More On Dolley and James Madison

I once asked the kids in that Seniors government High School advanced class “When was the War of 1812?” They thought it was a trick question, and didn’t know at first. Someone finally realized that 1812 was the date of the War of 1812. It was a fun class!

In June of 1812, President Madison was fed up with the British attacks on our ships, and on their violations of the treaty ending the Revolutionary War. He asked Congress to give him a declaration of war. They did. The war had its ups and downs. In 1814 the British Army was marching to Washington, D.C. President Madison felt it was necessary for him to visit the front lines, see the state of things and encourage the soldiers. read more

President and Mrs. Washington and President and Mrs. Madison

There is a touching and even heart-rending irony in that neither George Washington, the “Father of our Country” nor James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” had any children of their own. However, they both married widows and raised step-children.

George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, the lovliest and perhaps the wealthiest widow in Virginia. Martha had two children with her previous husband, Daniel Custis. Martha was very beautiful, as science has now confirmed with the new methods of reproducing what someone would have looked like at a certain age. (Click here to see a picture). At barely 5’, Martha stood only as tall as Washington’s chest. George was nearly 6’4” tall. read more

George Washington’s Portrait Saved by Dolley

Landsdowne paintingJames and Dolley Madison were residents of the President’s Mansion in Washington, D.C., in 1812. James was President of the United States of America, and Dolley was his wife and hostess.

I once asked a high school class I was speaking to, when the War of 1812 took place. They didn’t know. But you know. It was in 1812! During the war, the British were marching toward Washington, D.C. President Madison decided he needed to go to the “front” to see what was transpiring with the fighting. He didn’t really trust his generals that much. read more

Thomas Jefferson and Books

Library of Congress Reading Room

Thomas Jefferson loved books. To his friend, John Adams, he declared “I cannot live without books!” He was a voracious reader. When you visit his home at Monticello, you will not only see his library but you will also notice that he had several places set aside in multiple rooms in his home, where he could sit and read when time permitted.

The British burned down the Library of Congress in the War of 1812, along with several other buildings, like the President’s Mansion. Jefferson offered to sell his library to Congress to replace what they had lost. In 1815 Congress approved the purchase, and it took ten wagonloads to bring the books to Washington, DC! read more