james madison.?

what was the political, social and economic beliefs of james madison. why did he experience problems as president.

please site references

2 Answers

  • raj
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Presidency 1809–1817



    James MadisonBritish insults continued, especially the practice of using the Royal Navy to intercept unarmed American merchant ships and "impressing" (conscripting) all sailors who might be British subjects for service in the British navy. Madison's protests were ignored, so he helped stir up public opinion in the west and south for war. One argument was that an American invasion of Canada would be easy and would be a good bargaining chip. Madison carefully prepared public opinion for what everyone at the time called "Mr. Madison's War," but much less time and money was spent building up the army, navy, forts, or state militias. Historians in 2006 ranked Madison's failure to avoid war as the #6 worst presidential mistake ever made[3]. After Congress declared war, Madison was re-elected President over DeWitt Clinton but by a smaller margin than in 1808 (see U.S. presidential election, 1812).

    In the ensuing War of 1812, the British won numerous victories, including the capture of Detroit after the American general surrendered to a small force without a fight, and occupation of Washington, D.C., forcing Madison to flee the city and watch as the White House was set on fire by British troops. The British also armed American Indians in the West, most notably followers of Tecumseh. Finally the Indians were defeated and a standoff was reached on the Canadian border. The Americans built warships on the Great Lakes faster than the British and gained the upper hand. At sea, the British blockaded the entire coastline, cutting off both foreign trade and domestic trade between ports. Economic hardship was severe in New England, but entrepreneurs did start up factories that soon became the basis of the industrial revolution in America.

    After the defeat of Napoleon, both the British and Americans were exhausted, the causes of the war had been forgotten, and it was time for peace. New England Federalists, however, set up a defeatist Hartford Convention that discussed secession. In 1814, the Treaty of Ghent ended the war. The treaty nullified any territorial gains on either side, returning the countries to status quo ante bellum. The Battle of New Orleans, in which Andrew Jackson defeated the British regulars, was fought 15 days after the treaty was signed but before it was finalized. With peace finally established, America was swept by a sense of euphoria and national achievement in finally securing full independence from Britain. The Federalists fell apart and eventually disappeared from politics, as an Era of Good Feeling emerged with a much lower level of political fear and vituperation.

    Although Madison had accepted the necessity of a Hamiltonian national bank, an effective taxation system based on tariffs, a standing professional army and a strong navy, he drew the line at internal improvements as advocated by his Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin. In his last act before leaving office, Madison vetoed on states-rights grounds a bill for "internal improvements," including roads, bridges, and canals:

    "Having considered the bill… I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling this bill with the Constitution of the United States… The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified… in the… Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers…"[4]

    Madison rejected the view of Congress that the General Welfare Clause justified the bill, stating:

    "Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them, the terms 'common defense and general welfare' embracing every object and act within the purview of a legislative trust."

    Madison would support internal improvement schemes only through constitutional amendment; but he urged a variety of measures that he felt were "best executed under the national authority," including federal support for roads and canals that would "bind more closely together the various parts of our extended confederacy."

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  • 1 decade ago

    The Whitehouse official website gives great bios on all of the presidents. Go to the link below first. Another great site is PBS. I have included that link. Read these both, they are very short, and you should be able to draft essay questions from the material. Good luck.

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