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Showing posts with label Father of the Constitution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Father of the Constitution. Show all posts

Monday, January 21, 2013

Montpelier Part II of II -- Graves and Slaves

The Madison Family Cemetery, complete with iron gate nameplate, brick walls and obelisk markers.  Madison's grave is seen past the gate.
James Madison's grave with Dolley's behind it.

Quite different is the slave cemetery.  No markers exist and the sparse grounds give little indication of the existence of graves.
This is the grave of an unidentified slave.  It's hard to see it here, but the only indication is a slight depression in the earth.

As much as the Founding Fathers spoke out about all men being created equal, this didn't seem to stop them from owning some of these 'equal' people; Madison was no different. 

He is said to have been against slavery, writing in a Letter to R. H. Lee, July 17, 1785,  "Another of my wishes is to depend as little as possible on the labour of slaves." 

He additionally wrote in a Letter to Robert J. Evans,  "[I]f slavery, as a national evil, is to be abolished, and it be just that it be done at the national expense, the amount of the expense is not a paramount consideration."


That being said, although he was described as a 'kind' master, this certainly does not change the fact that he WAS a master and did own human beings who existed to do his bidding.

This railroad station and Post Office sits right outside Montpelier.  Of note  is the  presence of two waiting rooms, one for Whites, and a much smaller version for Coloreds.  The station dates to the Jim Crow era of 1910. 

Portions of the tracks are not used anymore and are slowly being reclaimed by nature.
Nearby Esso station.
Sign marking the station stop.

Montpelier Part I of II -- The House and Grounds

Orange County, Virginia's 'Montpelier,' was the lifelong home of 4th President James Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution.” Montpelier is where Madison spent countless hours studying multiple government models from throughout history, using what he learned to formulate and craft the very documents we as Americans use to this day to guide and govern our great nation . Our form of government in practice may not be perfect, but it's ideals and goals are, I believe, unequaled in the world.

On the second floor, just above the main front entrance, is the Old Library.  This is the room where the US Constitution was penned.  There is a spot, just inside the door, to the left, where Monroe's desk sat.  The floor here is stained with ink from Madison's quill, over 200 years later!!!

Woods behind the back porch.
James and Dolley Madison.
The front portico looking past Mr. Madison's Temple.
Mr. Madison's Temple.
Re-created slave quarters.  Just like the other Founding Fathers, Madison kept slaves.  I'll comment more on this in part II of this blog.
Entrance to the Anne DuPont Formal Garden.

In part II of this blog, I'll detail James and Dolley's graves in the family cemetery, the stark contrast of the slave cemetery and the nearby train station, complete with it's White and Colored waiting rooms.