4th President of the United States
In Office: March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
In 1809 Madison succeeded Jefferson. Like the first three Presidents, Madison was enmeshed in the ramifications of European wars. Diplomacy had failed to prevent the seizure of U.S. ships, goods, and men on the high seas, and a depression wracked the country. Madison continued to apply diplomatic techniques and economic sanctions, eventually effective to some degree against France. But continued British interference with shipping, as well as other grievances, led to the War of 1812.
The war, for which the young nation was ill prepared, ended in stalemate in December 1814 when the inconclusive Treaty of Ghent which nearly restored prewar conditions, was signed. But, thanks mainly to Andrew Jackson‘s spectacular victory at the Battle of New Orleans (Chalmette) in January 1815, most Americans believed they had won. Twice tested, independence had survived, and an ebullient nationalism marked Madison‘s last years in office, during which period the Democratic-Republicans held virtually uncontested sway.
The War of 1812 allowed the new nation to break free of its colonial past, and told the nations of Europe that a new player had emerged on the world stage. With the advent of peace came decades of stability, improved diplomatic relations and economic growth,