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Collection James Madison Papers, 1723 to 1859

1808 to 1811

The Presidency


  1. 1808

    James Madison elected fourth president of United States. George Clinton is vice president.

    [Detail] The happy effects of that grand system of shutting ports against the English. Etching, hand-colored. Cruikshank. 1808. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZC4-6235
  2. 1809

    Just before Madison takes office, Embargo Act repealed as failure. Madison remains preoccupied with maritime and trade disputes with both France and Great Britain as well as longstanding quarrel with Spain over American claims to Gulf Coast, especially West Florida.

  3. 1810

    In effort to ease tensions, France repeals commercial restrictions on trade. Continuing crisis with Great Britain shows no signs of easing; trade restrictions remain. Madison announces annexation of West Florida, consolidating American control of Gulf of Mexico.

  4. 1811

    Unable to reach compromise with Great Britain, Madison asks Congress to mobilize American forces for defense of the country.