Dolley Madison did not really save the White House from the British. There was little that one person could do against the advancement of the British. Where Madison was effective was that she sought to create the idea that while there is challenge evident, the spirit of the White House will not perish. Recognizing that the White House was under attack, Madison refused to leave unless she was able to take valuables from the White House with her. Madison understood that the White House spirit, as seen in her taking valuable items that represented the White House, should not fall victim to a foreign attacker. In taking the portraits of Washington, as well as official papers, the nation understood that the British might have burned the White House. However, they did little to take away the spirit of what the White House represented. Americans were inspired by how Madison rose above the challenges of the British army. Madison transcended the adversity, representing how Americans were to take example from their First Lady.