James Madison

One of the more well-known founding fathers, James Madison was the primary author of the U.S. Constitution, the author of the Bill of Rights, and our fourth president. Along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, Madison wrote the Federalist Papers, and, in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson, organized the Republican, now known as the Democratic-Republican, Party.


The Federalist No. 10

by James Madison in 1787

Madison discusses how a large, republican government can mitigate the effects of factions.



by James Madison on Mar 29, 1792

Narrowly, we have property rights to things, but in the broader, more correct sense, all the rights we posses are property rights.


James Madison’s Vision of Liberty

by John Samples on Mar 1, 2001

Samples explores James Madison’s life by examining his motivations in drafting and later defending the United States Constitution.

Free Thoughts

Happy (Belated) Birthday James Madison!

featuring John Samples, Gene Healy, and Michael B. Levy on Mar 22, 2019

James Madison would have turned 268 on March 16, 2019, so in honor of that, we explore his political life. 


Madison, James (1750-1836)

by Michael Zuckert on Aug 15, 2008

James Madison was instrumental in creating the values behind the United States Constitution, both as one of its primary authors and in his own writings.


Do We Need the Constitution?

by John Samples on Nov 3, 2011

Samples discusses some of the failures of the constitution, wondering if it can truly be a government limiting document.


Bill of Rights, US

by Randy E. Barnett on Aug 15, 2008

The contents and necessity of the first 10 Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, first debated by Federalists and Anti-Federalists, remains relevant today.


Federalists Versus Anti-Federalists

by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel on Aug 15, 2008

One of the major debates over the U.S. Constitution was between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, largely over the role of the states and a Bill of Rights.

Free Thoughts

Hamilton v. Madison (with Jay Cost)

featuring Trevor Burrus and Jay Cost on Jun 1, 2018

In the history of American politics there are few stories as enigmatic as that of Hamilton and Madison’s personal feud.


Constitutional Controversies

by George H. Smith on Sep 15, 2017

Smith discusses some major controversies provoked by the debate over ratification of the U.S. Constitution.


Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat de

by Jason Kuznicki on Aug 15, 2008

Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, wrote a theory of limited government that inspired American constitutional design and philosophy.

Around the Web

The Rule of Law

featuring Tom W. Bell on Feb 17, 2011

Tom W. Bell explains how the rule of law is a critical part of a free and tolerant society.


Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826)

by Daniel J. Mahoney on Aug 15, 2008

Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence, contributed some of the most important ideas to early US political theory.