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In this study of the fourth presidency distinguished historian Robert Rutland paints a more complicated portrait. Rutland, former editor-in-chief of the Madison Papers, sees Madison as a bookish, practical statesman who worked furiously to avoid conflicts in his cabinet and in Congress. When he finally realized England would not be swayed by economic pressure, he boldly led the nation into a second war for independence that allowed the United States to emerge with a renewed sense of dignity and purpose.
Rutland's lively narrative covers all major events of the Madison administration, including the War of 1812 and the push for national expansion. It provides a fresh interpretation not only of the contribution of Madison's presidency, but also of the "master builder of the Constitution" himself. Madison emerges neither as the weakling painted by Henry Adams nor as a demigod, but rather as a man who attempted to be the president envisioned at the Constitutional Convention and who achieved his highest priority, to strengthen the Union.
This book is part of the American Presidency Series.
Author Biography: Robert Allen Rutland is Research Professor of American History at the University of Tulsa and the former editor-in-chief of The Papers of James Madison. Among his most important books are James Madison: The Founding Father; The Birth of the Bill of Rights; and Madison's Alternatives and the Coming of War.