A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation

A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation Review

"Delightful and discerning . . . In this evocative study a remarkable woman, creator of the ‘first lady' role, comes vividly to life."The New York Times

When the roar of the Revolution had finally died down, a new generation of politicians was summoned to the Potomac to assemble the nation's capital. Into that unsteady atmosphere—which would soon enough erupt into another conflict with Britain—Dolley Madison arrived, alongside her husband, James. Within a few years, she had mastered both the social and political intricacies of the city, and by her death in 1849 was the most celebrated person in Washington. And yet, to most Americans, she's best known for saving a portrait from the burning White House.

Why did her contemporaries so admire a lady so little known today? In A Perfect Union, acclaimed historian Catherine Allgor reveals how Dolley manipulated the contstraints of her gender to construct an American democratic ruling style and to achieve her husband's political goals. By emphasizing cooperation over coercion—building bridges instead of bunkers—she left us with not only an important story about our past but a model for a modern form of politics.

Title:A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation
Edition Language:English

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    A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation Reviews

  • Heather C

    First of all, I was drawn to this book because of my fascination with all things Dolley Madison. I was actually trying to find a biography that I had read about her years ago and stumbled across this ...

  • Shelley

    This could have been the shining star, the very Platonic ideal of a biography of a woman in the early Republic. And Dolley Madison at that, a strong, savvy woman who started a Quaker and died an elder...

  • Christine

    Crossposted at Booklikes.Dolley Madison is my favorite first lady. I’m sorry Michelle, but she is. The whole story of her marriage to Madison, her saving of the Washington Portrait. The fact that sh...

  • Christine

    I had no idea Dolley Madison was such a superstar during her era! And so very influential too. This is a very interesting biography of the famous first "first lady." It got a little repetitive at time...

  • Jen

    This woman MUST have done something more interesting than picking out crimson curtains for the Oval Office and buying fancy dresses and schmoozing politicians. I don't care if it was 1800. I mean real...

  • Kelly

    Dolley Madison grew up in a Quaker belief, mainly due to her father. Her father utterly rejected slavery - it was the reason why they moved out of their home that Dolley ever known. For all of her lif...

  • Kelsey

    I'm halfway through this book, but it feels like I've been reading it for an eternity (and I'm a fast reader!).The author is undoubtably a good writer. But is sorely in need of a ruthless editor. You ...

  • Tom Rowe

    Confusing. This audiobook ended after seven hours, but had 10 more hours to go. It repeated the story, but not from the beginning, but from somewhere in the middle. It was badly put together. The book...

  • James Henry

    This book's main thesis is that Dolley Madison, by setting up the Washington DC social circle and getting Congressmen with opposing viewpoints to find common ground, helped establish the democratic fo...

  • Lee

    Interesting. Makes the argument that Dolley Madison was almost as important, perhaps more important to the Madison presidency than her husband. Dolley Madison created a feminine space within the White...