A Perfect Match
Contemporaries of the James Madisons and later historians have made much of the contrast between Dolley Madison and her husband. James favored the simple dress of the revolutionary era and must have seemed almost quaint with his powdered hair, breeches, stockings, and buckled shoes. Dolley, on the other hand, not only wore the latest fashions from Europe and the best American seamstresses but adapted them to create an almost royal, unquestionably lavish persona. James Madison's Virginia plan provided what he thought was the most balanced equation. Though the Constitution was the product of many minds, his contemporaries were not wrong in considering him the "Father of the Constitution". Dolley shared important aspects of her background with James that they would assume would make them proper marriage partners. Dolley's political work was influenced by the larger discussion on the role of women. The American Revolution had a politically empowering effect on white women of the elite and middling classes.