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James Madison

James Madison

Our Founding Fathers: James Madison


James Madison’s Early Life


James Madison, Jr. was born on March 16, 1751, near Port Conway, Virginia as the oldest child out of 12 siblings. His father was a tobacco planter from Orange County, Virginia. His mother was from Port Conway as well and was the daughter of a tobacco merchant and merchant. 

James Madison’s Schooling


Between the ages of 11 to 18, James Madison studied under a private tutor where he learned math, languages, and geography. After preparing for college, James Madison entered the College of New Jersey. After graduating, he joined the American Whig Society, which was his first experience in politics. 
James Madison’s Career


In 1774, James Madison was elected to Orange County’s Committee of Safety, and two years later he was on the committee that created the Virginia Constitution. He helped write the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which helped form the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. James Madison was also a member of Virginia’s first legislative assembly. This is where he Thomas Jefferson, another Founding Father who he became lifelong friends with. 
The Constitutional Convention 


After three years, James Madison was elected into the Continental Congress. He eventually returned to Virginia politics and later became a delegate for Virginia to the Constitutional Convention. At the Constitutional Convention, James Madison wrote the Virginia Plan. This plan was the foundation for the United States Constitution that the delegates eventually made into the new government. He also supported the Constitution by acting as a member of the Virginia Ratifying Convention and by writing the Federalist Papers with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton. 
Later, James Madison became a House of Representatives from 1789 to 1797. He wrote and introduced the Bill of Rights, which became the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. 
Also around this time, James Madison joined with James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson to form the Democratic-Republican Party. Because of this friendship between Madison and Jefferson, he was appointed by Jefferson as Secretary of State in 1801. After Thomas Jefferson retired, James Madison became the President of the United States. James Madison retired from the Presidency in 1817. He spent his time fixing his life and protecting his legacy. He died in 1836 at the age of 85 as the last Founding Father.
Facts About James Madison


James Madison has nickname – “Father of the Constitution.”
His wife Dolley Payne Todd Madison was 17 years younger than him.
He was the very last president from the Federalist Party. 
He was one of the shortest and lightest presidents. He only weight 100 lbs and was only 5’4”.
James Madison was the youngest member at the constitutional Convention.
The song “Star-Spangled Banner” was written while James Madison was president.
James Madison was the very first president who had also been a Congressman.
James Madison as well as only two other presidents did not have any children. 
James Madison’s last words were “I always talk better lying down.”

John Adams

John Adams

Founding Father: John Adams


John Adams was the first Second President and the first Vice President of the United States. His son, John Quincy Adams, was the sixth President of the United States.

John Adam’s Early Life


Adams was born in October 30, 1735 in Quincy, Massachusetts. He went to Harvard College and graduated in 1755. Afterwards, he studied law with Rufus Putnam, and also taught at Worcester. He became a lawyer in 1758.
John Adams would often write about different events in his world. Some of his early writings talked about different arguments the court, while his later writings were his memoirs, thoughts, and arguments that were based on his early writings. 

John Adams’s Political Career


John Adams’ personality was the opposite of the first President, George Washington. Washington was very outgoing and thought of his community. However, John Adams was very was known to be reckless, intense, and very passionate.
John Adams’ career in political started when he became the leader of the Massachusetts Whigs. In 1765, John Adams wrote a series articles that were very controversial about the struggles between the colonists and authority. 
In 1768, John Adams moved to Boston and two years later, he helped defend many British soldiers that had been arrested after the Boston Massacre. John Adams helped set them free by defending them very well. Because of this, he was recognized and was elected into the House of Representatives of Massachusetts. 
Afterwards, John Adams became a member of the Continental Congress between 1774 and 1778. In June 1775, John Adams supported a nomination of George Washington as commander-in-chief because he wanted to support the union of the American colonies. He influenced Congress with his ideas to separate the American colonies from Great Britain’s rule. He also supported a resolution that said the colonies should be independent states, which resulted in him being a part of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. 

John Adams as President
In 1796, John Adams was elected President since George Washington did not want to run for a third term. During his four year term, he passed some acts that later made everyone look down on the Federalist Party. He became alienated by his own party and his staff would often look to Alexander Hamilton for advice instead. He ran for President again in 1800, but was defeated by Thomas Jefferson. After his lost, he retired from politics.
John Adam’s Later Life 


John Adams retired and moved back to his farm in Quincy, Massachusetts. Here he would often write long letters to Thomas Jefferson. John Adams died on July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the signing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence. He died at home and his last words were “Thomas Jefferson survives.” The strange part about this was that Thomas Jefferson had also passed the same day, but only a few hours earlier.
Fun Facts about John Adams

John Adams had a pet horse named Cleopatra.
John Adams’ wife, Abigail Smith, was actually his third cousin.
John Adams liked to farm and hunt.

