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Extended Audio Sample James Madison and the Making of America, by Kevin R. C. Gutzman Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kevin R. C. Gutzman Narrator: Arthur More Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In James Madison and the Making of America, historian Kevin Gutzman looks beyond the way James Madison is traditionally seen—as “The Father of the Constitution”—to find a more complex and sometimes contradictory portrait of this influential Founding Father and the ways in which he influenced the spirit of today’s United States. Instead of an idealized portrait of Madison, Gutzman treats listeners to the flesh-and-blood story of a man who often performed his founding deeds in spite of himself: Madison’s fame rests on his participation in the writing of The Federalist Papers and his role in drafting the Bill of Rights and Constitution.

Today his contribution to those documents is largely misunderstood. Madison thought that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary and insisted that it not be included in the Constitution, a document he found entirely inadequate and predicted would soon fail. He helped to create the first American political party, the first party to call itself “Republican”, but only after he had argued that political parties, in general, were harmful. Madison served as Secretary of State and then as President during the early years of the United States and the War of 1812; however, the American foreign policy he implemented in 1801–1817 ultimately resulted in the British burning down the Capitol and the White House.

In so many ways, the contradictions both in Madison’s thinking and in the way he governed foreshadowed the conflicted state of our Union now. His greatest legacy—the disestablishment of Virginia’s state church and adoption of the libertarian Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom—is often omitted from discussion of his career. Yet understanding the way in which Madison saw the relationship between the church and state is key to understanding the real man. Kevin Gutzman’s James Madison and the Making of America promises to become the standard biography of our fourth President.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Recaptures the drama and excitement of the new nation’s bold experiment in republican self-government.”

    Peter S. Onuf, professor emeritus, University of Virginia

  • “Kevin Gutzman’s beautifully written and insightful account of James Madison’s fascinating life promises to become the standard biography of this great founding father.”

    Edward G. Lengel, author of Inventing George Washington

  • “Writing with authority and verve, Kevin Gutzman merges James Madison, the practical Virginia politician, and James Madison, the world-class political theorist, in this well-rounded biography of one of the most remarkably multifaceted founders of the republic.”

    Jon Kukla, author of Mr. Jefferson’s Women

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About the Author

Kevin R. C. Gutzman, JD, PhD, received his master’s degree in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, his JD from the University of Texas School of Law, and his MA and PhD in American history from the University of Virginia. He has published articles in such journals as the Journal of Southern History, the Journal of the Early Republic, and the Review of Politics, as well as over fifty encyclopedia articles and numerous essays in popular publications. He lives in Bethel, Connecticut.