Celebrity Then And Now
James Madison
Famous For: 4th President of the United StatesCurrently Known For: Former President of the United States
James Madison
Famous For 4th President of the United States
Currently Known For Former President of the United States

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary." Though he sometimes gets overlooked as one of the founding fathers of the United States, James Madison was certainly an instrumental person in developing the new nation as he was the man that helped write up the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Madison was a member of the Democratic-Republican from the state of Virginia when he ran for office in 1808, going up against Federalist Charles C. Pinckney.

Madison would easily win the election, claiming nearly two-thirds of the vote and won the electoral vote by a margin of 122 to 47. Madison had been the Secretary of State leading up to that time for Thomas Jefferson, and spent eight years as the President of the United States. Going back even further, Madison served as a representative of Virginia.

Looking at Madison’s upbringing, he had lived on a farm with successful parents and was tutored by one of the more prestigious teachers, Donald Robertson, as a child. Madison was given an opportunity to learn many different subjects, and showed great signs of intelligence. With that, he enrolled in what is now Princeton University where he studies a wide range of subjects.

In 1771, Madison received his degree from Princeton and stuck around at the school to continue his studies before returning home. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Madison became a leader in the local militia in Virginia, though his health and small stature held him back from actually being able to participate in the war. As a representative, Madison was quite popular with the revolutionaries and was seen as a fine leader.

With all of that in mind and the fact that Madison was one that did the most work on one of the two most important documents in United States history, where does he rank among the presidents in terms of his intelligence? Well, there’s good news for Madison fans, as he is widely considered to be one of the smartest men to ever hold the presidency.

An evaluation of presidents has listed Madison as having an estimated IQ of 150, which would put him as tied for third with Thomas Jefferson, the man who preceded him as president. Only Jimmy Carter (153) and John Quincy Adams (165) would have higher estimated IQ levels. An IQ of 150 would also put Madison into the “genius” category that ranges from around 145 to 164, and would make him a candidate for Mensa. Not only that, but it would put him into qualification for the Triple Nine Society that takes only the top 0.1 percent of IQ scores.

The United States was in need of a leader as the country headed into the War of 1812, which Madison presided over. However, when people talk about Madison, they only seem to remember what he accomplished before he ever became president, and not really what he did during that time. Of course, that’s easy to do when the man was so instrumental in the United States becoming an independent country and working as Thomas Jefferson’s Secretary of State.

After the War of 1812 came to an end, the United States experienced some very positive times under Madison. The country was no longer facing debt, and the budget was restored to a surplus in large part to Madison’s policies. The military was further established through Madison, and he oversaw the paying of pension plans to widows and orphans of the war.

One thing that often gets overlooked in terms of what made the United States the economic power it is today is one of Madison’s policies, which was the Tariff of 1816. During this time, American-made goods received more protection from international competition, and it helped to boost money coming into the U.S. economy. During this time, America was at peace and the financial benefits that people were experiencing made for a good time to be alive.

So not only was Madison fondly remembered as being a very smart man, but many consider him to be a great president on top of that. Presidential rankings have consistently thought of Madison as being one of the 10 greatest presidents to ever live, even if he does get overshadowed by the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Madison had left office after his two terms in 1817 when he went back to his plantation in Virginia. Politicians had looked to Madison for advice, which allowed him to serve as an advisor to the likes of Andrew Jackson. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Madison also helped to establish the University of Virginia where he became the rector (and eventually chancellor) of the college.

Madison was a man of high intelligence that worked to perfect his legacy, especially in his later years. The nation mourned when he passed away on June 28, 1836 at the age of 85 as he had spent his entire life devoted to the United States and its development. Though he was quiet and short, Madison commanded respect and became a prominent figure in American history.

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