The Role of the First Lady

Topics: First Lady of the United States, First Ladies of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt Pages: 1 (357 words) Published: March 9, 2006
The American people have made the role of the First Lady one of the most important jobs in the country. It happened because each First Lady from Martha Washington onward contributed to her husband's historical reputation. It is a tribute to American women that, coming from different social and economic backgrounds, from many different geographical regions, and with diverse education preparation, each First Lady served our country so well. Each left her own mark, and each tells us something special about our history. As we learn about them, we begin to see that these women usually reflect the time in which they lived, so much so that a look at their lives becomes a panorama of women's history in America. Managing the social life at the White House and the personal welfare of the President and their families, the First Ladies set a standard for the women of their day. In addition, they brought their own interests to the same wide audience. From the relative obscurity of the earliest First Ladies, a few shine like stars. We see Abigail Adams passionate love for John Adams, in her patriotism, and in her political and social beliefs. Dolley Madison dazzles Washington with her social skills and also proves to be an especially astute politician who aids her husband's presidential activities. Sarah Polk also assists her husband's political career. Acting as the President's private secretary, she enjoys more politics than entertaining. The period beginning with the Civil War brought First Ladies who saw in their role an opportunity for service to the less fortunate. Mary Todd Lincoln spent hours visiting with wounded Civil War soliders. Lucy Webb Hayes deeply touched the nation with her compassion for the poor and less privileged. Edith Roosevelt sewed for the needy. With the 20th century, the role of the First Lady included women with professional careers. Ellen Wilson was an accomplished artist; Grace Coolidge taught the deaf; and Lou Henry Hoover was a geologist....
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