"Remember the Ladies": First Ladies and Power-Sharing in the Executive Mansion

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in the 1840s: "to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of [the American ] people ought mainly to be attributed, I ... reply --to the superiority of their women." In this course we study the wives of Presidents and their widely varying roles as confidantes, advisors, advocates, hostesses, and at times the powers behind the presidential throne. Nothing in the Constitution refers to First Ladies, yet they have wielded tremendous influence on the affairs of the United States. The President’s spouse is potentially the second most powerful person in government but is beyond accountability. Our examination of the First Ladies - and their husbands - will provide insights into the political, social and economic issues of their times. In a profound sense, the study of First Ladies and the men they married reflects the course of our nation’s history.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • An understanding of the political and cultural influence of first ladies over time
  • Knowledge of the experiences and relationship dynamics of some famous former occupants of the White House

Ideal for

  • Those with an interest in American history, culture, and politics
  • All members of the community--working, retired, or in between
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.