It is ironic that the man so widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest contributors, if not the greatest contributor to the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, still remains one of the least well-known figures among the “founding fathers” of the United States.
The man was a part of every major national political activity from the invocation of religious freedom during the first Virginia Constitutional Convention through the Virginia Constitutional Convention revising the Virginia Constitution in 1829.
The opportunity to speak to Mr. Madison, to converse with him on a host of subjects, would be an enlightening experience, and would add a dimension to the public discussion of issues that still occupy the collective American mind, and are a part of the great republican experiment in government.
John Douglas Hall, as James Madison, brings to life again this extraordinary man, in the context of Madison’s own time, two hundred years ago to the day.
Since 1986, Mr. Hall has followed Madison’s life day by day keeping step with Madison as he faced the issues of a young nation and slowly matured as one of the most well-read and informed man of his times.
From the copious reading which Madison had undertaken covering a vast array of subjects from law to agriculture, from diplomatic correspondence to dissections of small animals, and from the history of banking to the study of Ancient and Modern Confederacies—all of these subjects are a part of the man many in his family called “Little Jemmy,” and all of these subjects are a part of the man whom many today describe as “the James Madison.”
In the context of Madison’s life, in the syntax of the times, in the enormous complexity of an active and vital academic mind, John Douglas Hall reveals James Madison in a manner few can rival. Spontaneous and with all the depth and facility of Madison himself, Mr. Hall has devoted his professional life to making Madison’s education his own education, to read the same correspondence and gazettes as Madison himself read daily, to know the people and places Madison himself knew—essentially to continually and progressively follow Madison’s day-to-day life, at Madison’s own pace, and to present this constantly evolving Madison to public and private audiences.
It is an effort to draw from the writings of the many researchers and historians who have contributed to the accumulated understanding of James Madison, and to offer yet another means of bringing their collective work to the public at large.