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February 27, 2001

Library of Congress Symposium Marks the 250th Anniversary of James Madison's Birth

On March 16, the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the James Madison Commemoration Commission, will host a symposium to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of James Madison, the nation's fourth president. The symposium, "James Madison: Philosopher and Practitioner of Liberal Democracy," is cosponsored by the Henry Salvatori Center at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. It will be chaired by Charles Kesler of Claremont McKenna College.

The symposium will explore the thought and character of James Madison as well as his many significant contributions to the nation's history, such as his defense of religious liberty; his role as architect and principal defender of the Constitution of the United States; his introduction of the legislation that produced the Bill of Rights; and his service as secretary of state in 1801-1809, and as president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. The all-day symposium, which will be held in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, is open to the public without charge or advance reservation.

The Library of Congress's James Madison Memorial Building, dedicated in 1981, is the nation's official memorial to the fourth president. A statue of Madison can be seen in the memorial hall near the building's entrance, and quotations from Madison's writings adorn the walls of the memorial hall as well as the entrance of the building.

Special events to commemorate the anniversary, such as new exhibits, visitor amenities and the dedication of the Madison family cemetery, are also being planned at Montpelier, James Madison's home in Orange, Va. For more information on these programs and other events planned at Montpelier throughout the year, contact Randy Huwa, (540) 672-0017, or via e-mail at

The program for the morning and afternoon sessions of the Library of Congress symposium "James Madison; Philosopher and Practitioner of Liberal Democracy" follows.

MORNING SESSION (9 to 11:45 a.m.)

Lance Banning, University of Kentucky
"James Madison, Federalist"

Robert Goldwin, American Enterprise Institute
"James Madison's Sagacious, Powerful, Combining Mind"

James Hutson, Library of Congress
"James Madison and the Social Utility of Religion: Risks vs. Rewards"

AFTERNOON SESSION (2 to 4:45 p.m.)

Harry Jaffa, Claremont McKenna College
"Defenders of the Constitution: Madison vs. Calhoun"

Drew McCoy, Clark University
"Remembering James Madison: Character, Vision and Experience"

Gary Rosen, Commentary Magazine
"Was Madison an Original Thinker?"

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PR 01-032
ISSN 0731-3527

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