First Ladies For Dummies

Standards Information Network (Verlag)
  • 1. Auflage
  • |
  • erschienen am 1. November 2021
  • |
  • 336 Seiten
E-Book | ePUB mit Adobe-DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-1-119-82221-9 (ISBN)
It's time for the ladies-the First Ladies, that is-to get their time in the spotlight

What does a First Lady do? What makes a First Lady successful? If you've always wanted to know, this is the place to come to for the answers! This reference has the inside scoop on all the First Ladies, including Michelle Obama's campaigns for healthy eating and Jackie Kennedy's emphasis on art and culture. In First Ladies For Dummies, you'll find out how these women's values, initiatives, and style have influenced all our lives, and how they've become true role models for generations.

With the detailed biographies and personal profiles in First Ladies For Dummies, you'll gain a well-rounded knowledge of the United States' 47 First Ladies. From Martha to Melania, from Jackie to Dr. Jill, and everyone in between, every First Lady has left her stamp on the White House, in the Rose Garden, and in history, and this book covers it all. It includes:

An historical context for a deeper understanding of the world these First Ladies lived in
Accounts of their childhoods and early lives to learn who these women were before they stepped foot in the White House
Each First Lady's interests and achievements

Whether you're a history fanatic or just curious about these highly accomplished women, you'll find lots of fun facts about them in First Ladies For Dummies. Pick up your copy to be in the know!
1. Auflage
  • Englisch
  • USA
John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Für Beruf und Forschung
  • Reflowable
  • 21,95 MB
978-1-119-82221-9 (9781119822219)

weitere Ausgaben werden ermittelt
Marcus Stadelmann, PhD, is a Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Political Science and History at the University of Texas at Tyler. Along with teaching at universities in California, Utah, and Texas, Dr. Stadelmann is the author or co-author of eight books in his discipline, including U.S. Presidents For Dummies. His favorite First Lady is Dolley Madison.
Introduction 1

