The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) is the title given to the wife of the President of the United States during the president’s term in office. Although the role of the first lady is not officially defined or structured, she often has a great impact on the social and political life of the nation. The first woman to use the title was Martha Washington, George Washington's wife. Melania Trump currently holds the title. The holder of the title has a significant role to play in the White House, as the role of the first lady has been evolving over time. Below is a synposis of some of the women who have served as first lady.
Functions of the First Lady of the United States
Since the inaugural of the first lady's position in 1789, the holders of the office have been known for their political and social influence. The women are known to be intelligent, ambitious, and liberated. They support the president in their personal lives and political careers. Some first ladies have even become political advisors to the president. The first lady is considered the hostess of the White House. This role has been considered the main primary function of the first lady since the beginning of office. She is regarded as a hostess mainly because she organizes and attends social and official ceremonies of the state. First ladies attract worldwide attention for their choice of style. For instance, Jacqueline Kennedy's style influenced many global manufacturers and young women.
Martha Dandridge was the wife of George Washington, who was the first president of the United States. She is considered the first First Lady of the United States even though it was after her death when the title fell into use. She was opposed to Washington’s presidency, but immediately hosted state affairs and performed her hostess duties after he took over as the first president. Martha died in 1802 when she was 70 years of age.
Abigail Smith was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States. She was the first lady from 1797 to 1801. Abigail performed her hostess duties by holding dinner weekly and was a source of entertainment in Philadelphia. She actively participated in politics and advised the president on most of the matters he undertook. Abigail was supportive through his administration which is evident in the numerous letters she wrote to him. Abigail died at the age of 73 years in 1818.
Dolley Payne was the wife of James Madison, the President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. Dolley was famous for her social elegance and hospitality that helped popularize her husband. She assisted in furnishing the White House which was the official residence of the president of the United States. She was the first lady to be given a seat at the Congress. Abigail was born in 1768 and died in 1849.
Julia Gardiner was the first lady of the United States from 1844 to 1845 and the wife to John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States. She became married to John Tyler after the death of his first wife Letitia Christian Tyler in 1842. Julia undertook her duties with energy. She hosted a great White House ball for 3,000 visitors on her last month as first lady. Julia was born in 1820 and died in 1889.
Despite the role lacking a specific designation, the first lady and her office play a significant role during a president’s reign. We’ve seen from the above analysis that besides being White House hostess, a first lady actively engages in politics as well as the nation’s social matters.