Event — Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at Montpelier

Montpelier Seminar: “America Under Fire: Mr. Madison’s War & the Burning of Washington City”

September 3, 2014 – September 4, 2017


Where: James Madison’s Montpelier • Robert H. Smith Center for the Constution

11407 Constitution Highway, Montpelier Station, VA 22957 • montpelier.org • Click here for directions.

When: September 3-4, 2014

Details: Learn about the leadership of James and Dolley Madison during the War of 1812 and how the war helped forge American identity at this two-day bicentennial symposium hosted by The Montpelier Foundation in collaboration with The White House Historical Association and The United States Capitol Historical Society at historic Decatur House in Washington. Leading scholars, including Catherine Allgor, Alan Taylor, Andrew Burstein, and Nancy Isenberg, will share their insights and research.

Click here to register.

The White House Historical Association (WHHA), The United States Capitol Historical Society (USCHS), and James Madison’s Montpelier will commemorate the bicentennial of the August 24, 1814 invasion and burning of the White House and United States Capitol with a two-day symposium this September. Renowned scholars will describe and discuss the geopolitics and causes of the War of 1812, the British capture of the national capital and burning of the public buildings on August 24, 1814, President James Madison’s interpretation of the Constitution in a time of war and crisis, Dolley Madison as a political partner and heroine, the impact of the war on African Americans and Native Americans, and the aftermath of the war on the future of the nation.


$50: Two-day admission to the Symposium program and the Closing Reception.

$215: Two-day all inclusive tickets include admission to the Symposium program, the Anniversary Dinner on the evening of September 3, and the Closing Reception.

$170: Anniversary Dinner only

All participants will receive a complimentary copy of White House History at the Symposium and the proceedings to be published and shipped to participants after the event.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Opening Session, 2:00 p.m.  ›  featuring:

  • Catherine Allgor, Ph.D., Director of Education, Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, and author of A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation

  • Alan Taylor, Ph.D., Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Chair, University of Virginia, and Pulitzer Prize and Bancroft prize-winning author of The Civil War of 1812

  • John A. Stagg, Ph.D., Professor of History, University of Virginia, and Editor of the James Madison Papers at the University of Virginia

›  Followed by the Anniversary Dinner in the Courtyard, 5:30 p.m.

  • Keynote Speaker: Andrew Lambert, author of Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Morning Session, 8:30 a.m.  ›  featuring:

  • Donald R. Hickey, Ph.D., Professor of History, Wayne State College, and author of The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict

  • Steve Vogel, veteran journalist for The Washington Post and author of Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks that Saved the Nation

  • Ralph Eshelman, co-director of the Patuxent River Cultural Resource Survey and author of several historical reports about sites related to the War of 1812

  • Holly Schulman, Ph.D., Editor of the Dolley Madison Project, University of Virginia

›  Lunch: Symposium attendees have a wide selection of local restaurants within walking distance. A list of suggestions will be provided.

Afternoon Session, 1:15 p.m.  ›  featuring:

  • Kenneth Bowling, Ph.D., co-editor, 1st Federal Congress Project and author of The Creation of Washington, D.C.: The Idea and Location of the American Capital.

  • Pamela Scott, independent architectural historian and author of Buildings of the District of Columbia and Fortress of Finance: The U.S. Treasury Department Building

  • William Seale, Ph.D., White House Historian and author of The President’s House, The White House: The History of an American Idea, and editor of White House History

  • Andrew Burstein, Ph.D., and Nancy Isenberg, Ph.D., authors of Madison and Jefferson

›  Followed by the Closing Reception, 5:00 p.m.