About This Book 2

Conventions Used in This Book 2

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 3

Where to Go from Here 3

Part 1: Understanding First Ladies 5

Chapter 1: The Changing Role of First Ladies in the United States 7

First Ladies in U.S History 8

Defining a First Lady 8

Powers of the First Lady 10

The Evolution of the Position of First Lady 12

Phase I (1789-1829) 12

Phase II (1829-1869) 13

Phase III (1869-1933) 13

Phase IV (1933-Present) 14

Chapter 2: First Lady Rankings and Evaluations 17

Evaluating the First Ladies 18

Ranking U.S First Ladies 19

The Siena Research Institute Survey 20

Discussing ten evaluation criteria 22

Part 2: Setting the Precedent 25

Chapter 3: Becoming the First First Lady 27

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802) 28

Joining Forces with George, the Love of Her Life 29

Taking an active role 29

Becoming a war hero 29

Going First: From Lady Washington to First Lady 30

Learning her way 32

Starting traditions 32

Taking sides 33

Hosting the World in Retirement 33

Chapter 4: Setting Precedents 37

Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818) 37

Becoming a revolutionary 39

Living life abroad 39

Becoming First Lady 40

Turning into Mrs President 40

Moving to and hating Washington, D.C 42

Living out her life 42

Becoming famous after her death 43

Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson (1748-1782) 43

Dying too soon 45

Becoming First Lady after her death 45

Dolley Payne Todd Madison (1768-1849) 46

Moving forward with charm and popularity 47

Blazing the trail for future First Ladies 49

Saving a painting 49

Becoming the first lady named First Lady 51

Chapter 5: Continuing to Set an Example 53

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe (1768-1830) 54

Going abroad and saving an American hero's wife 55

Embracing European life 56

Going home and being miserable 57

Louisa Johnson Adams (1775-1852) 58

Living an adventure 60

Becoming First Lady 61

Seeking the election of 1824 62

Going back to Washington, D.C 63

Rachel Donelson Jackson (1767-1828) 63

Meeting Jackson 65

Almost becoming First Lady 66

Part 3: Leading Up to a Civil War 69

Chapter 6: Calling in a First Lady Substitute 71

Hannah Hoes Van Buren (1783-1819) 72

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison (1775-1864) 74

Letitia Christian Tyler (1790-1842) 76

Being the wife of an absent politician 77

Allowing Priscilla Tyler to step in 78

Julia Gardiner Tyler (1820-1889) 79

Becoming the youngest First Lady, briefly 80

Going home to Virginia 81

Dying a Confederate 81

Chapter 7: Acting Like a President 83

Sarah Childress Polk (1803-1891) 83

Becoming a Politician-Er, Wife of One 84

Getting into politics 85

Becoming a "working" First Lady 86

Helping make policy 88

Going into Retirement Alone 90

Chapter 8: To Be or Not to Be First Lady 93

Margaret Smith Taylor (1788-1852) 93

Having a family and traveling America 94

Preferring to remain private 95

Abigail Powers Fillmore (1798-1853) 96

Tutoring the (future) president 97

Becoming First Lady by default 97

Jane Means Appleton Pierce (1806-1863) 98

Living not so happily ever after 99

Retiring, or not 100

Refusing to be a First Lady 101

Harriet Lane (1830-1903) 102

Growing up in politics 103

Becoming a single First Lady 103

Living her own life 105

Chapter 9: Living a Life of Tragedy 107

Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882) 107

Moving away from home 108

Meeting Lincoln 109

Making a president 110

Failing as First Lady 110

Spending like crazy 111

Changing moods 112

Enduring tragedy 113

Going On After Abraham's Assassination 114

Part 4: The Civil War, Reconstruction, and Becoming A World Power 117

Chapter 10: Reconstructing a Country 119

Eliza McCardle Johnson (1810-1876) 120

Meeting and helping her husband 120

Staying in Tennessee as Johnson's career grows 121

Becoming a recluse in the White House 122

Being revered for being frugal 123

Avoiding impeachment 123

Remaining together to the end 124

Julia Dent Grant (1826-1902) 125

Being at odds with family on slavery 125

Finding their way back to the battlefield 126

Loving the White House 127

Redirecting retirement through writing 128

Lucy Ware Webb Hayes (1831-1889) 129

Getting involved in civic causes 130

Riding the bumpy road to the White House 131

Improving lives as First Lady 131

Abstaining from alcohol 133

Enjoying new technology 133

Showing compassion 133

Lucretia Rudolph Garfield (1832-1918) 134

Staking independence 134

Making changes for each other 135

Serving less than a year as First Lady 136

Chapter 11: Getting Close to the 20th Century 139

Ellen Herndon Arthur (1837-1880) 140

Pushing her husband's political career 140

Missing out on being First Lady 141

Frances Folsom Cleveland (1864-1947) 142

Growing up with Uncle Clev 143

Turning the tides to husband 143

Being the youngest First Lady ever 144

Staging a comeback 146

Getting remarried and caring about education 147

Caroline Scott Harrison (1832-1892) 148

Living life in Indiana 149

Making improvements as First Lady 149

Dying in the White House 151

Ida Saxton McKinley (1847-1907) 151

Excelling in a man's world 152

Living with tragedy 153

Having a devoted husband 153

Remaining a strong First Lady 154

Chapter 12: Becoming a World Power 157

Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt (1861-1948) 158

Building a life with Teddy 159

Taking control as First Lady 159

Updating the White House 161

Enjoying a long, active life after retirement 161

Helen Herron Taft (1861-1943) 162

Being a free thinker 163

Becoming the First Lady of the Philippines 164

Moving to Washington 164

Finally becoming First Lady 166

Ellen Louise Axson Wilson (1860-1914) 168

Becoming an artist and practicing for First Lady 169

