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James Madison - What Happened Next . . .

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The Bill of Rights was adopted by the states in 1791. It provided important individual liberties, such as freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, freedom from self-incrimination, and freedom from illegal search and seizures. Following its adoption, Madison used his seat in the House of Representatives, which he held until 1797, to defend individual and state rights from the strong federal government he helped fashion.

Madison founded a new political party known as the Democratic-Republicans whose main focus was to ensure the federal government did not infringe on the individual liberties he had listed in the Bill of Rights. Madison and fellow party leader Thomas Jefferson fought the stronger Federalist tendencies of the George Washington (1732–1799; served 1789–97) and John Adams (1735–1826; served 1797–1801) administrations.

Thomas Jefferson won the presidency for the party in the 1800 elections and appointed Madison his secretary of state. Madison would not only follow Jefferson into the White House in 1809, but became head of the University of Virginia upon Jefferson's death. Madison died in 1836.


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