In Response to: Let’s Hit the Road!

As usual, I greatly enjoyed reading Mark Bernstein ’83’s Sept. 13 cover article, “Road Trip!” However, I was taken aback by his suggestion that James Madison 1771 “wouldn’t have liked a road trip.” Setting aside his constitutional scruples about infrastructure development, we must look no further than The Rise of American Democracy by Professor Sean Wilentz (my thesis adviser) for reference to the famous “botanizing tour” of New York and New England, which was taken by Madison and his pal Thomas Jefferson in the spring of 1791. Wilentz emphasizes the political intrigue, but as Madison himself wrote to Jefferson about their plans on May 12 of that year, “Health recreation and curiosity being my objects, I can never be out of my way.” Sure doesn’t sound like a guy who hated road trips! 

Robert Richard ’09
Chapel Hill, N.C.