Happy birthday, James Madison

Friday, March 16, 2001

On the 250th anniversary of his birth, freedomforum.org salutes James Madison, the author of the First Amendment, born this day in 1751 in Port Conway, Va.

James Madison once wrote:

“A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

In that spirit and in Madison's honor the First Amendment Center presents today its special annual National Freedom of Information Day conference.