The Last of the Fathers: James Madison and the Republican Legacy

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Cambridge University Press, May 23, 1991 - Biography & Autobiography - 386 pages
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James Madison survived longer than any other member of the most remarkable generation of political leaders in American history. Born in the middle of the eighteenth century as a subject of King George II, the Father of the United States Constitution lived until 1836, when he died a citizen of Andrew Jackson's republic. For over forty years he played a pivotal role in the creation and defense of a new political order. He lived long enough to see even that Revolutionary world transformed, and the system of government he had nurtured threatened by the disruptive forces of a new era that would ultimately lead to civil war. In recounting the experience of Madison and several of his legatees who witnessed the violent test of whether his republic could endure, McCoy dramatizes the actual working out in human lives of critical cultural and political issues.
 

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The last of the fathers: James Madison and the Republican legacy

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McCoy's excellent and richly detailed work picks up where others leave off, at Madison's retirement in 1817. The focus is on Madison (1751-1836), the exponent of an 18th-century "republican faith ... Read full review

Contents

The character of the good statesman
9
The character of the good republic Justice stability and the constitution
39
Retrospect and prospect Congress and the perils of popular government
85
Memory and meaning Nullification and the lost world of the founding
119
The republic transformed Population economy and society
171
Accommodation The Old Dominion
217
Despair The peculiar institution
253
Legacy The strange career of William Cabell Rives
323
Epilogue
371
Acknowledgments
375
Index
377
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