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9781541699557

James Madison America's First Politician

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781541699557

  • ISBN10:

    1541699556

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2021-11-02
  • Publisher: Basic Books
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Summary

An intellectual biography of James Madison, arguing that he invented American politics as we know it 

How do you solve a problem like James Madison? The fourth president is one of the most confounding figures in early American history; his political trajectory seems almost intentionally inconsistent. He was both for and against a strong federal government. He wrote about the dangers of political parties in the Federalist Papers and then helped to found the Republican Party just a few years later. This so-called Madison problem has occupied scholars for ages. 

As Jay Cost shows in this incisive new biography, the underlying logic of Madison’s seemingly mixed record comes into focus only when we understand him primarily as a working politician. Whereas other founders split their time between politics and other vocations, Madison dedicated himself singularly to the work of politics and ultimately developed it into a distinctly American idiom. He was, in short, the first American politician. 

Author Biography

Jay Cost is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and has written for the Wall Street Journal, National Review, and Commentary. He holds a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Chicago. The author of The Price of Greatness and A Republic No More, he lives in western Pennsylvania.

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