James Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution, was born on March 16, 1751 in Port Conway, Virginia. This day has been nationally recognized as Liberty Day, from which the Liberty Day Institute gets its name and our official theme day.
A lawyer and Virginia state legislator, Madison grew deeply concerned about the failure and impending collapse of the Articles of Confederation, America’s first attempt at a national government.
As the Framers met at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Madison put forth the Virginia Plan, which recommended the use of population as the basis for representation in the legislature.
He was instrumental in the design of three separate but equal branches of government and later in securing the ratification of the Constitution through the Federalist Papers, which he penned alongside fellow Founders Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. Madison was also the author of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Madison went on to serve the nation as its fourth President from 1809-1817.
Because of his significant role in the creation of the Constitution, Madison has since garnered the title “Father of the Constitution,” though he modestly maintained that the designation is “a credit to which I have no claim… [The Constitution] ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands.”
Nevertheless, the extremely influential role Madison played in the crafting and ratification of the Constitution inspired Andy McKean, founder of the Liberty Day Institute, to work toward officially establishing the day Liberty Day. It has since been recognized by state legislatures across the country and the United States Congress.