Magazine October 31, 2011, Issue

Architect of Freedom

Detail of a portrait of James Madison (White House Historical Association/Wikimedia)
James Madison, by Richard Brookhiser (Basic, 287 pp., $26.99)

Among the founding fathers of the top tier, James Madison takes the honor as the one we know the least about. We recall that he’s the “Father of the Constitution,” and that venerable title usually exhausts our quizzable information. He’s not the granite figure of Washington, the adroit financial genius of Hamilton, the philosopher-prince of Jefferson, or the pugnacious patriot of Adams. His visage doesn’t grace our money. But though he may not play the most dramatic role in popular mythology, nonetheless he was, as Richard Brookhiser amply explores in his new book, a brilliantly able statesman who proved to

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A bunch of obnoxious, freakish-looking people made a spectacle of themselves in downtown New York. You don’t say.

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