PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chris Stigall spoke with Lynne Cheney, the wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT about her new book, James Madison: A Life Rediscovered.
Cheney said that the importance of Philadelphia in the history of the United States cannot be overstated.
“Philadelphia was the center of so much — not just the Constitution, but the Declaration [of Independence], and then it was the home of the first government during one of the most interesting decades in American history,” she said.
Cheney described how James Madison was one of the early proponents of political parties, even though they were very unpopular.
“It was a counter-intuitive thing to do. Everyone thought political parties were an awful thing. Madison didn’t particularly like all of the vituperation that accompanied political combat, but he understood in a republic, you have to have an opposition. If you don’t have an opposition, today for instance, we’d be a country like Russia, where there’s one party and it reigns supreme and no one is able to challenge it,” she said.
Cheney also made the point that the political environment that Madison and other Founding Fathers lived in was not so much different than the one we experience today.
“I do think it is enlightening and surprising to find out that the Founders lived in contentious times. We tend to think of it as a rosy time, a time of the rising sun, a time when everyone was polite to one another. In fact, politics was taken so seriously and opposition was taken so seriously that people shot one another,” she said.
Cheney and Stigall will be appearing at the National Constitution Center Tuesday to discuss the book and issues impacting politics today. For tickets, visit: constitutioncenter.org.