Strength and Honor: The Life of Dolley Madison

Front Cover
Corinthian Books, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 444 pages
Born a sprightly Quaker farm girl in the North Carolina wilderness, Dolley Payne became a wife, a mother, and soon a grieving young widow as yellow fever decimated her family. Then fate led her to James Madison, father of the Constitution, a future president, and the dearest love of her life. ?Our hearts understand each other, ? she wrote to him in 1805. Her enthusiasm was infectious. When eminent statesman Henry Clay exclaimed, ?Everybody loves Mrs. Madison, ? she responded, ?That's because Mrs. Madison loves everybody!? Dolley's immense warmth, effervescence, tact, and popularity were acknowledged even by her husband's political opponents. In 1808, Federalist presidential candidate Charles C. Pinckney lamented, ?I was beaten by Mr. and Mrs. Madison. I might have had a better chance had I faced Mr. Madison alone.' The personal heroism she displayed when the British attacked Washington during the War of 1812, and the courage and integrity that characterized her entire life, made her an extraordinary role model. By the time of her death at the age of eighty-one in 1849, she was one of the most-acclaimed, most-loved women in nineteenth-century America. Based on more than 2,000 of Dolley Payne Todd Madison's letters, this intimate portrait explores the mind, heart, and brave journey of a vivacious, dedicated woman, who triumphed over adversity, poverty, and tragedy to help build the new American republic and define the role of First Lady of the land.


In Harms Way
A Child Among Friends
The Flower of Youth
Love Marriage and Yellow Fever
In Second Blush
Mrs Madisons Debut
Within a Squirrels Jump of Heaven
The Washington Quadrille
From Hostess to Heroine
Adam and Eve in Paradise
Days of Grace and Honor
Illustration Credits
Source Notes

Our Hearts Understand Each Other
The Presidentress

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 12 - ... the approach of my dear husband and his friends; but, alas! I can descry only groups of military wandering in all directions, as if there was a lack of arms, or of spirit, to fight for their own firesides!
Page 4 - I have since received two despatches from him written with a pencil. The last is alarming, because he desires I should be ready at a moment's warning, to enter my carriage and leave the city; that the enemy seemed stronger than had at first been reported, and it might happen that they would reach the city with the intention of destroying it.

About the author (2005)

Cote' is also the author of "Mary's World: Love, War, and Family Ties in Nineteenth-century Charleston," and of "Theodosia Burr Alston: Portrait of a Prodigy." He resides in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

Bibliographic information