James Madison is remembered primarily as a systematic political theorist, but this bookish and unassuming man was also a practical politician who strove for balance in an age of revolution.
Historian Jeff Broadwater examines this Founding Father on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St
The event is part of the Hail to the Chiefs series on the American presidency co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute and co-sponsored by KCUR's Up to Date.
Broadwater argues that no single figure can tell us more about the origins of the American republic than our fourth president. He focuses on Madison's role in the battle for religious freedom in Virginia, his contributions to the adoption of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, his place in the evolution of the party system, his relationship with Dolley Madison, his performance as a wartime commander in chief, and his views on slavery.
Madison emerges as a remarkably resilient politician, an unlikely wartime leader who survived repeated setbacks during the War of 1812 with his popularity intact. Yet Broadwater shows that despite his keen intelligence, the more Madison thought about one issue, race, the more muddled his thinking became, and his conviction that white prejudices were intractable prevented him from fully grappling with the dilemma of American slavery.
Jeff Broadwater is professor of history at Barton College and author of James Madison: A Son of Virginia and a Founder of the Nation.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407.