Politics in the early days of our republic was much as it is today. It was often dirty and dishonest; it was a place for ambitious self-promotion. But whereas today some of our most electric politicians are women – Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi – our infant nation’s rigid gender roles held little tolerance for women who might wish to sully themselves in the public arena. For women – the intelligent and ambitious especially – their sphere of political influence was understood to reside within the home.