James Madison
1809 - 1817
4th President

James Madison was born in Port Conway, Virginia at midnight on March 16, 1751. He is one of seven Presidents from Virginia.

His friends called him "Jemmie." He was the oldest of 12 children.

James Madison was called "The Father of the Constitution." He was one of two presidents to sign the Constitution. (George Washington was the other.)

Madison was the shortest and slightest president. He was only 5 ft. 4 in. tall and weighed just 100 pounds,

Madison and Zachary Taylor were second cousins.

James (43) married Dolley Payne Todd (26) on September 15, 1794. She widow with one son.

Madison owned slaves.

James Madison as a half first cousin twice removed of George Washington.

He won the election with 122 electoral votes, Pinckney had 47, and Clinton 6. In his second election Madison had 128 electoral votes and Clinton 89 electoral votes.

President Madison

James Madison. Stuart,
Gilbert, 1755-1828, artist.
Library of Congress

As President, James Madison lead the US against the British during the War of 1812, (1812-1814). Although he never served in the military.

After the War of 1812, the executive mansion was painted white to cover the scorched exterior. That is how it got the name "White House."

President Madison was the first president who had been a congressman.

During his terms, James Madison had two Vice Presidents and had times when no one was serving as Vice President.

  • George Clinton, Vice President (1809-1812)
  • No Vice President (1812-1813)
  • Elbridge Gerry, Vice Presidetnt (1813-1814)
  • No Vice President (1814-1817)

James Madison was the first President to regularly wear trousers instead of knee breeches.

The Madison's may have been the first President and First Lady to serve their guests ice cream.

When the British burned the White House, the president and his wife fled. His wife Dolley, however, was able save the Declaration of Independence and a painting of George Washington.

Madison was one of three Presidents who didn't have any children.

Dolley Madison was very popular. One source said she was also the first person to send personal message by telegraph.

Dolley had a pet parrot who lived in the White House with the Madisons. The parrot outlived both Dolley and James.

Madison was the last president from the Federalist Party.

President James Madison was the only President who was not reelected during a war.

His last words were: "I always talk better lying down."

James Madison died after 6 a.m. on June 28, 1836. He was 85 years and 104 days old. He is buried in Montpelier, Va.






  • The Presidents of the United States. 22 September 2004
  • Davis, Gibbs and Ilus. David A. Johnson. Wackiest White House Pets. New York: Scholastic Press, October 2004
  • James, Barber and Amy Pastan. Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies. New York: DK Publishing, 2002
  • Harnsberger, Caroline Thomas. Treasury of Presidential Quotations. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1964
  • Kane, Joseph Natan. Facts about the Presidents from Washington to Johnson. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1964.
  • National Park Service Web Site on Presidential Trivia:

Additional Sources:


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This page was last modified: January 31, 2012