Magazine January 24, 2022, Issue

The Contradictions of James Madison, Our First National Politician

Engraving of James Madison, 1859 (GeorgiosArt/Getty Images)
James Madison: America’s First Politician, by Jay Cost (Basic Books, 464 pp., $35)

Every time a biographer of a Founding Father is asked why we need yet another such book, I wish for the question to receive the contempt it deserves. If the universe can bear up under the weight of so many movie remakes of various Peter Parkers being bitten by slightly different radioactive spiders, there’s space enough for a few more good bio­graphies. We need more books about the Founders because we need more books about the Founders. Jay Cost, the Gerald R. Ford fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the co-host of National Review’s Constitutionally Speaking podcast, has written

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This article appears as “More Politics to Cure Politics” in the January 24, 2022, print edition of National Review.

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