He was a small man at 5 feet 4 inches tall, less than 100 pounds with penetrating eyes, a charming smile, and parchment skin. "James Madison Jr. born into a large Episcopalian family on March 16,1751 in Port Conway, Virginia, made a large political impact on the United States of America" (The Federalist 1). "He was frequently referred to as the father of the Constitution, for he made many provisions to it's making" (The Federalist 1). "His father James Madison Sr. one of the wealthiest landowner's of the area managed a large Piedmont farm, and married late to Nelly Conway in 1749." "There were eleven children born in all to the Madison family, only seven survived to adulthood" (Rakove 1). "The first born son James Madison Jr. was to be the heir of the plantation located in Orange County, Virginia" (Ketcham 12). "During his childhood years life centered on the farm." "The building of the new family home became the main interest of young Madison Jr. who was noted to spend time lifting small boards to help build the home." "He would help to furnish it by carrying small pieces of furniture from the old to the new" (Ketcham 13). "During the stressful building of the mansion there was the fright of the Indian War, and the terrible drought that had taken effect on Orange County." "Thought to be one of the hardest times that young Madison endured throughout life was the severe epidemic of smallpox" (Ketcham 14). "It is thought that young Madison and his siblings were isolated from contact with outside humans, or sent away for fear they would contract the disease" (Ketcham 17).
Only part of James Madison's early education is known. "His early schooling amounted only to reading, writing, and arithmetic" (Ketcham 17). "The mansion was filled with books ranging from grammar to horses, the books were bought and ordered for James two years after he was born" (Ketcham 17). "For five years, at the age of eleven his studies included Logic, Math, Philosophy, Astronomy, and French at a school kept by the family preacher Donald Robertson." "The last two years of his schooling were spent at the plantation being tutored by Reverend Thomas Martin" (Rakove 2). "In 1769 he was accepted to the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton)." "Completing a four-year degree in two years he graduated in 1771, and remained at Princeton where his health became delicate" (Rakove 2). "After recovering he began to study law" (Ketcham 51). "In 1776 at the age of 23 Madison's public career began when he became a member of the King George County Committee for Public Safety in Virginia." "For the rest of his life, he would be of service to the nation" (The Federalist 1).
"Madison's future wife Dolley Payne Todd grew up in a small Quaker community in Virginia." "Shortly after moving to Philadelphia in 1783, she married a wealthy Quaker by the name of John Todd" (Ketcham 376). "The yellow fever epidemic of 1793 took the life of Dolley's...