John Hancock

 John Hancock

Founding Father: John Hancock


John Hancock’s Early Life


John Hancock was born on January 12, 1737 to a very wealthy family in Braintree Massachusetts, which is now called Quincy. John Hancock had a very happy childhood with his mother, father, and two siblings. John Hancock often studied and played with his friend, John Adams, who later went on to become the first Vice-President and the second President of the United States.
John Hancock’s father died when he was 7 years old, and his mother was too poor to keep the family together, so John went to live with his aunt and uncle, Lydia and Thomas Hancock. John Hancock’s aunt and uncle raised him as though he was their own son.
John Hancock’s Education and Early Career


John Hancock went to Boston Latin school, where he graduated in 1750 and went on to Harvard University. While he was at Harvard, John Hancock was known for being a John Hancock very good student who was also popular with his classmates. John Hancock received his degree from Harvard in 1754. 
After John Hancock graduated, he worked for his uncle at the Thomas Hancock & Company firm. He found people to do business with that made his uncle’s firm successful even during the French and Indian War. When his uncle died, John Hancock took over the real estate and shipping business. At the age of 27, John Hancock managed this company and became the richest man in Massachusetts.
Although John Hancock became powerful and rich very quickly, he still cared about his friends and his community. He often donated money to schools, churches, and the poor people in Massachusetts. His generosity made him very popular among the people in Boston. Using this attention, John Hancock used his leadership skills and soon became interested in politics.
John Hancock’s Political Career


Hancock caught people’s political attention first in the 1760s when he protested the Stamp act and the Sugar Act, which were two tax acts passed by the British Parliament to tax the colonies. John Hancock joined the Sons of Liberty where he protested against the British.
John Hancock career in politics started in 1766 when he became a member of the Boston Assembly. For the next 30 years, John Hancock worked to climb the political ladder. In 1773, John Hancock eventually became President for the Congress of Massachusetts. Two years later, he became the President of the Continental Congress.
With his power, popularity, and wealth, John Hancock made a very big impact during the American Revolution. John Hancock is most famous for his very large, stylish signature on the Declaration of Independence.
Many important documents came out of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. As the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock got to preside over many debates among delegates.
John Hancock proved his drive and courage during the Revolutionary War. John Hancock was against the British and he was promoted to major general in the Massachusetts militia. John Hancock worked to find supplies and money for the colonial soldiers. His leadership skills helped create the United States we know today.
After the Revolutionary War, John Hancock returned to Massachusetts. In 1780, he was elected as the first governor. He was then re-elected 11 times until his death on October 3, 1793. 

Fun Facts about John Hancock


John Hancock’s signature was so big on the Declaration of Independence, that today the slang term for a signature is “your John Hancock.”
John Hancock was the only person who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4. Everyone else had signed it a few weeks later.

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon


John Witherspoon was born near Edinburgh, Scotland on February 5, 1723 into a ministerial family. He went to the University of Edinburgh at the age of 13 and got his Master of Arts in 1739 and his degree in divinity 4 years after. John Witherspoon married Elizabeth Montgomery, and had ten children with her, but only five of them survived. 
President of the College of New Jersey


In 1766, John Witherspoon was offered the job of being President at the College of New Jersey. He and his family moved to America in August 1768. As a college administrator, John Witherspoon was very successful. He helped get more additions to the library but pressuring trustees to buy more while adding the most modern scientific equipment for the school. He also encouraged professors to teach more mathematics and science, and he could also personally teach French to anyone who wanted to learn. As the American colonies got closer and closer to Revolution, John Witherspoon promoted literary exercise and public speaking on current events to help create civil leaders for the next generation. 

