James Madison has been called the Father of the Constitution
On March 4, 1813, Chief Justice John Marshall administered the oath of office to President James Madison. At the time of the inauguration, the United States was at war with Great Britain. In less than a year, the White House and the Capitol would be left in flames by an invading British force.
In his inaugural address, Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution, spoke about how diligently America had worked to avoid war, and how willing it would be to end the war if Britain would accept America’s sovereignty on the high seas and cease imprisoning American sailors.
“The sword was scarcely out of the scabbard before the enemy was apprised of the reasonable terms on which it would be resheathed. Still more precise advances were repeated, and have been received in a spirit forbidding every reliance not placed on the military resources of the nation.”
After the war, and the end of Madison’s second term, he retired to his home at Montpelier in Virginia. In retirement, Madison became an ardent spokesman about the disruptive states’ rights influences that he saw as a threat to the Union. After his death on June 28, 1836, a note was found in which he had written “The advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my convictions is that the Union of the States be cherished and perpetuated.”