Museum Musings - Madison's Decanters

Being a president, prior to the Former Presidents Act signed under President Eisenhower, there were no retirement income or benefits for our early presidents. Thomas Jefferson was so poor in 1815 that in order to pay his creditors he sold his library to the government, forming the core of the Library of Congress. James Madison, though struggling, managed to retain his estates and died June 28, 1836 at his home in Orange, Montpelier. It wasn't until 1844 that Dolley Madison was forced to sell their estate to pay debts. So what did a retired president to when he could not pay his debts? They could sell land, borrow from a money-lender, friend/acquaintance or banking institution. Or, they

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