Political Activities of John Witherspoon


The American Revolution forced John Witherspoon to put less focus on academics. Students were forced to evacuate and Nassau Hall, one of the building halls, was damaged by colonial and British troops. John Witherspoon was also drafted into many political duties. HE was involved in New Jersey committees of correspondence, and he also signed the Declaration of Independence and served on over hundred congressional committees. Two important ones included the Committee on Secret Correspondence and the Board of War. Witherspoon took a very active role in the debates regarding the Articles of Confederation. He also helped Set up the executive branch and created instructions for the American peace commissioners.
Although Witherspoon was often away from the college, leaving Samuel Stanhope Smith, his son-in-law, in charge, the institution was never very far from his thoughts. 
While John Witherspoon was in Congress, he complained about how the value currency was dropping, which was hurting many institutions. He then received a large grant from Congress to help pay for damages to Nassau Hall. He also fought for military deferments for teachers and students, which would allow them to stay in school. When John Witherspoon returned in 1782 to full-time teaching, the college was in much better condition, although it was never fully fixed during Witherspoon’s lifetime.
The rest of Witherspoon’s years were spent helping rebuild the college. Witherspoon lost an eye on a fundraising trip to Great Britain in 1784, and by 1792 he was completely blind. When his wife died, 68 year old John Witherspoon married a young widow of 24, who he had two daughters. On November 15, 1794 died at his farm near Princeton.

Fun Facts about John Witherspoon


Benjamin Rush would affection call John Witherspoon “our old Scotch Sachem,” 
John Witherspoon was a former president of the College of New Jersey, which later became Princeton University.
He was in prison briefly after a battle in Scotland.
John Witherspoon is an ancestor of the actress Reese Witherspoon.

World Trade Center Bombing

World Trade Center Bombing

The World Trade Center Bombing: The Background
On February 26th of 1993, a truck bomb was set-off underneath the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. This attack was done by terrorists. An act of terrorism is a systematic use of violence to instill fear on a population.
The World Trade Center bombing of 1993 involved the detonation of a 1,500 lb. nitrate-hydrogen enhanced explosive. The device was intended to blow-up both buildings and ultimately kill thousands of people. Although this horrific plan did not come to fruition, the bombing killed seven people and injured over 1,000. 
The World Trade Center Bombing was planned by a terrorist organization that was comprised of the following people: Ramzi Yousef, Mohammed Salameh, NidalAyyad, Mahmud Abouhalima, AhmanAjaj and Abdul Rhmam Yasin.
Before the attack, these men laid out a series of demands. These demands were printed in New York’s papers. The men wanted the United States to stop being friendly with Israel. They also wanted the United States to get out of the Middle East. In these letters to the newspapers, the terrorists said that the World Trade Center bombing would be the first act of terrorism if the demands were not met. 
Following the World Trade Center bombing, a number of federal agents and police officers raced to the scene. In the weeks following the World Trade Center Bombing, investigators found a piece of the bomb’s transport vehicle. A vehicle identification number was also found which led the authorities to investigate where the rental truck came from. The agents ultimately determined that the truck used to carry the bomb was rented by Mohamed Salameh. 
The arrest of Salameh led the police to the apartment of Abdul RahmanYasin. The dominoes then fell in the right place for the United States and its agents. In March of 1994, the other men responsible for the World Trade Center Bombing were arrested. Their charges included the following: conspiracy, explosive destruction of property and interstate transportation of explosives. In November of 1997, the terrorists were formally convicted for their role in the World Trade Center Bombing. Today, the men all sit in a tiny jail cell. They will be there for the rest of their lives. 

Worcester v. Georgia

Worcester v. Georgia

Worcester v. Georgia: The Background
Worcester v. Georgia deals with Georgia state laws that were passed in the middle of the 1800s. These laws were passed following an agreement reached between the Cherokee tribe and the state government of Georgia. The laws instituted a prohibition of non-Indians from living in Indian territories. Only Non-Native Americans with special permission from the government were allowed to live on these lands. 
The case beings when missionary Sam Worcester and his family (wife and 5 fellow missionaries) refused to move from a land that was labeled an “Indian territory.” In addition to refusing to move, the group refused to apply for the government license that would allow them to reside on the lands. Because of this refusal, the army entered the Native American lands and arrested Worcester along with the other 6 people. Following his arrest, Worcester appealed his charges and took his case to the Supreme Court. 
Worcester v. Georgia: The Case Profile
Worcester v. Georgia began on February 20th of 1832. The case was filed by Worcester who claimed that his family’s forced removal was a violation of his constitutional rights. He believed the state of Georgia over-stepped their boundaries, for they did not maintain jurisdiction to enforce the law within the Native land. Worcester v. Georgia was decided on March 3rd of 1832 by the United States Supreme Court. 
Worcester v. Georgia: The Verdict
Chief Justice John Marshall (the judge who presided over the case) ruled in favor of Mr. Worcester in Worcester v. Georgia. Chief Justice Marshall believed that the state government of Georgia did not have the power to enforce a law within lands that were not within the jurisdiction of the state. The Supreme Court, through Marshall, also stated that the interactions between the Native American tribe and the state of Georgia must be considered and approached as international talks. 
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Worcester because they found the state to have violated his 14th Amendment rights. The 14th Amendment does not allow any government in the United States from blocking a citizen’s right to pursue “life, liberty and happiness.” Furthermore, Worcester v. Georgia also dealt with the due process clause which refers to the government’s obligation to maintain and respect these legal rights. The United States government is thus required to treat all American citizens in a respectful manner. Any attempt to over-step their boundaries will be deemed a violation of the constitution. The case of Worcester v. Georgia is an example of this. 

