10 of the Most Powerful First Ladies America Ever Had:
Let’s be honest, to become the first lady of the United States definitely secures you a spot in history. Initially, it started as a position that simply implied the attributes of a ”hostess” at the White House.
But, as time went by, it became an opportunity for women to really make a difference in their country. If we think about it, none of this could have happened without many of the first ladies in our U.S. history!
They were not only idealized for their style and grace, but also for their intelligence and dedication to their country.
This is how the first ladies of the United States have earned the love and respect of all American citizens. Let’s talk about some of the most inspiring things they have done:
Which one of these first ladies is YOUR favorite?
Edith Roosevelt was a very dedicated first lady, and many Americans have deeply loved her for that.
She served as the first lady from 1901 to 1909, being the wife of Theodore Roosevelt. Besides showing a true interest in helping those who needed her, she dedicated herself to revamping the White House.
As the National First Ladies’ Library shows, her secretary recalled how Edith used to send large gifts of cash to different hospitals that treated the poor and instructed physicians to hand out money to those being discharged.
Growing up, Edith was extremely close to Teddy’s younger sister, Corinne Roosevelt. In fact, they were even best friends.
Bess Truman was the wife of Harry S. Truman, and she remains in our collective memory as one of the most down-to-earth first ladies in history.
As we can see from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum’s website, Bess Truman always kept her old habits, even after she became the first lady of the White House.
She went to the same old beauty shop and continued to pay only $3.00 for her weekly manicure, shampoo, and set.
As she said, there was no reason to change. Bess Truman died in October 1982, as she suffered from congestive heart failure at only 97 years old. She is the longest-lived First Lady in U.S. history.
Jimmy Carter used to refer to his wife as “the equal extension” of himself.
Rosalynn Carter took her role as the first lady very seriously while her husband was the President of the United States from 1977 to 1981, which made many Americans admire her hard work.
She was an inspiring advocate for the cause of mental health.
Also, she pushed very hard to support the Equal Rights Amendment and was a great supporter of the arts. Just like her husband, Rosalynn was noticed for her practical mentality and her egalitarian attitude.
Her chief of staff earned the same amount of money as the president’s chief of staff.
Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson’s wife, Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson, was a strong supporter of the “war on poverty”, of the Headstart Program, and worked for the beautification of Washington, D.C.
She was also an important advocate for women’s rights. In 1977, she was presented with the Medal of Freedom, which is America’s highest civilian award.
After her husband’s death in 1973, “Lady Bird” Johnson divided her time between the LBJ ranch and her home in Austin.
She received great satisfaction knowing that Americans ranked her in the top half dozen of all first ladies.
Have any of these first ladies personally inspired YOU?
Mamie Eisenhower was one of the most strong-minded first ladies. She lived in the White House from 1953 to 1961, while Dwight D. Eisenhower was president.
She was extremely beloved because the women of the era really related to her.
Tragedy struck her life very early on, when their first son, Doud Dwight, died of scarlet fever at only three years old.
Their second son, John Sheldon Doud, was born in 1922.
When her husband had to fulfill his military assignments during World War II, Mamie made sure she writes him every day.
His letters to her were later added in a book, “Letters to Mamie” (1978).
The second first lady in all of history, Abigail Adams managed to make quite an impression while her husband, John Adams, was the President of the United States.
She was the unofficial adviser of her husband, helping him to decide on the XYZ Affair, Sedition Act, and Alien Act.
Also, she advocated for the rights of women when it wasn’t really that fashionable. In 1784, she joined her husband in Europe, when he initiated serving as an American minister to Britain.
Her letters from Paris and London always had descriptive musings on British royalty, French customs, and how superior was the quiet life of an American farmer.
Michelle Obama was definitely one of the most inspiring and passionate first ladies of America. She really wanted to make a difference, and she succeeded!
She served as FLOTUS next to President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, winning the hearts of Americans and making a difference.
She was the one that founded the “Let’s Move!” campaign to combat childhood obesity, and “Let Girls Learn”, an organization that empowered young women to get an education.
She had a second initiative, known as the “Reach Higher Initiative”, which keeps on providing students with the guidance and resources to keep on going to post-high school education and professional careers.
Martha Washington was the first-ever first lady, as she was the wife of the first-ever president of the United States, George Washington.
Basically, she was the one that set a precedent as to what it meant to be the first lady of the U.S.
One of the most important steps she took was to initiate a weekly reception, which was held on Friday evenings, for anyone who would want to attend.
At these meetings, members of Congress, visiting dignitaries, and men and women from the local community were expected at the presidential mansion.
After being presented to Mrs. Washington, the guests had refreshments, talked with each other, and mingled.
Eleanor Roosevelt was an inspiration to many Americans, as she refused to simply serve as a hostess in the White House.
At her many press conferences, she spoke out about human rights, children’s causes, and women’s issues, and she worked side by side with the League of Women Voters.
In 1918, Eleanor found out that Franklin was having an affair with her social secretary, Lucy Mercer.
This was by far one of the most traumatic events that happened in her life, as she later told Joseph Lash, her friend, and biographer.
Franklin was very mindful of his political career and he feared the loss of his mother’s financial support, so he refused Eleanor’s offer of a divorce and agreed to stop seeing Mercer.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, or Jackie O, was the most beloved first lady in the history of America.
According to Biography.com, Jackie O made a mission out of transforming the White House into a museum of American history and culture, that would inspire those who visited it.
As she had a great background as a reporter, Onassis tried as much as possible to protect her two children from the media while she was at the White House.
When press scrutiny and security were real concerns, Onassis decided to turn the White House’s third floor into a nursery school. If you love Jackie Kennedy just as much as we do, you’ll enjoy reading about her some more HERE!
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