Few men, so well equipped intellectually as was Madison, have, by reason of the characteristics of their equipment, been so dependent for success upon the conditions amid which they have been placed. Madison was preeminently what may be called a cabinet statesman. He was better as a thinker than as an actor.
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James Madison had the constructive quality, and was a master of principles of government; but in the practical application of those principles which he himself had formulated and shaped, if not created, he was not fitted to excel, unless possibly when the current of events was running smoothly. Never was a ruler less fitted to hold the helm in troubled times, and it was hard fortune for him to receive from his friend and predecessor the bequest of a war.
Madison is one of the men of whom the country has always, and with good reason, been especially proud. It was not alone that his character was high, but his qualities as a statesman have been recognized as of the first order. None of our public men has been more useful to the country. He was in active life for a very long time ; he was concerned in all the important events of more than thirty years. The story of his life is the history of the country during all that period.
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