Dolley Madison and the War of 1812

First Lady Shows Her Mettle

In the years leading up to America’s second war with Britain, President James Madison’s attempts to expand the country’s armed forces had been unsuccessful. In 1811, Congress had voted to abolish Alexander Hamilton‘s Bank of the United States, making it nearly impossible for the government to raise money. Therefore, the United States began the War of 1812 with no Army to speak of and only a handful of frigates and a fleet of gunboats for a Navy.

Image: Engraving of Dolley Madison in 1812

The spring of 1812 was a time of great anxiety for James and Dolley Madison. Although neither of them welcomed war, they both realized it was inevitable. At first, the war did not go well for the U.S. as American soldiers proved no match for their British counterparts. This became all the more evident in August 1814 when a British army landed in Maryland – too close to the American seat of government for comfort.

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Lydia Moss Bradley

Philanthropist and Founder of Bradley University

Lydia Moss Bradley (1816–1908) was a wealthy philanthropist famous for her humanitarian works in Illinois and the independent management of her wealth. A pioneer in business and philanthropy, she founded Bradley Polytechnic Institute (now Bradley University) in 1897. Bradley and her accomplishments would be notable in any age, but to achieve all of this as an independent woman in the 19th century makes her simply amazing.

Lydia Moss was born in Vevay, Indiana on July 31, 1816, the daughter of Zeally and Jennett Glasscock Moss. Prior to Lydia’s birth, Zeally Moss owned a plantation in Kentucky, but decided that he did not want to make a living based on slavery. He reportedly, “gave the place rent free to his Negroes to work out their own living, while he crossed over into free territory to make his home and rear his family.”

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Harriot Kezia Hunt

First Woman to Apply to Harvard Medical School

Harriot Kezia Hunt (1805-1875) was the first American woman to practice medicine professionally. Though she did not have a medical degree, she achieved considerable success by applying the simple principles of good nutrition and exercise. In the 1850s she became involved in the burgeoning women’s rights movement and fought to open the medical profession to women.

Childhood and Early Years
Harriot Kezia Hunt was born in Boston, Massachusetts on November 9, 1805, the daughter of Jacob and Kezia Wentworth Hunt. The Hunts were deeply involved in Boston’s liberal religious community and reform culture, and they educated their two daughters at home. Her father died in 1827, when Harriot was twenty-two, and she and her sister Sarah opened a school in their parents’ home in order to support themselves.

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