James Madison is considered the most influential contributor to the United States Constitution, and he worked vigorously to see it ratified. James Madison also contributed to The Federalist Papers
to explain his advocacy for a strong federal government. He grew up as a farmer on his family's plantation, Montpelier, in northern Virginia. A graduate of College of New Jersey at Princeton (1771), Madison helped draft the Virginia constitution and served as a member of the legislature and the governor's advisory council. He served as a member of Congress and as Jefferson's
Secretary of State before winning the presidential election of 1808. Madison served two terms in office, losing much of his prestige over his leadership during the War of 1812. During the war, Madison was forced to flee Washington when the British army invaded. His wife, First Lady Dolley Madison
, stayed behind and salvaged national treasures. The last of the so-called Founding Fathers to serve as president, Madison died on June 28th, just days before the 60th anniversary of Independence Day.