Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe by Chris DeRose

Continuing my study of the founding fathers. The book is basically two mini-biographies of Madison and Monroe, and is especially focused on how Madison shaped the Constitution, and how Monroe almost derailed him by running against him for a seat in the House of  Representatives. Madison won, barely, and went on to write the Bill of Rights and eventually got most of it passed through Congress.

Some interesting tidbits:

  • State sponsored religion. At first the colonist supported a state sponsored religion, and collected taxes that went towards the support of the Church  of England. The connection was broken during the war, and afterwards   Madison played a large role to ensure that a particular religion was NOT supported by the government.
  • Baptist preachers and their followers were routinely imprisoned both before and after the war. The first known imprisonment occurred in Spotsylania County in 1768.
  • The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, drafted by Jefferson and pushed through the legislature by Madison, was one of the first laws to separate the church and the state. It was hailed in Europe as an historic achievement.
  • DC is located where it is due to a compromise in Congress. It was located in NYC during the first Congress. However, the northern states agreed with the Virginians to move it in exchange for the Federal government taking over their war debts.
  • The 27th Amendment was passed 202 years after Madison wrote it. The purpose of the amendment was to prevent Congress from easily giving themselves a raise. Under the amendment, the raise would not take affect until the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate had gone through another election cycle. A student at the University of  Texas thought it was a great idea and started the ball rolling towards its eventual passage.