James Madison

James Madison Event Timeline

March 04, 1809

 James Madison (4) Event Timeline
03/04/1809 - 03/04/1817




Inaugural Address.


U.S. Supreme Court’s Bank of the United States v. Deveaux decision marks the first time corporate rights are examined, granting them the right to sue the federal court.


Proclaims the Erskine Agreement to reestablish trade between the United States and Great Britain.


Message to Special Session of Congress. Announces that by virtue of British concessions, commerce between Britain and the U.S. can be renewable after June 10.  He urges that revision of U.S. commercial laws be undertaken. In the message he refers to the Proclamation of 04/19/1809.


By Proclamation, renews the prohibition of trade between the United States and Great Britain.


First annual message to Congress.




Sends Special Message to the House and Senate to call for strengthening of the militia regarding tensions with Spain over West Florida.


Delivers Special Message to the Senate presenting the ratification of a treaty with the Kickapoo tribe that was concluded the year before on 12/09/1809.


U.S. Supreme Court’s Fletcher v. Peck decision marks first time a state law is struck down as unconstitutional.


Signs Macon’s Bill Number 2 (2 stat 605), reopening American trade with Britain and France but threatening “nonintercourse“ with both countries if American trade rights are not respected.


The third US census occurs, almost doubling the population counted in the first census of 1790.


By Proclamation announces the U.S. occupation of West Florida as part of the Louisiana Purchase.


By Proclamation acknowledges French offer to stop confiscation of U.S. ships and supplies under terms of Macon’s Bill Number 2. (Above 05/01/1810).


Second annual message to Congress.




Vetoes Protestant Episcopal Church incorporation bill, stressing separation of church and state and citing the non-establishment clause of the First Amendment.  


Vetoes a Relief bill, stating it is unconstitutional because it favors a religious establishment.


Proclamation--Convening an Extra Session of the Congress, which is used to prepare for war with Great Britain.


Third annual message to Congress, in which he prepares the country for an imminent conflict. Among other things, he requests “that adequate provisions be made for filling the ranks and prolonging the enlistments of the regular troops; for an auxiliary force to be engaged for a more limited term . . .”


Sends Special Message to Congress that discusses the Battle of Tippecanoe, which occurred on 11/07/1811.




Signs An Act to raise an additional Military Force (2 Stat 671) immediately adding ten infantry regiments, two artillery regiments and one regiment of light dragoons.


Proclamation--Granting Pardon to All Deserters Who Return to Duty.


U.S. Supreme Court’s New Jersey v. Wilson decision granted specific rights to Indian lands to be passed on to non-Indian owners.


Special Message providing Congress documents showing that a British agent was engaged in “fomenting disaffection to the constituted authorities of the nation.” The “John Henry” papers, conveyed by Madison may be found from the Library of Congress, linked here.)


The first wedding at the White House, Lucy Washington, sister of First Lady Dolley Madison, married Supreme Court Justice Thomas Todd.


Sends Special Message that recommends the immediate passage of a congressional embargo on all vessels in port after news arrives that American ships were sunk by France. The embargo is signed by the President on 04/04/1812 (2 Stat 700).


Vetoes bill on basis of separation of powers, as it called for filling judicial vacancies with Supreme Court justices


Signs bill admitting the State of Louisiana to the Union (2 Stat 701). The bill specifies that the effective date is 04/30/1812.


Renominated by the Democratic-Republican caucus in Congress.


Delivers Special Message to Congress asking for a consideration of a declaration of war.


British “Orders in Council” were suspended.  These orders had prevented neutral ships from trading with France. But news of this action did not reach the US for weeks after war had been declared.


Following Congressional resolutions for war on 06/18/1812, Proclaims that a State of War exists with Great Britain.


Proclaims a Day of Prayer in reaction to the violence of the ongoing war.


Grants a pardon to those who deserted the war effort if they surrender themselves back to the cause.


Fourth Annual State of the Union Message to Congress.


Vetoes bill regarding naturalization of immigrants under the assumption that it could be abused. This was a pocket veto, but accompanied by a message.


Reelected by comfortable electoral college margin, despite conflict within the Democratic-Republican Party.




Electoral votes tabulated in Congress.


Second Inaugural Address.


Sends Special Session Message that discusses war developments and peace negotiations that occurred on 04/21/1813.


The United States wins Battle of the Thames against the British and Indian forces, killing Shawnee chief Tecumseh, deconstructing pan-Indian alliances and allowing the U.S. to consolidate control over the Northwest.


Fifth annual message to Congress.


Calls for a total embargo on exports and a ban on all imports of British origin.


Signs Act (3 Stat 88) laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in the ports and harbours of the United States.




British offer to negotiated for peace, made on 11/04/1812, was received in Washington DC.


In Special Message, transmits British offer to Congress, while stressing that “vigorous preparations for carrying on the war can in no respect impede the progress to a favorable result . . .”


In Message to the Senate, nominates George W. Campbell to be Secretary of the Treasury to replace Albert Gallatin who had resigned effective that day.  Gallatin nominated to be Minister to the peace negotiations together with John Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, and Jonathan Russell. Senators had objected to Gallatin holding both offices. The Senate consented in all cases the next day.

