Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, President Madison

Today marks the 260th anniversary of the birth of the man for whom, indirectly, Madison Park was named: James Madison, fourth President of the United States (1809-17).  Madison, known as “The Father of the Constitution,” served two terms in office, preceded by Thomas Jefferson and succeeded by James Monroe.  As President, Madison presided over the War of 1812, which resulted in the British setting fire to the White House, but which also culminated in future-president Andrew Jackson’s triumph at the Battle of New Orleans.

We say indirectly with regard to our community’s name, since the Madison Park neighborhood was actually named after the Park at the end of Madison Street, the street itself having been named in honor of the Fourth President.  We chronicled that story at this time last year (“We could be living in Monroe Park”).

An interesting historical fact:  President Madison had a different Vice President for each of his two terms, the second one being Elbridge Gerry, a Massachusetts politician for whom the term “Gerrymandering” is named.

[Graphic:  President Madison, Oil on Canvas, Bradley Stephens (after Charles Wilson Peale), courtesy of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.]

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