Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    James Madison Letter Press Copy of an Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 7.75" x 9", Washington, August 18, 1804. Writing to an unknown recipient, most likely to President Thomas Jefferson, Secretary Madison explains the delay in the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Scattered areas of fading, though the text remains wholly legible. Slight smudging of ink near Madison's signature, which remains unaffected. W.C. Putnam Collection for the benefit of the Acquisition and Conservation Fund of the Putnam Museum.

    More Information:

    In full: "It being understood that the Legislation of Georgia has ratified the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the U. States, concerning the election of President and vice President, and the requisite number of States, including Georgia, having concurred in that proposition, I take the liberty of intimating to you that as exemplification of the ratifying act of her Legislaures [sic] has yet been recd. and that the official notification required by law from the Department of State, awaits that formality only. Not doubting ... whether the failure has happened from miscarriage or otherwise as time will be lost in forwarding the necessary document."


    Pursuant to the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, the House of Representatives chose the President "from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President" with the votes "taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote." This created problems in the elections of 1796 and 1800. The new amendment would not change the makeup of the Electoral College, but the way in which it voted for the president and vice president. No longer would the vice president be the second runner-up for president, assuring that the two positions would be cooperative.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Flat Material, Small (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    3rd Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 450

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 27 Domain Names Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 March 17 Western Americana & Texana Grand Format Auction - Dallas
    2018 March 17 Western Americana & Texana Grand Format Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $327,896