Who is Dolly Madison?

Hint…its’ not the snack cake.

Remember the story from the war of 1812 where Canadians burnt down the White House and Dolly Madison (James Madison’s first last) came running out of the flaming building with a painting of George Washington under her arm?

Well, of you are an American then the definitive answer is “no”. And the reason for that is because we don’t really talk about that war (It was the Bicentennial yesterday, in case you are interested). And the reason for that is because it was (for the most part): a) a mistake and b) was pretty much a “tie”.

No winner, no loser, no story.

Our nation (like many with proud military infrastructure) is a sociological case study in Conflict Theory (getting academic for a second). We need a definitive “us” and “other” to operate fluidly as a macro social unit. And the “other” must be a detrimental enemy AND we must have the upper hand at all times or be willing to seize it my any means necessary.

Most of our big war stories celebrate the conquer of evil by the forces of good and are benchmarks by which we measure our collective social purpose. The war of 1812 was a dud in that respect. It was , however , a prime example need for conflict and general lack of patience ( we didn’t know our demands had been met yet because Britain is really far away by boat so we declared war and then were similarly impatient not realizing a peace treaty had been signed and went in to a bloody battle unnecessarily).

All’s well that ends well, I suppose. At least as a result of that war we were able to maintain our American Identity and stave off that pesky Metric system. 😉

Categories: american History, Anthropology, Canadian Culture, conflict theory, sociology, Uncategorized, War | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Who is Dolly Madison?

  1. eg

    Are you sure this is a correct definition? I thought what this definition is more “functionalist”, and that conflict theory says that the only way societies will stay intact is if there are less wealthy and powerful oppressors…. ???

    “This is classic Conflict Theory – a sociological macro theory about the nature of social order that basically says the only way societies stay intact is when you have oppressors and those being oppressed – with the wealthy and powerful being the oppressors. It essentially states that this conflict and power struggle are what maintain social order – and that even attempts by those in power to create social change with charitable works is still in the best interest of the powerful.”

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