On this day. 1836: James Madison died. He was the fourth president, serving between 1809-17. Madison is known as "Father of the Constitution," because he was its principal author; in 1788, he wrote more than a third of the Federalist Papers, still the most influential commentary on the Constitution itself.
Madison helped bring the capital to what is now Washington, saying it needed to be secure after citizens attacked Congress in Philadelphia in 1783. But Washington wasn't secure. After vowing to defend "every inch" against the British in the War of 1812, Madison fled; the city was torched.
On this day. 1965: President Lyndon Johnson authorized the first U.S. ground combat forces in Vietnam. Within four years, there would be 538,000.
Quote of the day
"The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted." -James Madison
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
Subscribe to the Week