Citizens of the United States can thank James Madison, a man who lived 200 years ago, for some of the important rights they enjoy, including the right to speak their mind, criticize the government, and practice the religion of their choice. His important contributions to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights earned him the nickname Father of the Constitution.
As the fourth president, James Madison guided the nation through some of its early growing pains, including the War of 1812, which finally broke the grips of a bullying Great Britain. Meanwhile, he and his glamorous wife threw some of the liveliest parties the White House had ever seen.
When he died at the age of eighty-five, the nation mourned the passing of its last Founding Father. Madison was gone, but his foresight and tireless service had helped to carve out a free nation.