Jeff Broadwater: James Madison, the Constitution, and the War of 1812

For all his genius as a political theorist (we remember him as “the Father of the Constitution”) and despite remarkable success as a politician (he lost only one election in a public career spanning forty years) James Madison has never been ranked among the greatest of presidents. The War of 1812 permanently stained his reputation. Yet Madison’s wartime leadership deserves a second look. Continue Reading Jeff Broadwater: James Madison, the Constitution, and the War of 1812

Excerpt: James Madison, by Jeff Broadwater

Madison’s more eloquent and charismatic friend Thomas Jefferson would come to overshadow him as a party leader, and later historians would write of Jeffersonian, not Madisonian, Republicans. Yet as a member of the first federal Congress, Madison laid the foundation for a new party and was initially a more aggressive partisan than Jefferson. Continue Reading Excerpt: James Madison, by Jeff Broadwater

Interview: Cynthia Kierner on the Life of Martha Jefferson Randolph

The performance of domesticity is a major theme of my book and the main means by which Martha helped construct her father’s public image as a virtuous republican family man while he was alive. Martha visited Washington twice during Jefferson’s presidency. Her presence, and that of her children, helped Jefferson to present himself to the public as a family man at the very time when his political enemies were spreading the scandal about him and Sally Hemings. Continue Reading Interview: Cynthia Kierner on the Life of Martha Jefferson Randolph

Jeff Broadwater: James Madison, Secular Humanist

James Madison won the presidency in a landslide in 1808, prevailed in a closer race in 1812, and left office as a revered elder statesman four years later. Among his most appealing traits was a lifelong commitment to religious freedom, but if we could raise him from the dead–never mind the Twenty-Second Amendment limiting presidents to two terms–his views on the separation of church and state might well keep him out of today’s White House. Continue Reading Jeff Broadwater: James Madison, Secular Humanist

Interview: Jeff Broadwater on the legacy of James Madison

One of his predictions, however, seems on point. Madison wrote in the 1790s that if the federal government grew too much, Congress would be overwhelmed by its responsibilities, power would flow to the president, and presidential elections would become unseemly spectacles. Continue Reading Interview: Jeff Broadwater on the legacy of James Madison

Recipe: Yorkshire Christmas Pie, from ‘Dining with the Washingtons’

This recipe from ‘Dining with the Washingtons’ is a modern adaptation of a traditional English pie like what would have been served at Mt. Vernon for Christmas. Continue Reading Recipe: Yorkshire Christmas Pie, from ‘Dining with the Washingtons’