(president from 1809-1817)
By Richard E. Noble
James Madison is known as the father of the Constitution. He is most noted for making that favored compromise that American Blacks are so proud of today. He is the guy who suggested that five black slaves should be counted as three real people. Actually this was a liberal step for the time. Prior to this and according to the "rule of law" of the day, slaves weren't really even people. They were furniture. They could be bought sold, used, abused, beaten, tortured and even killed. Why they should have been counted as a part of the population for the purpose of determining how many representative an area was entitled to is beyond me. Certainly they weren't going to be represented by anybody. What does furniture have to do with representation? Saying that five black slaves equaled three "human beings" must have made a lot of Southerners gulp and take a deep breath. Prior to this, one couldn't get them to acknowledge that a ton of Blacks could make a pound of human flesh.
To be noted as the father of the American Constitution for suggesting such a compromise is a dubious compliment indeed.
He is also responsible for the War of 1812. This was really a war that he inherited from his good buddy Thomas Jefferson. Tom had been side stepping a confrontation with either the British or the French during his entire administration. The British kept harassing our ships and taking our seamen. The French said that if we didn't fight the British when they boarded our ships, they would then sink our ships. Talk about being Malcolm in the middle.
Tommy's answer to all of this was an embargo on shipping and trading. The American Mercantile Association thought that this was just a super idea. Super, if you want to drive everybody into bankruptcy. So James finally decided to petition congress to declare war. He chose to side with England, as opposed to France.
This was an unpopular war and turned the Federalists against him. The Navy held its own against the British in the Great Lakes and elsewhere but the Army didn't do so well. When the British landed an army on the east coast and proceeded to attack Washington D.C., Jimmy skidattled. In his hast to vacate the area, it seems that he completely forgot about Dolly who was in the midst of throwing a dinner party for the victorious army of the Potomac while checking out the window of the White House through her spyglass for their arrival. Dolly, gutsy little lady that she was, was not about to leave D.C. without Jimmy, but little Jimmy, a hundred pounds soaking wet, had no such qualms with regards to Dolly. She was obviously a big girl who could take care of herself and should have known better. Finally Jimmy, safely back home on the plantation, got a note out to poor Dolly, and she was able to get her butt out of there just in time. Not only that, she took a load of candelabras and a portrait of George Washington with her.
Actually, maybe Dolly should have been president. She sounds like my kind of girl.
Jimmy was elected president twice. Obviously, the Federalists didn't have a serious candidate. It seems that his victory(? in the war of 1812 bolstered his prestige.
He also had a speech defect and spoke so quietly that nobody could hear him. This may be the real reason for his political success. Gosh, I hope saying all of this doesn't get Dolly mad at me.