James Madison, by Charles Willson Peale, 1783

After the constitution was enacted, Madison joined the Virginia House of Delegates, and was subsequently elected to the Virginia governor’s Council of State, serving Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson in 1778 and 1779 respectively. In 1780, he represented Virginia in the Second Continental Congress and served until 1783.  

Madison worked to become an expert in financial issues and parliamentary coalition-building. For example, he proposed to amend the Articles of Confederation to grant Congress the power to raise revenue independently through tariffs on foreign goods, and supported the close alliance between the United States and France. An advocate of westward expansion, he insisted that the Treaty of Paris include the new nation’s rights to navigation on the Mississippi River and the control of all lands east of it.

After serving Congress through 1783, Madison won election to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1784. He became the fourth President of the United States and is considered “The Father of the U.S. Constitution.”