Retirement

James Madison enjoyed a long and active retirement. Of necessity he threw himself into the management of his large plantation, interesting himself in scientific farming as a means to counter the increasing unprofitability of Virginia agriculture. Beginning in 1816 he sat on the Board of Visitors planning the creation of the University of Virginia, and when Jefferson died in 1826 he became the university's second rector. Madison's public appearances were few, but in his correspondence he waged a rear-guard action against the rise of doctrines of nullification and states' rights. His last public political appearance was in 1829 at the Virginia convention to draw up a new state constitution, where he spoke against the overrepresentation of the Tidewater region in the House of Delegates. Madison died at home on 28 June 1836.

Montpelier, Madison's ancestral home (photo: Kenneth M. Wyner, courtesy of The Montpelier Foundation)
David Mattern (edited for use here by Jewel Spangler and Anne Colony); source: The American Revolution 1775-1783: An Encyclopedia, ed. Richard L. Blanco and Paul J. Sanborn (2 vols.; New York, 1993), 2:1002-8.