Dolley Madison created a culture where the President could talk shop with Congress, which contributed heavily to the early stability of the nation. She utilized party splits, social pressure, and certain aspects of court culture to make a setting where politics could happen outside the halls of the white house and the capitol. Her actions created the precedent of the responsibility of the first lady and the foundation for the social landscape of Washington. - Zack Dutke
In the Madison administration, there was an increasingly institutionalized and factitious congress, as opposed to what had been a motley crew in Jefferson's administration. Congress was so divided that during the 1812 war, there was a convention for a section to split off from the union. This echoes the English Civil War, where the King and Parliament came into conflict. The single man with the most power in the new regime came into conflict with the body of people who had more power in the government as a whole. - Zack Dutke
When Jefferson first came into power, he believed women should not be inside the President's House. This was due to his belief that women had a destructive effect on the government's decisions. However, outlook on women changed when Dolly Madison came to the capital. - HL
During Madison's presidency, his wife, Dolly, set out to help her husband build political alliances through her use of dinner parties. Her parties proved to be crucial during the election of 1812, when Federalists boycotted them, whereas Republicans used their attendance to her parties as a response to them. During her parties, she would create connections between powerful people and hopefully bind them to her husband. Her work at her dinner parties helped her Husband secure his second presidential term. Dolly created a new system for women and families to contribute to political growth in a time where men dominated the political world. - HL
American politics in the early 1900s took part in a “republican culture” where what was considered more aristocratic, old fashioned displays were considered distasteful and it was frowned upon if men engaged in politics themselves participated in these types of events and encouraged more lavish accomadations. This resulted in a new avenue through which women such as most notably Dolley Madison were able to achieve great influence; it became her responsibility to host social events through which political compromise and agreement could be found and to decorate the President's House in a way that allowed it to serve as a public statement of the president's power without the president himself appearing to contradict his commitment to republicanism. - Morgan Kelley
Although at the time women’s presence in the Presidents House was frowned upon, President Madison’s wife played a huge part in Madison’s re-election in 1812. During Madison’s campaign, his wife, Dolley Madison, began hosting dinners at her home with the intention of helping her husband form more alliances. He gained many powerful people on his side thanks to Dolley and her efforts. She paved the way for women to have roles in politics and presidency through her time as First Lady. -Annie
Dolly Madison deeply influenced social and political norms of government and her work to construct a system of political socialization and quasi-courtesanship did not only foster compromise and alliance within government and facilitated diplomacy but also cemented and developed Washington as a capital. The President's House became the center of all things which concentrated the political elite and decisionmaking around a sense of location, akin to the capitals of European monarchs. - Valerian Girardeau
By defying previous social and societal norms, Dolley Madison was able to encourage bipartisan conversations. The very way that Dolley set up her parties were more conducive to many side conversations between all attendees. Coupled with the fact that Dolley let in people from both sides of the aisle, the parties became a mainstay for discussions on policy. - Ewan
Dolley Madisons willingness to defy social norms that prevented women from playing a large role was incredibly substantial in the evolution of the role of the “first lady”. She not only provided an avenue via her parties and gatherings for her husband to expand his political power but provided a bridge between parties and individuals of different political views which helped unite the at the time loose republic. - Declan
Dolley Madison could be credited for helping to turn the home of the President into a new identity. Her and architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe worked to include a dining room, receiving room, and even public areas where special events could take place. Rather than a project to display power, it was a project focused on Politics. - David Y.
Dolley Madison's hard work could be seen as a sign of triumph and a place where all people, no matter the nationality or class, could see it. Unfortunately which led it to become a target for the British when they burnt the White House down in 1814. -David Y.
During the nations infancy, Dolley Madison was a major player in a political scene that, for the most part, ostracized and excluded women. Through her elaborate gatherings, she helped facilitate a system of bipartisan social networking that had been otherwise been disdained due to the belief at the time of it being “associated with courts” and self-serving interests. -Vumiliya
In a political science class I took previously took, one of the things we learned was about how disenfranchised groups of people find ways to participate in political systems that don't allow them to actively participate within. The idea that women, particularly first ladies, were more involved in the early stages of the republic is really interesting to me because I had never been exposed to this. There are so many more players to examine than just the “Great Men” of history. - Garrett Welch
For the most part, “first ladies” were often only studied by historians in terms of getting a better understanding of others the first ladies had relationships rather than themselves. In the early republic, however, Dolley Payne Todd Madison, the wife of President James Madison and hostess of Thomas Jefferson, grabbed the attention of nation because of her charm and influence over the frame of the political environment in this time period. – Lesley Morales-Sanchez
In the early 1800s, Dolly Madison was able to achieve what, at the time, no woman before her could've ever imagined, enter the world of politics. In doing so, influences the way women are looked at in times of political unrest. Dolly Madison set the precedent for what a “first lady” stands for and the legacy they should leave behind. - Jeffrey Harris