Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 | Next Page
Amendments to the Constitution
Rep. James Madison of Virginia by James Sharples
Rep. James Madison of Virginia by James Sharples
(Courtesy of the Independence National Historical Park)

Madison was able to push his reluctant colleagues to consider and agree to amendments because he had assumed the role of administration spokesman and unofficial majority leader in the House of Representatives. He served as the chief advocate of Federalist policy until after the debate over the location of the capital city in September of 1789. His colleague from South Carolina, William L. Smith, said of him:

"Mr. Madison is a great friend to a strong government--his great abilities will always give him much weight with the administration--I believe he now is much in the confidence of the President & he will hereafter stand a chance of being President himself; in the mean time, he will be a leading man in the Cabinet Council." (South Carolina Historical Magazine LXIX:14)

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