*Includes pictures of the First Ladies and important people, places, and events in their lives.
*Includes Bibliographies for further reading. *Includes a Table of Contents American presidents have shaped the course of global affairs for generations, but as the saying goes, behind every great man there’s a great woman. While the First Ladies often remain overshadowed by their husbands, some have carved unique niches in their time and left their own lasting legacy. Abigail Adams served as a political advisor that earned her the moniker "Mrs. President", while Dolley Madison helped establish the role of the First Lady in the early 1800s, Eleanor Roosevelt gave voice to policy issues in a way that made her a forerunner of First Ladies like Hillary Clinton, and Jackie Kennedy created glamorous trends that made her more popular than her husband. Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton may have been the most politically active First Ladies in American history, but Abigail Adams was the first to act as political advisor for her husband and the first to be dubbed “Mrs. President”. Indeed, Abigail was politically inclined to degree highly unusual among women of the 18th and 19th century, and she had originally impressed her future husband John because she was so well versed in poetry, philosophy and politics. After the Constitution was ratified, George Washington went about setting all the precedents for the role of the presidency, establishing traditions like the Cabinet. But the role of being the First Lady of the United States was defined by the wife of the 4th president. James Madison may have been the Father of the Constitution, but his wife Dolley all but defined the responsibilities and customs of being the president’s wife. It’s possible that the world would have remembered Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882) if only because she was the wife of one of America’s greatest presidents and present for his shocking assassination, but Mary was one of the most unique women to ever be First Lady, and she was in the White House during the country’s most trying time. If Dolley Madison was instrumental in molding the role of First Lady in the 19th century, credit can be given to Eleanor Roosevelt for revolutionizing the political nature of the role in the 20th and 21st centuries and making it possible for presidents like Bill Clinton to enlist their wives to handle political duties. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy made it seem like anything was possible, and Americans were eager to believe him. The next three years would be fondly and famously labeled “Camelot,” suggesting an almost mythical quality about the young President and his family. The famous label came from John’s fashionable and beautiful wife, Jackie, whose elegance and grace made her the most popular woman in the world. Her popularity threatened to eclipse even her husband’s, who famously quipped on one presidential trip to France that he was “the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.” During the presidential campaign in 1992, Democratic challenger Bill Clinton announced that by voting for him, Americans would get two presidents “for the price of one.” The reference to his wife Hillary signified that she would be no ordinary First Lady, and indeed she was employed frequently by her husband in the White House to try to push legislation through Congress. Of course, describing Hillary Clinton as just a First Lady belittles all of her accomplishments. Today she is the most powerful woman in the world and one of the most recognizable. America's Greatest First Ladies looks at the lives and legacies of all 6 of these influential and important First Ladies, while also examining the relationships each had with their husband. With pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about America's Greatest First Ladies like you never have before.