Miller v. California

Miller v. California

Miller v. California: The Background
The case of Miller v. California involved a man named Marvin Miller, who was a part owner of a business that was considered to be lewd and sexual in nature. In the year of 1972, Mr. Marvin Miller started an advertising campaign where he distributed a ton of letters to citizens of California. The majority of these individuals never requested this information and Mr. Miller ran into legal trouble when a mother and her child received one of Miller’s crude advertisements. The mother and child were highly offended by Mr. Miller’s advertisement. Shortly after receiving the publication, the mother filed a complaint to the California police department. 
After reviewing the materials, the California police department was found guilty of distributing this information which was considered to be unsuitable for the general population. In response to the charges, Marvin Miller appealed the arrest and the fact that his material was considered “obscene.” In Miller v. California, Marvin Miller claimed that the arrest was a violation of his 1st Amendment Rights, which awards him the right to speak and express him freely. 
Miller v. California: The Case Profile
The case of Miller v. California took place on January 19th of 1972. The case was heard in the United States Supreme Court. The case was filed by Marvin Miller, because he claimed that he was unlawfully censored and arrested due to the fact that his materials were considered obscene by the California police department. The case of Miller v. California was decided on June 21st of 1973. 
Miller v. California: The Verdict
The United States Supreme Court in Miller v. California ruled in favor of the state of California. The court found Marvin Miller guilty of the misdemeanor because the material was deemed unsuitable for the general population. The Supreme Court found that the material Miller was handing out and distributing to the public was not meant for children to see. Therefore, Miller’s 1st Amendment rights were trumped in this particular matter. 
The 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution allows citizens of the United States to engage in free speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom of religion and the right to assemble. These freedoms, however, are not awarded to an American citizen if the individual puts the general population in any sort of harm with their speech, assembly, press or religion. 
The verdict of Miller v. California created the ‘Miller Test.’ This test is used to define what is considered obscene or unsuitable for the general public. The Miller Test will take a publication or any piece of art or communication and evaluate whether or not it is suitable for the public. It will look at how dirty it is or how it may offend people and decide whether or not it is protected by First Amendment Rights. 

Eighth Amendment

Eighth Amendment

A Guide to the Eighth Amendment
The Eighth Amendment, or Amendment VIII of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that states that that punishments must be fair, cannot be cruel, and that fines that are extraordinarily large cannot be set. The Eighth Amendment was introduced as a part of the Bill of Rights into the U.S. Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.
Understanding the Eighth Amendment Line by Line
If you are confused by what each line of the Eighth Amendment means, here are some good explanations to make the Eighth Amendment easier to understand:
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed”: The courts are not allowed to assign an accused person a large and excessive amount of money for bail. This is because if they could, a judge would have the chance to judge someone early on and set a bail amount based on that.
Bail is the property or money given to a court as a promise that the accused person will return for his trial. If the accused person does not show up, he or she will lose their bail money or property. The amount of bail assigned depends on the type of crime committed and the chance that the accused person will return for his trial. If the crime is very serious, the bail will be higher.
“Nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”:
According to the Eighth Amendment, punishments cannot be cruel or unusual. However, it is not exactly clear what cruel and unusual really means. When the Eighth Amendment was written, the Framers were considering situations where severe punishments would be used, such as being strangled, branded, or burned, or being locked in stocks. The Eighth Amendment works to prevent these types of punishments. 

History of the Eighth Amendment
The Eighth Amendment is almost exactly the same as a part of the 1689 English Bill of Rights, which also said that excessive bails or cruel and unusual punishment were unnecessary. This provision was written in because of a case where a man named Titus Oates lied and caused many innocent people because of it. His punishment resulted in being in a pillory for two days, and being whipped while tied onto a moving cart. Later on, this case was thought of one that had very cruel and excessive punishments.  Because of this, the Constitution now forbids these punishments since they are unnecessary, not approved of by the people, and are very illogical.  

