James Madison was born at Port Conway, Va., 16 March 1751, and graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) in 1771. He was a member of the Virginia Council of State, and in 1780 became a member of the Continental Congress. An early advocate of increased Federal power under the Articles of Confederation, Madison served in the Virginia House of Delegates 1784-86 and was instrumental in securing passage of Jefferson's religious freedom bill. He played an influential role in the movement which led to the Constitutional Convention, drafted the "Virginia Plan" which became the core of that document, and worked tirelessly for its adoption. A first-rate thinker and writer on political theory and practice, he was the author of 29 of the famous Federalist Papers.
Madison served in the House 1789-97 and proposed the first 10 amendments to the Constitution which became the Bill of Rights. Later, as leader of the Jeffersonian Republicans, he drew up the Virginia Resolves and condemned the Alien and Sedition Acts.
After being Secretary of State under Jefferson 1801-09, he was elected President. His first term was marred by the unpopular War of 1812 and his administration was marked by a trend toward nationalism. President James Madison, died 28 June 1836, but continues in fame as one of the Nation's most important thinkers and statesmen.
The first James Madison, a Revenue Cutter built at Baltimore, Md., in 1807 to enforce Jefferson's embargo, was placed under Navy orders 18 June 1812 for service at Savannah, Ga., during the War of 1812. In July the cutter, commanded by Captain George Brooks, USRCS, captured British Shamrock, a six-gun brig laden with small arms and ammunition. Later that month she brought into Amelia Island, Fla., Bahamian schooner Wade carrying $20,000 in gold.
James Madison was captured by the British Navy 24 November 1812, and her officers and crew were imprisoned in New York.