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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 as the foremost advocate for openness in government. Additionally, he is hailed as being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the United States 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.

HOW TO OBSERVE #FreedomOfInformationDay

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 do require permission from the party in question. Check out the FAQ from 

Learn more about the Freedom of Information Act and how it impacts your rights. Visit the website to read more about the act. Exercise your rights to access certain unrestricted documents. Learn how to access and request documents. 

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) which is 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.


Jim Bohannon, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host on the Westwood 1 stations, founded National Freedom of Information Day. U.S. Government websites recognize and document this day as well. – © 2020 All Rights Reserved.