Hadley Nagel with Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts.
Hadley Nagel’s brush with history rubbed her the wrong way. As a high school sophomore, Nagel visited Montpelier, the restored home of the nation’s fourth president, James Madison, in Orange, Virginia. Enthralled by the story the mansion told—of Madison crafting the Bill of Rights and other parts of the Constitution and shepherding the country through the War of 1812—Nagel was shocked to learn that there was no national monument to him. When her Manhattan high school sent her to Mount Holyoke College’s annual women’s national leadership conference later that year, “I decided that honoring James Madison’s legacy and working toward gaining him his long-overdue memorial would be my action project,” she says. (more…)
While waiting for Gordon S. Wood’s presentation at the 2010 National Book Festival, we caught up with Hadley Nagel, the founder and National Director of Americans for Madison and a Hodson Trust Scholar at Johns Hopkins University, to talk about her work as contributing editor to a new history book titled James Madison & The Birth Of The U.S. Constitution (Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History; September, 2010), filled with photos, letters, diary entries, and portraits commemorating the historic role played by James Madison in writing the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and as the fourth President of the United States (1809-1817). Describing the book as an educational tool for teachers, Nagel reviewed the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s publishing program and the Institute’s relationship to the New York Historical Society in closing. Moving to the giant History tent, with an introduction by Washington Post editor Rachel Hartigan Shea, Pulitzer Prize winning historian and professor at Brown University, Gordon S. Wood, who coincidentally is also a member of the Americans for Madison Advisory Board founded by Hadley Nagel, took the stage on the National Mall at the 2010 National Book Festival. Presenting his newest book, Empire of Liberty (Oxford University Press; September, 2009), Wood scanned the revolutionary American landscape and portrayed the early Americansocial, religious and political issues as a state of flux often driven by illusions and popular trends. Wood closed his presentation by taking questions from the audience on post-revolution U.S. and U.K. relations, which took about 100 years to solidify; early relations between the U.S. and France, which did not take long at all to fray; the populist politics of the ‘clodhoppers’; the role of evangelicals and U.S. support for every revolution in the world (except Haiti’s) in early U.S. history; the controversies surrounding Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase; the rise of partisan politics and the establishment ofpolitical parties in early U.S. history; and President Andrew Jackson’s tilt toward ‘elected monarchy’. (more…)
Constitution Day 2010–Americans for Madison announces the publication of JAMES MADISON & THE BIRTH OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION (New York: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 2010) (ISBN 978-1-932821-09-3). A collaboration between Americans for Madison Founder Hadley Nagel and Advisory Board Member James G. Basker, the book is the first scholarly publication to focus on James Madison developed exclusively for use by students on Constitution Day.
Since 2004, U.S. Law (Section 111 of Division J of Pub.L.108-447 as codified in 36 U.S.Code Section 106) has required all educational institutions receiving Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education to conduct an education program on the U.S. Constitution on Constitution Day. The book is expected to become an invaluable resource for educational institutions seeking to present compliant programs in recognition of Constitution Day.
In the modern tradition of educational materials, the book is extensively illustrated and includes a number of rarely seen original documents drawn from the massive collection of over 60,000 documents detailing the Nation’s history held by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of which Basker serves as president. (more…)