The Three Lives of James Madison
Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman speaks at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
If James Madison, a founding father and America's fourth president, were to run for office today, he would struggle to get elected. Author of a new biography on Madison, Noah Feldman, says he was a deeply serious person who hated speaking in front of crowds and loathed asking people to vote for him. His skill of analyzing problems in a rational way, though, was essential in building a new nation.
Feldman talked about his book The Three Lives of James Madison at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June. He says Madison's three most significant contributions were made during three different periods in his life. He designed the Constitution, led the struggle for its adoption and radification, then drafted the Bill of Rights. Madison was modest in his personal manner, Feldman says, but not modest in his aspirations. He created modern constitutional thought and invented federalism. "If federalism was a new kind of constitutional physics, Madison was its Einstein or its Newton. And, he thought so."
Discover more about what's discussed in this episode by exploring the links below.
- The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President, Noah Feldman
- Aspen Ideas Festival sessions that feature Noah Feldman
- The Curse of Bigness, Aspen Ideas to Go
- Keeping Watch: Cybersecurity, Creativity, and the Press, Aspen Insight