Being adept at First Lady 170

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson (1872-1961) 171

Meeting the President 172

Running the country 173

Thriving as Mrs Wilson 174

Chapter 13: Changing the Roles of Women 175

Florence Kling Harding (1860-1924) 176

Dealing with affairs 177

Getting into politics 178

Succeeding as First Lady 179

Dying during their first term 180

Grace Goodhue Coolidge (1879-1957) 181

Being a politician's wife 183

Experiencing tragedy 183

Working as a hostess and an advocate 184

Retiring and living a long life 185

Louise Henry Hoover (1874-1944) 186

Carrying a pistol 187

Traveling the world and becoming wealthy 188

Getting into politics 188

Being charitable 189

Dealing with staff 190

Retiring in style 191

Part 5: Modern First Ladies 193

Chapter 14: First Lady of the World 195

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) 196

Marrying a Roosevelt and Living with a Dominant Mother-in-Law 197

Moving in Social Circles 198

Getting Active in Politics in the 1920s 198

Becoming First Lady of New York 200

Being an Activist First Lady 201

Advocating for women's rights 202

Advocating for civil rights 202

Working the media 203

Supporting the troops 204

The Story Isn't Over: Moving on After the White House 205

Chapter 15: Three Cold War First Ladies 207

Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman (1885-1982) 208

Finding early romance 209

Getting into politics 209

Being a strong First Lady behind the scenes 210

Retiring to Independence 211

Mamie Doud Eisenhower (1896-1979) 212

Being a military wife 213

Appealing to the average American 214

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy (1929-1994) 215

Joining forces with JFK 217

Becoming a First Lady everyone admired 218

Living through an assassination 220

Marrying a billionaire 221

Chapter 16: Becoming Politically Active 223

Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson (1912-2007) 224

Marrying Johnson and moving to D.C. 225

Getting familiar with politics 226

Helping a presidential campaign 227

Advocating for her husband and her causes 227

Going back to Texas 229

Thelma Catherine Ryan Nixon (1912-1993) 230

Building a life with Nixon 232

Becoming Second Lady 233

Being active and popular 234

Being left out 235

Retiring disgraced 235

Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Ford (1918-2011) 236

Perfecting her stage presence 236

Marrying a man like her father 237

Talking to the American people 238

Retiring early and doing more good 240

Chapter 17: Ending a Cold War 241

Eleanor Rosalynn Smith Carter (1927-) 242

Relishing travel but returning home 243

Changing gears to politics 243

Running for president 244

Loving it as First Lady 244

Being active in retirement 246

Nancy Davis Reagan (1921-2016) 246

Catching the acting bug 247

Meeting Ronald Reagan 248

Taking on the governorship 248

Becoming First Lady 249

Facing health issues 252

Barbara Pierce Bush (1925-2018) 253

Making family priority #1 254

Becoming Second and then First Lady 255

Creating a legacy 257

Chapter 18: Almost Becoming President 259

Hillary Rodham Clinton (1947-) 260

Meeting Bill Clinton 261

Starting a career and getting into politics 262

Moving up to First Lady 263

Becoming co-president 264

Owning her own political career 266

Running for president - Part I 267

Serving as secretary of state 267

Running for president - Part II 268

Losing in 2016 and moving on 269

Chapter 19: Using the Power of the Position 271

Laura Welch Bush (1946-) 272

Meeting and marrying George 273

Moving to Washington, D.C. 274

Championing the First Lady role 274

Retiring but staying active 276

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (1964-) 277

Meeting of the minds 278

Balancing politics and family life 279

Serving as mom-in-chief 281

Enjoying retirement 283

Chapter 20: The Model and the Educator 285

Melania Knauss Trump (1970-) 286

Choosing modeling and Donald Trump 287

Becoming an American citizen 288

Taking a backseat to politics 288

Being a quiet and private First Lady 289

Retiring with controversy 290

Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden (1951-) 290

Marrying a politician and continuing her education 292

Working double-duty 293

Serving the community (colleges) and the military 293

Leaving D.C and returning as First Lady 294

Part 6: The Part of Tens 295

Chapter 21: The Ten Most Influential First Ladies 297

Eleanor Roosevelt 298

Abigail Adams 298

Dolley Madison 299

Hillary Clinton 299

Betty Ford 300

Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson 300

Sarah Polk 301

Rosalynn Carter 301

Harriet Lane 302

Michelle Obama 303

Chapter 22: The Ten Least-Known Facts about U.S First Ladies 305

Dolley Madison: Dining and Dashing 305

Julia Grant: Using Foresight 306

Caroline Harrison: Leaving the Light On 306

Edith Roosevelt: Playing I Spy 307

Edith Wilson: Wielding a Famous Relative 307

Lou Hoover: Dodging Bullets 307

Mamie Eisenhower: Working from Bed 308

Jacqueline Kennedy: Upsetting the Public 308

Lady Bird Johnson: Not Letting Anything Stop Her 309

Barbara Bush: Taking Chances 309

Index 311

Chapter 1

The Changing Role of First Ladies in the United States


Setting the foundation

Being graceful hostesses

Refusing the job

Starting to matter

Becoming copresidents

The story of the First Ladies of the United States is one of drama, personal struggle, and both great successes and failures. It's a story of ambition, joy, disappointment, and most often a total loss of privacy. In the early years of the republic, becoming First Lady imposed considerable dangers, both social and economic, on First Ladies and their families. The White House was open to just about everyone, and it had no security yet.

