I admit that one of my heroes in life is the fourth president of the U.S. James Madison. There are a number of reasons for that admiration not the least of which are the similarity between Madison and me. Compared to many of the other Founders Madison was a little guy. He was 5′ 7″ and small stature while most of the other famous people during that period were broad-shouldered and well over 6′. Since he was a little guy he had to work harder than many of the others to get any attention. I am currently 5′ 7″ myself (although I was over 5′ 9″ before old age and compression fractures took me down a few inches). Two of my best friends growing up were over 6′ tall so I was always the little guy in the group.
Madison was also an intellectual with an amazing ability for logic and organization. That is what made him so valuable during the Constitutional Convention and got him the moniker of the “Father of the Constitution”. Although I can’t begin to mirror his mighty accomplishments I too am somewhat of an intellectual (IQ in the 130s) and have always had a pendent for organization and writing. So I feel a closeness to Madison that I don’t feel for many other famous people.
So, visiting his home Montpelier in Virginia was a rare treat for me. His house was not the mansions of Mount Vernon or the Hermitage that I would visit a few days later. Madison didn’t put a lot of weight into being showy. He left that up to his very outgoing wife Dolly Madison. She, except for maybe Elenore Roosevelt, was probably the most outspoken first lady. That is yet another thing I have in common with my hero James, I married a very outspoken woman myself.
It was a wonderful time visiting Montpelier and getting a little closer to my hero James Madison.