James Madison (1751-1836) was the principal architect of the United States Constitution and the fourth president of the United States. During the Revolution, he helped draft Virginia's state constitution and served in the Continental Congress. In the years immediately following the war, he grew convinced that domestic and international disasters would follow unless the national government was reformed, and therefore joined those calling for a constitutional convention. He teamed with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to publish the Federalist Papers.
Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 provided the chief source of information about the debates and compromise processes of the Convention, which was closed to the public. Along with Hamilton and Jay, Madison composed the series of 85 anonymously published essays known as The Federalist Papers in order to encourage support for the Constitution and press the argument for its ratification. Though Madison initially believed that the oft-proposed Bill of Rights would be an unnecessary precaution against the excesses of federal power under the new Constitution, he changed his mind by autumn 1788 and became the principal force behind the rapid passage of the first ten amendments in Congress.