This short video analyzes both the practical and the psychological contributions made by Dolley Madison to the young republic. Practically, Dolley’s weekly receptions in the drawing room of the White House became the only public gathering place in Washington, DC for doing the real business of politics. Psychologically, Dolley became, in the words of Professor Catherine Allgor, a “Republican Queen”, whose charm and charisma made her a symbol of America during the War of 1812.
This short video illustrates how women in post-revolutionary America came to be seen as intellectual beings responsible for fostering civic ideals in their husbands and children. These “republican mothers” were protectors of the public good. Professor Rosemarie Zagarri concludes that the flowering of feminist sentiments originating in the 1770’s reached its fruition in the Seneca Falls Declaration of 1848.
This short video emphasizes the importance of the unofficial sphere of the political world (the homes, social events, and private spaces where people gathered) and the role played by Dolley Madison in shaping this sphere. Professor Catherine Allgor concludes that Dolley, through this unofficial sphere, was the “queen” of influence peddling, using her status and connections to help staff the federal government.