Edited by J.C.A. Stagg, Jeane Kerr Cross, and Susan Holbrook Perdue
The thirteen months between October 1809 and September 1910 were dominated by foreign policy problems as Madison labored to protect American neutral rights from the aggressions of France and Great Britain. The published papers record the president's difficulties in negotiating with the British diplomat Francis James Jackson as well as his struggle to persuade Congress to persevere with policies of economic coercion against the European belligerents.
Equally important was Madison's response to changes in Spanish America, and the editorial annotation of the documents here casts new light on his decision to annex parts of Spanish West Florida to the United States in October 1810.
The volume also illuminates the range of Madison's executive activities on the domestic front—from dealing with Congress to supervising the construction of the public buildings in Washington, D.C., and conducting diplomacy with increasingly restless Indians on the frontier.
Of considerable interest, too, is the material on Madison's relationships with his cabinet colleagues, particularly his controversial secretary of state, Robert Smith.
These papers show a president constantly involved in the daily business of government, and they will enable scholars to develop fresh perspectives on the growth of the executive branch.