James Madison: “Advice to My Country”

(1834)

James Madison was a quiet speaker whom others often had to strain to hear, but his writings were known for their logical rigor and clarity. Madison was rarely willing to compromise vital principles, and his advocacy of a Constitution that embodied some compromises that he had opposed, as well as his work on behalf of a bill of rights that he did not initially consider to be necessary, demonstrated that he could be flexible in pursuit of higher principles. His final “Advice to My Country,” written at the end of his long life, showed an ability to make use of figures of speech in forming an emotional appeal on behalf of national unity in an era of divisiveness leading up to the Civil War.

 

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James Madison (Library of Congress)

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