Today, First Ladies have professional roles and often aid in policy development. They work together with Congress and have become active policy makers. However, every First Lady decides how active they'll be. Hillary Clinton was one of the most active First Ladies in recent history, while Melania Trump was less active and played the role of a more traditional First Lady (see Chapter 20 for more). A First Lady's temperament, family situation, character, and even relationship with the president determines all of that. First Ladies with big political ambitions can use their office as a stepping stone to future offices. Eleanor Roosevelt did so with working for the United Nations after leaving her role as First Lady in 1945 (see Chapter 14), and Hillary Clinton ran and won a U.S. Senate seat after serving two terms as First Lady (see Chapter 18).

The role of First Lady has seen significant changes over the years. Women have made progress in society and are found at the highest levels of government, including now the vice presidency. Women today serve in Congress, even becoming the Speaker of the House of Representatives; they are members of the Supreme Court; and they govern states. It's only a question of time before a woman will become president and the U.S. will have its first "First Gentleman."

First Ladies in U.S. History

Why become a First Lady? Most of the time, First Ladies had no choice. They were married to someone who just became president. In some instances, they had actually pushed their husbands into politics. Great examples include Sarah Polk and Helen Taft (see Chapters 7 and 12). They loved the game of politics and enjoyed the prestige of being First Lady. In fact, Julia Grant was so upset that her husband refused to run for a third term that she was in tears when she had to leave the White House (Chapter 10). More recently, First Ladies wanted to impact social and economic reforms and change the country and its people. Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush, and Hillary Clinton are examples of socially conscious First Ladies who wanted to bring about change (see Chapters 14, 17, and 18 for more on their stories).

Defining a First Lady

Most of the 47 First Ladies in this book are famous because of the men they married. However, most First Ladies also impacted their husband's lives and directly and indirectly made significant contributions to U.S. history. From Martha Washington (Chapter 3) traveling with the Continental Army and improving soldiers' morale to Mary Todd Lincoln (Chapter 9) encouraging her husband to run for political office, in turn saving the Union, to Helen Taft (Chapter 12) pushing her husband to become president, American history wouldn't have been the same without the country's First Ladies.

Until recently, it was believed that First Ladies mattered and held their jobs only because their husbands had become president. That is true by definition but doesn't explain the whole story. Many claim that First Ladies owe their space in history to the men they married and that they didn't contribute much to the history and evolution of the United States. For them, First Ladies were basically footnotes in history. This is clearly wrong.


Early on, the positions of President and First Lady imposed financial hardships. Presidents and First Ladies had to use their own resources to furnish the White House and to host dinners and parties. The amount of money Congress appropriated for these functions wasn't enough, and to top it off, the job of president wasn't compensated well, and the First Lady received no compensation at all. And, of course, after retirement, neither the president nor First Lady received a pension. This would not change until pensions for ex-presidents were approved in the 1950s, and presidents started receiving a comfortable salary beginning in 1969, when President Nixon received salary of $200,000.

Therefore, the job of First Lady involved personal sacrifices, and often a price, usually economic or even health-wise, had to be paid. Unlike today, when presidents and their wives make millions after they retire, usually by writing their memoirs and/or giving speeches, back then, being president could bankrupt a family. Early presidents and First Ladies left the White House often poorer than when they entered it. Dolley Madison, for example, was broke at the end of her life, and people left money in her house whenever she invited them over.

Not surprisingly, many First Ladies were quite upset when they found out their husbands had won the presidential elections and didn't celebrate but withdrew from the functions expected of a First Lady. Instead, they had their daughters or nieces take their place. Other First Ladies, like Sarah Polk, became penny pinchers and tried to run the White House the cheapest way possible.

