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Being America’s First Lady is the title given to the President’s wife, who typically will hang back in the shadows and handle some social functions, events and charitable work. And all that important and noble work goes to her elected husband. But some wives of this country’s leaders have risen far above the ranks of a simple partner to that of great influence among the American public. Will we see it again? Here are five of the most influential First Ladies in American history.
1, Jacqueline Kennedy served as this country’s First Lady from 1961 to November of 1963, when her husband John was assassinated. In February of 1962, she gave America a great tour of the White House through a broadcast on CBS. The viewing public was not small, as 56 million Americans tuned in. The film was also distributed to 106 other countries. This tour broadcast won the First Lady an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Trustees. She is the only First Lady to win one. The First Lady was sitting next to her husband when he was shot to death in Dallas, Texas. After her husband was killed Jacqueline stood next to Lyndon B. Johnson as he took the oath of office, which was a very memorial scene for millions of Americans.
2. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin, changed the views of many on the role of the First Lady. And she used the media to her advantage, holding nearly 350 press conferences over her husband’s 12-year presidency. At one time, she placed a ban on male reporters attending her press conferences to force media outlets to allow more women to cover them. First Lady Eleanor did much to help women further their careers in journalism, allowing them the opportunity to cover more than food, fashion and afternoon teas. And she worked with others as well as the press. In 1933, a protest group of World War I veterans marched on Washington calling an early award of their veteran bonus certificates. Lady Eleanor visited those same protesters at their campsite, listening to their concerns and singing songs with them.
3. Edith Wilson, wife of Woodrow, did something that possibly most Americans don’t even know about. A stroke suffered by the president in October of 1913 left him paralyzed on his left side and blinded his left eye. He was bedridden for the next two months. During that time, Lady Edith took over an enormous amount of the president’s responsibilities, including very delicate matters of state. When the president resumed his life in a wheelchair, his wife still continued to help him. Soon, it was obvious his mental health was declining significantly. At this point, Lady Edith was put into the unofficial role as “acting president,” and took over additional duties formerly held by her ailing husband. In a way, Lady Edith could possibly be considered this nation’s first female president, at least for a period of time.
4. Lou Hoover, wife of Herbert, was the first First Lady to make regular nationwide radio broadcasts, and spoke numerous times advocating volunteerism and the work of the Girl Scouts. She was not at all afraid of getting her hands dirty, even delivering tea and other supplies to troops in China by bicycle. While in China, Lady Lou’s life was very much put at risk. One day while playing solitaire in a room, a shell burst into the house and blew up a staircase near the room. When others in the house ran to check on her safety, she was sitting calmly at a table and asked if they would like some tea. A Peking newspaper reported she had died from the incident and ran her obituary. She told others she was thrilled that the editors devoted three columns to her life. “I was never so proud in my life,” she said.
5. Abigail Fillmore, wife of Millard, was responsible for what has become the famous White House Library. You would think that would have been an easy thing to get done, but it wasn’t. Previous to Lady Abigail, Congress felt strongly that no library should be placed in the White House because it would make the president “too powerful.” Hmmmm…. We wouldn’t want a powerful president, now would we? Finally, Congress relented when the president appropriated $2,000 for the creation of a White House library. Lady Abigail spent months selecting hundreds of volumes to fill its shelves. And the room became a cozy place for small musical gatherings and heated political discussions.
That’s all for today. So, speaking of presidents, who do you think won the recent presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Let us know in the comments section below. Don’t forget to like us and be sure to subscribe for more stories like this. Get addicted to the good stuff.