Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter of Greeting on the Centenary of the Death of James Madison.

May 08, 1936

Dear Mr. Morris:

I deeply regret that I cannot be present to join with the members of the New York County Lawyers Association in their observance of the centenary of the death of James Madison. This is indeed an occasion in which I should like to have a part.

No one can examine the life of James Madison without being conscious of the great services which he rendered to his country. Nor is it possible to read his writings, and particularly the papers which he contributed to the Federalist, without being impressed by the acuteness of his mind and his constant habit of interpreting political theory in terms of economic and political realities. Without referring in detail to his services as Secretary of State and President or discussing his rank as a political thinker, we should not overlook, on an occasion like this, certain of Madison's characteristics which are peculiarly American, and particularly his lifelong interest in the education of youth, his consistent defense of civil liberty, and his advocacy of religious tolerance and freedom. But above all, we should think of the gifts of enterprise and vision which he demonstrated in his work in assisting in the framing and adoption of the Constitution.

It seems to me particularly fitting that one hundred years after his death we should recall the following words, which show his attachment to the Union and his fervent belief that the people of the United States constitute a Nation with common interests and a common purpose:

"May it not be regarded as among the providential blessings to these States, that their geographical relations, multiplied as they will be by artificial channels of intercourse, give such additional force to the many obligations to cherish that union which alone secures their peace, their safety, and their prosperity?"

These words should be an incentive to all of us to do our part to promote the safety, the welfare, and the prosperity of our country which James Madison served with so much intelligence, integrity, and courage.

Very sincerely yours,

Mr. Robert C. Morris,


New York County Lawyers Association,

New York, N. Y.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter of Greeting on the Centenary of the Death of James Madison. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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