College of Arts and Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)


Carey M. Roberts


James Madison, Entrepreneur, Founding Era, Agriculture, Business




This is an examination of James Madison, the Fourth President of the United States, the Father of the Constitution, and the Architect of the Bill of Rights. However, this is not just another political study on this founding father. It is groundbreaking academic research of Madison as an early American entrepreneur. Since his business ventures have not been extensively focused upon, this treatise will begin to fill that gap to further a scholarly interpretation of his life. From this analysis, it will be discovered that his business activities occupied a great deal of his time and interests, even while he was a politician. He was a conscientious entrepreneur who made significant advances in agriculture practices, understood the need for the diversification of his portfolio, took great risks for the prospect of greater profits, and anticipated new market conditions. This dissertation will examine his efforts as a plantation owner and farmer. It will investigate the establishment and development of Madison’s land assets in the Piedmont region of Virginia. It will explore the workforce that he employed and the structure which they labored under, whether slave or free. It will consider the crops he cultivated in his production and operations. It will survey his alternative income strategies with business ventures, stocks, and speculations. It will be argued that James Madison was much more than just a politician, but also an entrepreneur.

Available for download on Thursday, April 22, 2123

Included in

History Commons