The Father of the Constitution

Fathers Day having just passed, I have been thinking a little bit about the man we call “The Father of the Constitution”. The anniversary of his death is coming soon. He died on June 28, 1836, at the age of 85. He lived the last several years at his home, Montpelier, Virginia. His home wasn’t too far from Monticello, the home of his beloved friend, Thomas Jefferson.

Madison was the tireless scholar who fought for and caused the Constitutional Convention to occur. He knew the Articles of Confederation (the preliminary agreement between the colonies to bring unity) wasn’t working. He invited and got 55 of the most revered men from each of the 13 colonies to attend—eventually. And he proposed the plan that became the basis for our Constitution.

It is somehow fitting that James Madison was the last remaining signer of that inspired document. It is now worth remembering his own words about the ends of government. They are deeply profound:

“The aim of every political construction, is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of society; and it the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.” (As quoted in “Founding Fathers—Uncommon Heroes”, 2003, Steven W. Allen, page 211.)

A belated Happy Fathers Day!

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