Fact check: Cawthorn falsely says James Madison signed Declaration of Independence
Madison Cawthorn, who's running for Congress in North Carolina's 11th District, spoke at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 26. He said young people like James Madison helped shape America. But Cawthorn wrongly said Madison signed the Declaration of Independence.Posted — Updated
Speaking at the Republican National Convention, 25-year-old congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn said that those who doubt young people “don’t know American history.”
Cawthorn, who faces Democrat Moe Davis in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, then reeled off a few historical figures who were young when they helped change America.
“George Washington was 21 when he received his first military commission. Abe Lincoln: 22 when he first ran for office. My personal favorite: James Madison was just 25 years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence,” Cawthorn said.
While Cawthorn’s claims about Washington and Lincoln merit minor corrections, there’s a big problem with his claim about Madison.
Born March 16, 1751, Madison was a young adult when he made significant contributions to the foundation of the United States. He participated in the framing of the Virginia Constitution in 1776. Before he became president in 1809, Madison in 1789 introduced a proposed Bill of Rights to the Constitution, according to the National Constitution Center.
In an email to PolitiFact Wednesday night, Cawthorn’s spokesman said he meant to point out Madison’s age at the time the Declaration was signed.
“During the taping Madison Cawthorn wanted to mention James Madison,” campaign spokesman John Hart said. “He meant to say James Madison was 25 when the Declaration was written. His point stands that young people have made an enormous impact in this country, and still can.”
Thursday morning, Cawthorn tweeted about the mistake.
Let’s briefly review Cawthorn’s claims about the other presidents.
In a speech urging viewers to know American history, Cawthorn’s inaccurate claim about Madison stands out.
We rate Cawthorn’s claim False.
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