02/10/1814 – 02/24/1814

Signs a series of bills to strengthen the military: Activating regiments previously authorized (3 Stat 96); Immediately raising and funding three regiments of riflemen (3 Stat 96); ten additional companies of rangers (3 Stat 98); receiving into service volunteer soldiers entitled to the same pay as regular soldiers (3 Stat 98).


Calls for immediate repeal of trade embargo with neutral nations following collapse of Napoleon’s European empire.


Led by General Andrew Jackson, a coalition of U.S. military and Indians ( Cherokees and Lower Creek) engaged the Upper Creek Red Sticks at the village of Tehopeka at Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River in what is today central Alabama. The Red Sticks were slaughtered, and this resulted directly in the surge of white settlers into the territory.


Washington, D.C. invaded by the British, who set fire to the White House. Dolley Madison saves the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington that still hangs in the White House today.


Proclamation—Calling All Citizens to Unite in Defense of the District of Columbia


American victory at the Battle of Lake Champlain, the last great naval battle of the War of 1812. Perhaps a positive factor in concluding the Treaty of Ghent.


Sixth annual message to Congress.  Discusses at length the war effort.  Points to “achievements which have given new luster to the American arms.” Notes that on Lake Champlain, the action “issued in the capture of the whole of the enemy’s ships.” Points out that expenses exceed revenues, and calls for Congress “to take up without delay” provision of funds and supplies.


Francis Scott Key writes “The Star-Spangled Banner” after watching the defense of Ft. McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.


Resignation of the Secretary of War, William Armstrong.


Nominates James Monroe as Secretary of War.


Resignation of Secretary of the Treasury, George W. Campbell.



Massachusetts legislature passed resolution calling for a gathering of the New England states to deliberate further actions and resentments against the government specifically lack of federal aid and the overall increasing burden of the war on these states that greatly opposed it yet made up the bulk of the defense.


Signs a Joint Resolution ( 3 Stat 246) authorizing the purchase of the library of Thomas Jefferson for use of the Congress.


Rep. Richard Mentor Johnson as head of special House committee delivered the Report of the House Committee to investigate the causes of the Washington invasion earlier that year.


Resignation of Secretary of the Navy William Jones.


New England delegates meet at the Hartford Convention to protest Madison’s involvement in the War of 1812 and proposes Constitutional amendments including: the end of naturalization of immigrants, and enacting a limit to only one presidential term. (Link to image of contemporary cartoon mocking the Hartford Convention).


The United States and Great Britain sign the Treaty of Ghent in Europe.




The Report of the Hartford Convention is released, formally protesting war involvement.


American victory in Battle of New Orleans helps build reputation of future president Andrew Jackson.


Signs bill allowing the president to call up 40,000 state troops (3 Stat 193), but Congress limits this by authorizing troops to serve only in their home states.


Vetoes national bank bill that proposed to “incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of the United States of America” because he didn’t see it as reliable or sufficient.


Signs law (3 Stat 195) authorizing the sum of $23,950 for the purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s Library for the use of Congress.


Signs Act to Prohibit trading with the enemy; (3 Stat 195) requires passport to cross the frontier; authorizes the president to use the military if necessary to prohibit trade.


Proclaims the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.


Recommends a declaration of war between the United States and Algiers.


Signs act to Declare War on Algiers, ( 3 Stat 230) resulting in deployment of the navy to the Mediterranean.


Seventh annual message to Congress finalizing the war and asking for domestic and financial improvements including a national currency, a larger militia, tariffs, and a university; most of which he receives in 1816.


Presents a peace treaty between the United States and Algiers concluded on 06/30/1815 to the Senate.


The Senate does advise and consent to the ratification of the treaty of 06/30/1815.




U.S. Supreme Court’s Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee decision gives federal courts the power to review state court interpretation of the Constitution.


Signs Act chartering the Second Bank of the United States (3 Stat 266).


Approves Congress' enactment of the first tariff (3 Stat 310) on all imported goods, intended to protect U.S. manufacturing.


Approves a Joint Resolution (3 Stat 342) authorizing the President to employ “a skilful assistant” in the corps of engineers.


Secretary of State James Monroe wins 1816 presidential election.


Eighth annual message to Congress. Urges reorganization of the militia; establishment of a university within the District; enhancement of the office of Attorney-General; developing a system of roads and canals.


Indiana is admitted to the Union. Authorization to form a constitution and state government had been granted on 04/19/1816 (3 Stat 289 ).




Approves Joint Resolution (3 Stat 400) authorizing the President to employ John Trumbull “to compose and execute four paintings commemorative of the most important events of the American Revolution” for placing in the capitol.


Signs Act (3 Stat 348) authorizing the formation of a state in the “western part of the Mississippi territory.”


Vetoes the “Bonus Bill” for internal improvements.


Last updated; 07/19/2023

James Madison, James Madison Event Timeline Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354011

Filed Under


Simple Search of Our Archives