Dolley Madison (1768-1849) was an American first lady (1809-1817) and the wife of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. One of Washington, D.C.'s most successful hostesses, Dolley Madison used her social skills, charm and personal popularity to win over her husband's political opponents and help advance his career. Dolley Madison helped to define the role of first lady and established many of the precedents that her successors would follow, including working with local charities and organizations on social issues important to her and overseeing the decoration of the executive mansion to reflect the importance of the presidency. She is probably best remembered for saving the White House's historic Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington from certain destruction by advancing British troops during the War of 1812.
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In 1804, Dolley Madison helped lead the efforts to raise funds for the "Corps of Discovery," the expedition led by Merriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the land recently acquired by the Louisiana Purchase.
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