Studies show that many First Ladies mattered more than people thought. They helped out with finances, managing family farms, teaching school, or working after getting married so that their husband could enter politics. In addition, most First Ladies came from social and economic backgrounds superior to the men they married. Without their contributions, their husbands couldn't have become presidents. Many First Ladies were even familiar with politics and had early exposure to politics through a father, a grandfather, or an uncle. Helen Taft, for example, decided to pursue a career in politics through her husband. Her father and grandfather had served in Congress, and she enjoyed the campaign for political office. This allowed her to give advice and help advance her husband's political career. Without her, there would have been no President Taft. (See Chapter 12 for her full story.)

It took quite some time to discover how important First Ladies actually were in the history of the U.S. The reason is that most early First Ladies, such as Martha Washington, didn't leave a lot of information for historians to study. Many burned all their correspondence with their husbands and friends that contained much information. The few who didn't, like Abigail Adams, left historians with a plethora of information and provided a picture of the time they lived in and information on their job as First Lady and how they contributed to their husband's career and successes.

This started to change, however, after the Civil War. First Ladies started leaving more information to be studied. In fact, Julia Grant, Helen Taft, and Edith Wilson all wrote their memoirs, giving us a lot of information on the role of First Lady and the gradual changes the office undertook.

Most First Ladies accomplished great things, often before becoming First Lady. Here are some examples:

  • Elizabeth Monroe single-handedly saved the wife of the American war hero the Marquis de Lafayette in Paris during the French Revolution. See Chapter 5.
  • Louisa Adams traveled by herself with a young child during the wintertime from Russia to France during the Napoleonic wars. See Chapter 5.
  • Lou Hoover, who was in China during the Boxer Rebellion, carried a gun and got involved in shoot-outs. See Chapter 13.

Powers of the First Lady

The position of First Lady isn't mentioned in the Constitution. However, the position soon became attached to the presidency and received some informal powers.

The position of First Lady has been defined by culture and not the Constitution. There's no job description and no laws regulating First Lady behavior. However, changing American culture has put both limitations and opportunities on the role of First Lady. Cleary, back in the 19th century, an active First Lady campaigning for her husband and trying to impact policy making publicly wouldn't have been tolerated. Today, the American public expects First Ladies to be educated, to campaign for their husbands, and to even run for office themselves.

For this reason, the position of First Lady has considerable power today, and the First Lady has become one of the most powerful persons in Washington, D.C. From Betty Ford (see Chapter 16) who encouraged her husband to pardon President Nixon to Hillary Clinton who was put in charge of reforming healthcare in the United States, First Ladies have shown that they matter and can impact policy making.

Assuming head of state roles

The Constitution provides a president with two jobs. First, there's the head of state position; and second, there's the head of government position. The first is ceremonial and doesn't matter that much; therefore, presidents have given ceremonial powers to...

Dateiformat: ePUB
Kopierschutz: Adobe-DRM (Digital Rights Management)


Computer (Windows; MacOS X; Linux): Installieren Sie bereits vor dem Download die kostenlose Software Adobe Digital Editions (siehe E-Book Hilfe).

Tablet/Smartphone (Android; iOS): Installieren Sie bereits vor dem Download die kostenlose App Adobe Digital Editions (siehe E-Book Hilfe).

E-Book-Reader: Bookeen, Kobo, Pocketbook, Sony, Tolino u.v.a.m. (nicht Kindle)

Das Dateiformat ePUB ist sehr gut für Romane und Sachbücher geeignet - also für "fließenden" Text ohne komplexes Layout. Bei E-Readern oder Smartphones passt sich der Zeilen- und Seitenumbruch automatisch den kleinen Displays an. Mit Adobe-DRM wird hier ein "harter" Kopierschutz verwendet. Wenn die notwendigen Voraussetzungen nicht vorliegen, können Sie das E-Book leider nicht öffnen. Daher müssen Sie bereits vor dem Download Ihre Lese-Hardware vorbereiten.

Bitte beachten Sie bei der Verwendung der Lese-Software Adobe Digital Editions: wir empfehlen Ihnen unbedingt nach Installation der Lese-Software diese mit Ihrer persönlichen Adobe-ID zu autorisieren!

Weitere Informationen finden Sie in unserer E-Book Hilfe.

Download (sofort verfügbar)

17,99 €
inkl. 7% MwSt.
Download / Einzel-Lizenz
ePUB mit Adobe-DRM
siehe Systemvoraussetzungen
E-Book bestellen