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James Madison and the Future of Limited Government

About the Book

Americans are once again rediscovering the wisdom of the founders who wrote and ratified the U.S. Constitution, which has stood the test of two centuries. James Madison’s efforts in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 earned him the reputation of being the “father of the Constitution.” The time is ripe for Madison to take his place alongside John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as a thinker for the ages.

This book looks at the ways in which Madison’s ideas might instruct and inform our era. Alex Kozinski, Stephen Engel, and Roger Pilon call for a return to Madison’s belief that the powers of the federal government are limited to those granted in the Constitution. The historians Joyce Malcolm and Robert McDonald examine the ways in which Madison was unique and the differences he had with Jefferson. Tom G. Palmer, Jacob Levy, and John Samples reflect on Madison’s implications for contemporary multiculturalism and the practice of direct democracy. Walter Berns and Michael Hayes hold up his strict separation of politics and religion for both praise and blame. The book closes with essays by James Dorn and John Tomasi, which suggest that developing nations and the larger world would do well to follow Madison’s concern for limited government and human rights.

The contributors to this volume provide an informed, but never pedantic, guide through Madison’s thought. They are determined to let Madison speak to our time. Every reader interested in current politics and the future of our Constitution will treasure this book.

About the Editor

John Samples is director of the Center for Representative Government at the Cato Institute and an adjunct professor of political science at the Johns Hopkins University.

What Others Have Said

“…a historical account that seems more relevant than ever.”

“To know America, you must know Madison. This delightful collection of essays applies Madisonian philosophy to a wide range of situations and controversies, past and present, from federalism to religion and politics to foreign policy. All of us — pure citizens and officeholders alike— will gain from a deeper understanding of Mr. Madison’s views and hopes for our Republic.”
—Larry J. Sabato, University of Virginia

“An interesting and important contribution to our understanding of this major Founder of American constitutionalism.”
—Garrett Ward Sheldon, Author, The Political Philosophy of James Madison

“A wonderful tribute to Madison! The scholars gathered in this volume offer invaluable explorations of what Madison’s political and constitutional practice and thought mean for us today, and they provide an important reminder of Madison’s continuing relevance to all those who hope to secure liberty.”
—Keith Whittington, Princeton University

“That Madison was in a real sense the founder of our constitutional order, or at least the most important influence on it, is well known. This collection of essays, however, brings the matter up‐​to‐​date. We still have much to learn from Madison in applying his ideas. The contributors to this book make a sizable step forward in this endeavor.”
—Gordon Tullock, University Professor of Law and Economics, George Mason University