Credit: Courtesy of American Memory at the Library of Congress.
Why is James Madison such an important figure? Why is he known as the "Father of the Constitution"? How involved was James Madison in the most important events in America from 1775 to 1817? The answers to these questions provide context for understanding the importance of James Madison's opinions on constitutional issues. They also should help students appreciate Madison's position as a president embroiled in disputes over the meaning of the document he had inspired.
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
Provide students with the chart "Events: 1775-1817" (Pages 1-2 of the Master PDF). Using the following biographical material about Madison on the EDSITEment resource The American President, or another teacher-approved source, ask students, working individually or in small groups, to find connections between events in the political career of James Madison and the listed events in American history from 1775 to 1817.
Having completed the lesson, students should be able to respond effectively to the following questions:
Ask students to write a short statement (3-4 sentences) explaining why Madison is called the "Father of the Constitution." Then have the students draft outlines (no longer than one page) that they would use to support the ideas presented in their statement. The outline should be organized around the basic ideas and should indicate the specific evidence that would support their ideas if they were writing short essays (five paragraphs, for example).
1 class periods