We discuss James Madison again this week, President Jefferson's good friend and ally. Madison was the de facto father of the American Constitution. We look at his preparation, his advocacy of the Virginia Plan, and his work to try to ratify this somewhat imperfect instrument.
We talked a great deal with President Jefferson about the Constitutional Convention. Jefferson wasn't there, but Madison kept him apprised of progress. Madison wanted a more centralized national government than Jefferson was comfortable with. Jefferson believed in the 10th amendment: that powers not delegated to the national government belong to the states, which is something that haunts us to this day because of its vagueness.
The question is, what is America? Is it a compact of sovereign states? Or is it as a nation state whose constitution begins with the words, "We the People"?
Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of everything; and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press. It is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than by pruning them away to insure the vigor of those yielding the proper fruits. … to the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression.
Report on the Virginia Resolutions
The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President by Noah Feldman
Eric Sevareid - Not So Wild a Dream by Makoché Studios
Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America by David O. Stewart
James Madison: A Life Reconsidered by Lynne Cheney
Madison and Jefferson by Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg