March 16th recognizes National Freedom of Information Day annually during Sunshine Week. It also commemorates the birthday of President James Madison.
Madison earned the name the Father of the Constitution and was the foremost advocate for openness in government. Additionally, historians hail Madison as instrumental in drafting the United States Constitution and the leading advocate and author of the Bill of Rights. Madison held individual rights and freedom of information in high importance.
- On March 16, 1751, James Madison, Jr. was born in Port Conway, Virginia. Madison died on June 28, 1836, on his Montpelier Estate.
- The people elected James Madison as the 4th President of the United States of America (1809-1817).
- In 1966, Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act into law.
The day reminds us that the Freedom of Information Act offers us a tool to keep us informed. While a request can be made for any record, personal records require permission from the party in question.
HOW TO OBSERVE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION DAY
- Check out the FAQ from FOIA.gov.
- Learn more about the Freedom of Information Act and how it impacts your rights. Visit the FOIA.gov website to read more about the act.
- Exercise your rights to access certain unrestricted documents.
- Learn how to access and request records.
- Learn more about James Madison, his presidency, and his work for the young United States. For example:
- Read the Federalist Papers
- Visit the James Madison Museum of Orange County in Orange, Virginia
- Watch A More Perfect Union (1989), told from the viewpoint of James Madison.
- Be sure to invite others to learn with you. As you know, it’s best to Celebrate Every Day with others! Use #FreedomOfInformationDay to post on social media.