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Virginia has been home to 8 American presidents.  I’ve been to George Washington’s estate (Mt. Vernon) a few times, visited Monticello a few years ago, stopped by Woodrow Wilson’s Presidential Library (and birthplace home) last summer, and finally checked James Madison’s home, Montpelier, off my list this summer.

 

Who was James Madison?

James Madison was the 4th president of the United States and is known as the Father of the Constitution.  He was a co-author of The Federalist Papers and championed the Bill of Rights.  His political accomplishments are quite numerous.  Living to the age of 85, Madison continued to work and write almost to the end of his life.

Watch this video to see Madison’s 3 Big Ideas

(Don’t worry – it’s less than 10 minutes long and is surprisingly entertaining for a movie about writing the Constitution!)

 

 

Let’s take a look around…

Life size statues of James and Dolly Madison greet visitors outside the visitors center at Montpelier.
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Life size statues of James and Dolly Madison greet visitors outside the visitors center. (Yes, he really was that short!)

 

Standing outside the front gate of Montpelier, home of President James Madison
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Montpelier… just a little shack in the country…

 

View of meadow and mountains in the background, seen from the front porch of Montpelier, home of President James Madison
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Not a bad view, eh? I could sit on Montpelier’s front porch all day looking out at this!

 

Travel mascot, Vacation Mouse, waits outside the yellow front door of Montepelier, home of President James Madison
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Vacation Mouse is looking forward to his tour of Montpelier!

 

Dining room at Montpelier, home of President James Madison
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Dinner with the Madisons… James Madison was always surrounded by noteable people of the day.

 

Bookshelf full of letters written by President James Madison
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Madison was a prolific writer and a frequent correspondent. There is a writing desk in almost every room of the house and letters tucked away in nooks and crannies. Quite a striking effect to see so many letters!

 

Madison Mouse booklet is perfect for kids (or adults!) to look for fun details throughout the tour of the house.
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Vacation Mouse enjoyed following the Madison Mouse tour book through the house!

 

Buildings in the South Yard of Montpelier are being reconstructed to show where the slaves lived and worked.
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The South Yard is where the slaves lived and worked. Excavation and reconstruction are in progress.

 

All about the Constitution

Any discussion of James Madison will include the US Constitution just because he contributed so significantly to the ideas behind it and the writing of it.  We ended up on the Constitution tour rather than the regular house tour just due to the timing of our arrival.  While I would have enjoyed learning more about his life in general, it was a great civics lesson to learn about his many contributions to our government and the ideas behind the Constitution which was the focus of the Constitution tour.

Did you watch the video I posted above about Madison’s Big 3?  You really should watch it.  It’s great refresher!

 

Want to learn more?

Go to the official Montpelier website to find tons of great information about the house and about James Madison.  Tour and ticket information is also available there.

 

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Visit Montpelier, the home of America's fourth president and Father of the Constitution, James Madison. Walk in his footsteps and learn about his significant contributions to our country and government.
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Visit Montpelier, the home of America’s fourth president and Father of the Constitution, James Madison. Walk in his footsteps and learn about his significant contributions to our country and government.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Perhaps school systems will schedule field trips. I was present for one to Montpelier many years ago. Can still smell the boxwoods.

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