Facts about the Eighth Amendment
The Eighth Amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights, which were introduced by James Madison
The Eighth Amendment also applies to the States.
Some punishments are completely forbidden under the Eighth Amendment, such as taking away a person’s citizenship, or painful and hard labor.
Because of this amendment, there are very rules laws for the death penalty (for example, death by firing squad is not allowed).

Ninth Amendment

Ninth Amendment

A Guide to the Ninth Amendment
The Ninth Amendment, or Amendment IX of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that states that there are other rights that may exist aside from the ones explicitly mentioned, and even though they are not listed, it does not mean they can be violated. The Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights was put into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.
Text of the Ninth Amendment
The text of the Ninth Amendment is very short and states the following:
“The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

History of the Ninth Amendment
When the United States Constitution was first sent out to the states to be voted on, people known as the Anti-Federalists argued that there should also be a Bill of Rights. However, another group known as the Federalists did not think it was necessary. They worried that putting in the Bill of Rights gave power to the government by specifically discussing what the government could not do.
Because of these debates, the Virginia Ratifying Convention tried to compromise by proposing a constitutional amendment that said that any amendments limiting Congress’ power should not be reason to extend their power. This proposal led to the creation of the Ninth Amendment.
When James Madison introduced the Ninth Amendment to the House of Representatives, he said that this draft was to prevent increasing the power of the government and is put in as a cautionary measure. He felt that the first Eight Amendments talked about how the federal government could exercise its powers, and the Ninth Amendment looked referred to many rights that still could not be taken away by the government.
Modern Use of the Ninth Amendment
Today, the Ninth Amendment is used mainly to stop the government from expanding their power rather than just limiting their power. Sometimes, courts try to use the Ninth Amendment as a way to provide and enforce rights that are not actually talked about in the Constitution.
Facts about the Ninth Amendment
·         The Ninth Amendment a part of the Bill of Rights, which were introduced by James Madison.
·         There is no evidence about which rights Madison or the other Founding Fathers were talking about when they said there were others that are protected.
·         Unlike many of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights, the Ninth Amendment does not actually give any rights, but rather just makes a statement about them.
·         The first significant Supreme Court case where the justices considered the Ninth Amendment was Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 by discussing the right to privacy.

Tenth Amendment

Tenth Amendment

A Guide to the Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment, or Amendment X of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that basically says that any power that is not given to the federal government is given to the people or the states. The Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights put into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.
Text of the Tenth Amendment
The text of the Tenth Amendment is very short and says the following:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
History of the Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment is very similar to an earlier part of the Articles of Confederation. These articles said that every state would keep their freedom, independence, jurisdiction, rights, and sovereignty. 
Once the U.S. Constitution was ratified by the states, some people wanted to add amendments that would only give the federal governments powers that were mentioned in the Constitution. However, because the world “expressly” did not show up in the Tenth Amendment, the Federal government still had some implied powers.
When James Madison introduced the Tenth Amendment, he explained that many of the states were very eager to ratify the Tenth amendment, even though many people thought it was not necessary. The States ultimately decided to vote for the Tenth Amendment which made it clearer that there were still powers that were not mentioned that the Federal government had.
Modern Use of the Tenth Amendment
Today, the Tenth Amendment is often thought of as something very obvious or self-evident. In a 1931 Supreme Court case, the justices said that the Tenth Amendment did not really add anything new to the United States Constitution. Sometimes, local or state governments try to say that they do not have to follow some federal laws because of the Tenth Amendment. 
In the Supreme Court, there have been very few cases that use the Tenth Amendment to call a law unconstitutional. The only times the Court has done this is in situations where the Federal government forces a state to follow their laws. However, in 1996, a Justice said that Congress can try to make a state follow a law by setting certain laws that may involve commerce or spending power, but Congress cannot force a state to follow federal laws.

Facts about the Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment was introduced to the U.S. Constitution by James Madison.
The Tenth Amendment is a good example of a part of the Constitution that talks about federalism, which is a type of government that is split up into different governing sections.
The Tenth Amendment was supposed to help limit Congress’s powers, by preventing any un-enumerated rights, but instead it resulted in more uncertainty about uncertainty about their rights. 

13th Amendment

12th Amendment

William Paterson

James Wilson

United States v. Lopez

Roper v. Simmons

McCulloch v. Maryland

Miranda v. Arizona

James Wilson

United States v. Lopez

Roper v. Simmons

McCulloch v. Maryland

Miranda v. Arizona

Third Amendment

Brandenburg v. Ohio

Bowers v. Hardwick