J. Madison character jug produced by Sebastian Originals of Encino, California, circa 1973. James Madison (1751-1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. Madison is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. Madison was elected president in 1808. Motivated by desire to acquire land held by Britain, Spain, and Native Americans, and after diplomatic protests with a trade embargo failed to end British seizures of American shipped goods, Madison led the United States into the War of 1812. Although the war ended inconclusively, many Americans viewed the war's outcome as a successful "second war of independence" against Britain. The war convinced Madison of the necessity of a stronger federal government. Madison was re-elected in 1812, albeit by a smaller margin.