanced, well-written, and lucidly argued study."-- Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History, University of Virginia and author of Jefferson's Empire: The Language of American Nationhood


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JAMES MADISON AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA by Kevin R.C. Gutzman | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of JAMES MADISON AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA . Authoritative account of the public career of James Madison (1751–1836).
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About the Author

Kevin R. C. Gutzman

Kevin R. C. Gutzman is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, of Virginia's American Revolution, and (with Thomas E. Woods, Jr.) of Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush. He is Professor of History at Western Connecticut State University and lives in Bethel, Connecticut.

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Available Formats and Book Details

James Madison and the Making of America
Kevin R. C. Gutzman

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
February 2013
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250023193
ISBN10: 125002319X
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 464 pages, Includes one 8-page black-and-white photograph section
$16.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
February 2012
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780312625009
ISBN10: 0312625006
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 432 pages, Plus one 8-page b&w photo insert
$27.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
February 2012
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429941006
ISBN10: 1429941006
432 pages, 1 8pg b&w
$9.99
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