HIS 204 American History Since 1865
Instructor: Tara Ross
November 15, 2010
The roles of the First Lady can vary. Several of the authors describes that some of the First Lady’s roles can be from writing invitations , creating an policy, sharing ideas about political rights, to coming up with health care reform. This essay contains some of the old traditional roles that the First Lady was required to do in the 18th century and how it changes over time. Also, it explains how each century First Lady goes about performing her duties.
Roles of the First Lady
The roles of the First Lady are really undetermined because it changes due to their interest and the timeframe that they were in. Traditional roles of the First lady
The duties of the First Lady vary from time to time. During the 18th century, the traditional roles of the First Lady were being a hostess for our country. White House.Gov states, “The President and the First Lady’s job responsibilities are to entertain both national and international guest that were arriving and staying at the White House (White House.gov).” It also goes on stating that the reason for hosting the event was to strengthen any existing ties, to stage for new relationships, to establish new partnerships, or just to extend the hospitality of the White House as the “ home “ of our nation leader and every First lady were responsible for writing every single invitation by hand (FirstLady.org). 18th Century First Ladies: Martha Washington and Abigail Adams
Martha Washington was a well-respected and very kind-hearted to all that knew her. However, Martha did not enjoy her roles as being the First Lady. According to the article, she stated“ I think I am more like a state prisoner than anything else, there is certain bounds set for me which I must not depart from any many younger and gayer women would be extremely pleased in her place; she would be much rather be at home (White House.Gov).” Just by reading the article on her, it gives me the idea that she was very private about her life with outsiders and she always held her head up. During her time she was called “Lady Washington.” She had gotten that name during the Revolutionary War era (America.gov). During the war era, Martha Washington was placed into a winter encampment that was the most comfortable to live in (Berkin, Carol). During the war, she and the other general wives served as hostess. The purpose was to lift everyone spirits and giving every solider a reason on what they were fighting for (Berkin, Carol.) After Martha had moved to the White House, she found out that she was also responsible for managing the presidential household and supervising the domestic affairs at Mount Vernon from a distance (MarthaWashington.us). However, her successor Abigail Adams was a very interesting woman of her time. People viewed her as a very patriot woman. Abigail’s letter talked about current politics and how she expressed her opinions. During the time of when the famous “shots heard around the world” started, Abigail was writing John letters to express her concern and her longing to be with him. According to Carol Berkin, ‘Soon I will be in continual arms. Rumors have spread that the British has spread. We know not what a day will bring forth, nor what distress one hour may throw us into (Berkin, Carol).” During her husband’s presidential, she would write letters that was expressing her ideas about women’s right. For example, one of her famous letters was when she wrote John telling him to remember the ladies when it came down to the new law (New World Encyclopedia). Basically, she was trying to gives the women more rights that they were entitled to but during the American Revolution that was proving to be was very impossible task. According to New World Encyclopedia, “Highly conscious of her role as the president's wife, Abigail Adams saw her role...