When it comes to reading and literacy, America is having a hard time. Statistics show that 14% of adults can’t read, and 50% of adults can’t read a book written at an 8th-grade level.
Fortunately for our nation, America’s founders did not fit into the illiterate or ill-read category. Their book lists and library collections show amazing depth, and James Madison’s is no exception.
Madison had over 1,500 volumes in his personal library. Below is a snapshot of the more recognizable titles. How many have you read?
- An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding – David Hume
- Epistles to Atticus – Marcus Tullius Cicero
- Essays – Sir Francis Bacon
- Hamlet – William Shakespeare
- History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – Edward Gibbon
- Law of Nature and Nations – Hugo Grotius
- Lives – Plutarch
- Nature of True Virtue – Jonathan Edwards
- Tales from Shakespeare – Charles Lamb
- The Age of Reason – Thomas Paine
- The Commonwealth of Utopia – Sir Thomas More
- The First Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England – Edward Coke
- The Imitation of Christ – Thomas A. Kempis
- The Spirit of Laws – Montesquieu
- The Talisman – Sir Walter Scott
- Treatises on Government – John Locke
- Works on Religious Subjects – Sir Isaac Newton
Image Credit: Liam Quin Public Domain
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.