J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Madison in Massachusetts, 7 and 21 October

On Friday, 7 October, the Massachusetts Historical Society will host Kyle Jenks (shown here) in the person of President James Madison, looking back on the criticisms of the U.S. Constitution from Massachusetts delegate Elbridge Gerry.

Gerry was at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to the end, but he refused to sign the document because he thought it gave too much power to the new central government. He also campaigned against ratification in Massachusetts, though his native Marblehead chose not to send him to the state’s ratifying convention.

Massachusetts sent Gerry to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1789, and he once again argued against Madison’s defenses of the Constitution. But Madison was gradually moving toward the smaller-government position as well. By the late 1790s they were in the same party under Thomas Jefferson. Eventually Gerry served as Massachusetts governor from 1810 to 1812 and then went to Washington, D.C., as Madison’s second Vice President.

Jenks’s presentation is part of the M.H.S.’s “Turning Points” programming, linked to its current exhibit of documents and artifacts from important moments in U.S. history. The session will take place from 2:00 to 3:00 this Friday, and it is free and open to the public.

On Friday, 21 October, John Douglas Hall will bring his version of Madison to the Lexington Historical Society. Hall, who is based in Virginia, has portrayed Madison at Montpelier and many other sites for years. In Lexington his topic will be the nasty Presidential campaigns of 1796 and 1800, when Jefferson and John Adams squared off. How do the issues, rhetoric, and campaign styles of that time compare to this year’s Presidential race?

That event will take place in the Lexington Depot starting at 8:00 P.M. There is plenty of parking nearby. It is free and open to the public.


J. L. Bell said...

Based on incomplete information, this posting originally stated that Jenks would portray Madison at both events. In fact, Massachusetts is being visited by two Madison portrayers this month!

Kyle Jenks said...

Thank you Massachusetts Historical Society for such a warm welcome and to the audience members who chose to visit that day! Both Mr. Madison and I had a great time!
Kyle Jenks
Historic portrayer of Pres. James Madison