James Madison

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Watercolor on ivory. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Madison at age 32.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; framed: 36 1/8 × 31 3/4 × 3 5/8 in. (91.8 × 80.6 × 9.2 cm). Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK.

by James Sharples (c. 1751—1811)

Pastel on paper. Independence National Historical Park, Portrait Collection (Second Bank of the United States), Philadelphia, PA.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 29.5 in. x 24.63 in. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg, VA.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; height: height: 123.19 cm (48.5 in), width: 100.97 cm (39.75 in). Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on wood; 65.3 x 54.3 cm (25 11/16 x 21 3/8 in.) National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by John Vanderlyn (1775—1852)

Oil on canvas. The White House Collection, Washington, DC.

by Chester Harding (1792—1866)

Oil on canvas. On display at Montpelier, Orange, VA; courtesy of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA.

by Asher Brown Durand (1796—1886)

Oil on canvas; 24 1/4 x 20 1/4 in. ( 61.6 x 51.4 cm). New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.

by Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton (c. 1775—1865)

Watercolor on wove paper. The Montpelier Foundation, Orange, VA.

Virtually all modern accounts of the Revolution begin in 1763 with the Peace of Paris, the great treaty that concluded the Seven Years’ War. Opening the story there, however, makes the imperial events and conflicts that followed the war — the controversy over the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act crisis — into precursors of the Revolution. No matter how strenuous their other disagreements, most modern historians have looked at the years after 1763 not as contemporary Americans and Britons saw them — as a postwar era vexed by the unanticipated problems in relations between the colonies and metropolis — but as what we in retrospect know those years to have been, a pre-Revolutionary period. By sneaking glances, in effect, at what was coming next, historians robbed their accounts of contingency and suggested, less by design than by inadvertence, that the independence and nationhood of the United States were somehow inevitable.

Fred Anderson
Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754 - 1766 (2000)