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THE MOST INFLUENTIAL FIRST LADIES OF THE UNITED STATES

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WHO ARE THEY? WHAT DID THEY DO?

When most people think about the roles of the government, they think of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the President, but one role that people often overlook is that of the First Lady in the White House. First Ladies are not just accessories to the President as some might think. At their best, they dedicate attention to their community and typically pick an issue that is important to them to focus their time and effort on. Undoubtedly all the First Ladies that the White House has seen throughout history have been incredibly strong women. However, some went above and beyond to show their dedication to their position.

Rosalynn Carter

Rosalynn Carter is just one of the many influential First Ladies of the White House. Wife to Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn served as the First Lady from 1977 to 1981. Rosalynn Carter went international with her policy ideas, traveling to Venezuela, Colombia, and Costa Rica to sit in on policy meetings about human rights issues, all while taking the position of the President’s representative during these meetings. Rosalynn Carter is credited as having played a big part in the passing of the National Cambodian Crisis Committee after learning about the nation’s refugee crisis.

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Another influential First Lady in the White House is Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt served as the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945 and focused on the European refugee crisis that took place when Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany. Roosevelt established the U.S. Committee for the Care of European Children in order to safely bring child refugees from Europe to the United States. Eleanor Roosevelt was extremely influential in her time as First Lady and helped protect many European children during Hitler’s reign.

Michelle Obama

Credit: Harpars Bazzar

Michelle Obama made history as the first Black woman to be the United States’ First Lady. Michelle, the wife of Barack Obama, served as First Lady from 2009 to 2017. While her most well-known project in the White House was advocating for children to eat healthier, Michelle also focused on a program that ensured girls worldwide stay in school. This program is called Let Girls Learn, which works with the State Department and the Peace Corp in order to get girls into schools, as well as make sure they stay in school and continue their education.

Carter, Roosevelt, and Obama are just three of the influential women who have served as the First Ladies of the White House. First Ladies, and now the Second Man, don’t just provide emotional support for their spouses while taking on the difficult role of the Presidency. They help communities in need, no matter how far or how close to home they are and serve as examples for people worldwide.