How Powerful Is The First Lady?

Following Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, some were moved to tears, others pushed her to run for President, and even Republicans were bowled over by its quality As the First Lady, Michelle Obama has been called an inspiration for her work fighting obesity, and supporting education opportunities for disadvantaged girls

But what ARE the First Lady’s actual duties, and just how powerful and important is the position? Well, despite the level of reverence given to the First Lady of the United States, it’s actually not a “real thing” There’s no official position in government for the spouse of a President, no official duties, and obviously, no salary The closest thing to actual duties is that the First Lady is expected to act as a host to the White House, and organize events and ceremonies Of course, most of the time, this role actually falls on the Office of the First Lady of the United States, which is made up of official and paid positions More realistically, the role of First Lady has significantly changed over time, becoming more and more important to the President’s administration

Early on, during the time of Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, First Ladies were primarily elite public figures at the side of their husbands Although they had little to no political influence, their presence did embolden other women Even still, the fourth First Lady, Dolley Madison, pioneered the practice of championing social causes, a role which continues today She helped orphan children, supported women’s rights, and held her own political opinions, which she publicly voiced Around the 1930s, with the arrival of Eleanor Roosevelt, the role of First Lady was dramatically expanded

Like Madison, Roosevelt was outspoken, and contributed to a newspaper column, sometimes openly disagreeing with her husband She promoted more women in the workplace, civil rights, and also helped displaced World War Two refugees But Roosevelt was also among the first of First Ladies to stay involved in politics after her husband’s time in office She even headed the UN Commission on Human Rights Incredibly, although a former First Lady may soon be running the country, in the early 1900s, an active First Lady already assumed that role! When President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, his wife, Edith Wilson, took over a number of important duties that the President would have been in charge of, and for roughly a year and a half she effectively ran the executive branch herself

And outside of politics, the role of First Lady has grown as a social position Ever since Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hat swept the nation, the First Lady has become a cultural icon for women everywhere Some of the more prominent First Ladies since Kennedy, including Michelle Obama, are looked to not just as role models, but also as fashion plates Many have described the importance of looking elegant but fashionable, and the First Lady’s threads are endlessly ripe for criticism and compliments alike One of the two current presidential nominees, Hillary Clinton, served as First Lady, after which time she entered the Senate, became Secretary of State, and now might be the first female President ever

If that happens, former President Bill Clinton will be the first ever First Gentleman of the United States, so ultimately he’ll be the one tasked with throwing White House parties They’ll probably be ragers The female vote has been a big topic of conversation this election season especially with Hillary Clinton leading the Democratic Party We sat down with female creators to find out if having a female candidates impacts their view of this year’s race

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