Madison re-enactor to
speak at Historic Madison Inc.s dinner
Reindollar preservation award
(May 2009) James Madison, who lived from 1751-1836
and served as the fourth president of the United States, has been called
the Father of the Constitution. A student of history and
government, and educated in law, he participated in the framing of the
Virginia Constitution in 1776, served in the Continental Congress, and
was a leader of the Virginia Assembly.
has immersed himself
in the daily life of
Madison since 1985.
He reads and studies
what Madison might
have on a day-to-day
basis, 200 years
to the date.
As a member of Congress, he helped frame the Bill of Rights
and enacted the first revenue legislation. During his presidency, which
lasted from 1809-1817, pioneers in a small frontier town on the Ohio
River named their soon-to-be thriving city after him. That city became
For more than 30 years, John Douglas Hall, a former history educator
in Stafford, Va., has immersed himself in what would have been the daily
life of Madison. Each morning, he reads three morning gazettes that
Madison would have read 200 years to the date.
Hall also reads intellectual and political works that Madison would
have read at the time.
Since 1985, Hall has followed Madisons life day by day, keeping
step with him as he faced the issues of a young nation and slowly matured
into one of the most well-read and informed men of his time.
Hall will bring his unique perspective of Madison to Historic Madison
Inc.s Annual Dinner on May 22. It is scheduled for 6 p.m. at The
Livery Stable, 313 Broadway St. The night will begin with a social hour,
silent auction and jazz program. Dinner begins at 7 p.m.; the program
at 8 p.m.
During the annual event, HMI will also present its annual Dorothy Inglis
Reindollar Preservation Award. HMI is currently seeking nominations
for this years award. It was established in 2000 for the purpose
of recognizing exemplary preservation or restoration accomplishments
occurring within Madison and Jefferson County. The award recognizes
an individual, project, corporation or organization that has made outstanding
contributions the community embracing preservation techniques, over
a period of time, resulting in making our community a better place to
live, work, play, and raise a family.
Since Madison is named after James Madison, it seemed natural
that in this Bicentennial year that we get a speaker about him,
said John Staicer, HMIs executive director. Hall has brought the
former president to life for a wide variety of groups and organizations
including the Smithsonian Institute, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation,
the National Trust For Historic Preservation, the Library of Congress
and the American College of Trial Lawyers, he said. With such
a wide array of nationally known venues, I was sure he would be the
perfect fit for our dinner.
Hall has been the singular person of James Madison at Montpelier, the
home of Madison that was opened to the public in 1986 by the National
Trust for Historic Preservation. Hall has traveled the country speaking
as Madison at colleges and universities and other public forums. Hall
is noted for his ability to represent Madison on constitutional issues
for legal and academic venues.
Ironically, he even physically resembles James Madison.
Its incredible to be in Halls presence and hear him
articulate Madisons views. Hall gives people a realistic idea
of who Madison was and brings him alive, said Glenda Rooney, associate
vice president of university relations at James Madison University.
Its hard to call Hall anything but Mr. Madison.
Madison is more of a cerebral individual than other political
figures of his time. He wasnt a showboat, said Hall in an
April telephone interview. The more I can place myself in the
intellectual realm of Madison, the more I can reveal his actions.
He said he tries to avoid a theater or stage presentation of Madison.
Instead, his purpose is to further the public pursuit of the understanding
of the American Constitution, and to encourage discussion of democratic-republican
principles, by presenting and revealing James Madison in the context
of his times two hundred years ago to the day.
I dont have a political agenda, he said. I simply
want to reveal what Madison was dealing with in the context of his time
He has often been asked to speak at Harvard Universitys John F.
Kennedy School of Government, and other noted academic institutions.
He spoke before the Virginia Supreme Court Justices at Montpelier Constitution
Center, and before the Florida Bar Association, in Tampa, Fla. He has
also appeared in several History Channel documentaries, been on CNNs
Larry King Live, Crossfire, and CBS TVs
When Hall arrives in Madison for the dinner, he will bring no prepared
speech. Instead, he will spend a few minutes educating the crowd on
his unique presentation and then do a question and answer session. He
will be speaking as Madison might have to an audience in May of 1809.
HMIs Annual Dinner is open to the public;
however, reservations are required. Cost is $25 per person. For
more information, to register for the dinner or to submit a nomination
for the Reindollar Award, call HMI at (812) 265-2967. Nominations are
due by 4:30 p.m. May 15.
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