James Madison was born on March 16, 1751, at the home of his maternal grandparents in Port Conway, Virginia. Soon after, he returned with his mother to their home in Orange County. He received basic education from home, and then went to preparatory school before entering the College of New Jersey at Princeton in 1769. While there, he received standard education in Latin and Greek studies, and also learned about principles from his religious teachers. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1771 and remained for six months studying under President John Witherspoon. Madison was greatly influenced by him, because of his academic independence, Scottish practicality, honesty, and sincerity. The works of his other contemporaries also influenced Madison, among them were: John Locke, Isaac Newton, Jonathan Swift, David Hume, and Voltaire. Because they shaped the Enlightenment viewpoint, for which he also came to believe. He also considered going into religion and law as careers, but never entered either profession.
In 1772, he returned back home and was soon drawn into a lifelong career in politics.
Madison began his political career in December of 1774, when he was appointed to the Orange County Committee of Safety. In 1776, he was then elected to the Virginia Convention in Williamsburg. By that time, the colonies were declared independent from Britain, and Madison's knowledge of history and government allowed him to partake in the drafting of Virginia's first state constitution. Over the next couple of years, Madison served as a delegate to the Virginia House of Delegates, was elected to the Second Continental Congress, and served as a member of the United States House of Representatives. In the spring of 1787 James Madison traveled to Philadelphia to attend the Constitutional Convention. Madison's dedication and hard work during the convention that drafted the U.S.