Friday, September 10, 2010

James and Dolley's - Home A little History

This is Montpelier home of James and Dolley Madison

"James Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American politician and political philosopher who served as the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817) and is considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States."

"After Dolley Madison sold Montpelier in 1844, the property changed hands several times before its purchase by William duPont in 1901. It is often difficult to pinpoint who made what changes to the house during this period."

"Marion duPont Scott (1894 - September 4, 1983) was an American philanthropist, internationally renowned thoroughbred horse breeder and the last private owner of Montpelier, the mansion and land estate of former United States President James Madison. At the time of her death, Mrs. Scott bequeathed Montpelier to the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a national landmark open to the general public, with the condition that the Madison home (which had been expanded to 55 rooms by the du Pont family) be restored to its original 22 room state as a historic landmark."

The grounds of Montpelier Mansion are beautiful and green with tree lined borders around beautiful rolling pastures.

We did find a nice place to park the Musemobile.

In the visitors center there is a bust of James Madison...

... that Sharyn, in her respect for history, stopped to admire.

"James Madison was the principal author of the US Constitution, and is often called the "Father of the Constitution". In 1788, he wrote over a third of the Federalist Papers, the most influential commentary on the Constitution. The first president to have served in the United States Congress, he was a leader in the 1st United States Congress, drafting many basic laws, and was responsible for the first ten amendments to the Constitution and thus is also known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights".As a political theorist, Madison's most distinctive belief was that the new republic needed checks and balances to protect individual rights from the tyranny of the majority."

There was a model of the property in the center giving us a bird's eye view.

Everyone who thinks of James Madison also think of his wife Dolley (on the poster behind the counter) but not many know Dolley acted as ceremonial first last for Thomas Jefferson since Jefferson was a widower.
"In May, 1794, James Madison asked his friend Aaron Burr to introduce him to Dolley Todd. Madison was seventeen years her senior and, at the age of forty-three, a long-standing bachelor.

The encounter apparently went smoothly for a brisk courtship followed, and by August she had accepted his proposal of marriage. For marrying Madison, a non-Quaker, she was expelled from the Society of Friends. They were married on September 15, 1794 and lived in Philadelphia for the next three years."

There currently is an Archaeological excavation taking place at Montpelier

"In 2003 the Montpelier Archaeology Department located a quarter for enslaved field hands between the Montpelier mansion and the Mount Pleasant site. One of the most amazing aspects of this site is that it turned out to have never been plowed since abandonment in the 1840s. What this meant for the archaeology is that all of the surface features such as paths, work areas, footings for structures, and shallow exterior hearths are intact. Such preservation is rare at these sites that were often returned to fields after abandonment."

The house is in the process of being beautifully restored...

... and the view from the front porch is amazingly serene.

Visitors are not allowed to take photographs inside the house but I was allowed to take this shot from a rooftop deck.

In the back yard of the home is a life sized sculpture of James and Dolley.

This domed structure on the property is called ...

... the Temple and it is amazing to see up close.

There is also a very nice walled garden on the property...

... that I entered ...

... and then looked back...

...then looked to the right...

... and left at a giant serpent in the lawn.

Though it was late in the season I did find some blooms...

... and two reclining lions...

... then looked back once more at the descending path ...

then forward to a great sundial.

As I approached the garden exit the thing that hit me was the beauty of this layout and how great it would be to have this spot of earth to walk in every day...

... so I took one last picture to remember this very special place and the amazing James Madison.

"As leader in the House of Representatives, Madison worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in 1791, Madison and Thomas Jefferson organized what they called the Republican Party (later called the Democratic-Republican Party) in opposition to key policies of the Federalists, especially the national bank and the Jay Treaty. He secretly co-authored, along with Thomas Jefferson, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 to protest the Alien and Sedition Acts.

As Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801–1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation's size, and sponsored the ill-fated Embargo Act of 1807. As president, he led the poorly prepared nation into the War of 1812 against Great Britain. A series of disasters at the beginning of the war damaged his reputation, but by 1814–15 American forces repulsed major British invasions, the Federalist opposition fell into disarray, and Americans felt triumphant at the end of the war. During and after the war, Madison reversed many of his positions. By 1815, he supported the creation of the second National Bank, a strong military, and a high tariff to protect the new factories opened during the war."

When all is said and done this was the home of a great man who helped make this country great.

No Scrabble but I did put in some new light (bulbs) on the path to Matt's front door and watched most of the Charger game with Matt. Chargers lost 21-14 but played valiantly.

Quote(s) of the Day ~
"If men were angels, no government would be necessary." ~ James Madison

"In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority." ~ James Madison

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