Inaugural Address of James Madison
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Each American President sets the stage for his tenure as leader of the nation in his inaugural address. Some speak on a very individual level, while others address listeners as a whole, appealing to the entire nation together. James Madison, however, maintained a unique approach during his inaugural address, taking time to address the nations of the world and clearly stating American foreign policy as it would be carried out under his leadership. While he talks about a number of different geopolitical factors throughout the course of the speech, the resounding theme is that of American neutrality in a time of great conflict throughout the world.
Taking the oath of office less than half a century after the formation of our nation, James Madison was placed in charge of a nation that was just beginning to show its strength on the world's stage. In the early 1800's, America was faced with foreign enemies fighting amongst themselves; simultaneously, the nation tried to maintain neutrality, ensuring the best possible relationships with all countries, regardless of any preexisting conflict. Throughout the course of the speech, Madison takes the time to address the concerns of the nation in two different ways:
- Madison speaks to how America will respond to outside threats from other nations, whether they are made against allied nations or our own.
- James Madison speaks to the impact that this foreign policy will have on the people of our country, considering the increasing immigration in the United States and the allegiances that individuals have.
- Madison was forced to address these issues early in his presidency, and would see them numerous times throughout his tenure.
As President, he guided the nation through some difficult times, but ensured that foreign powers were aware of our strength and independence, and respected us as our own entity.