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Reviews

"Elegant in [its] brevity. In this book Sheldon interweaves Madison's intellectual development with his political career: the one the warp, the one the weft, of his mind... His greatest contribution is to emphasize John Witherspoon's Scottish Presbyterian influence during Madison's undergraduate days at Princeton. The Calvinist doctrine of depravity sits uneasily in the supposedly rationalist world of Revolutionary America, but Madison's recognition of man's sinful nature shaped his political strategy."

"Garrett Ward Sheldon argues that James Madison's political beliefs were heavily influenced by his religious beliefs. Sheldon goes so far as to say that Madison's political beliefs cannot be understood at all apart from his theology. To make this argument, Sheldon describes Madison's Calvinist upbringing and education and shows how this background provided the basis for his political ideas throughout his life, from the Revolutionary period through the nullification debates after his presidency... As an account of the link between Madison's religion and his political beliefs, the book is illuminating and persuasive."

"This book provides a clear, sympathetic summary of the intellectual origins of much of the constitutional structure that continues to frame American political life."

"A much needed crisp and comprehensive overview of the political theorizing that emerges from the whole of Madison's long and complex intellectual and civic life. This book will complement Sheldon's similarly useful introduction to the entire thoughtful life of Jefferson."

"[Sheldon] does an excellent job of synthesizing and reconciling recent scholarship on Madison."