The First Lady: Home-Maker or Policy-Maker?

Howdy! My name is Ernesto Guerrero and I am a senior at the US Air Force Academy. I look forward to meeting y’all throughout the year. I’m sure the trips will be a lot of fun and I’m humbled to know that I’ll be discussing several important issues with some really smart people.

For my research topic I’d like to explore the role of the First Ladies as an extension of presidential power. I remember looking through a book about the presidents and reading about powerful First Ladies such as Mrs. Edith Wilson, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, and Mrs. Hilary Clinton. I then realized that for most of my life the First Ladies have taken a reserved role. In fact, Mrs. Bush seems to be nothing more than a glorified school teacher and Mrs. Obama is just a lady with really toned arms. Why have some First Ladies played such an influential role while others have refrained from US policy-making? In other words, I plan to explore two central and related questions: under what conditions do First Ladies become policy makers and to what extent do they act as extensions of presidential power?

I’m really excited to research these questions, but I am a bit concerned because there hasn’t been extensive research conducted on this topic. Most First Lady scholarship has been relegated to biographies and children’s books. I plan to use this information, along with other materials, to produce an explanatory and predictive research paper that explores the role of the First Ladies as extensions of presidential power.

To add to these concerns, I haven’t had much prior experience with this subject. However, that is why I chose it. I didn’t want to write a research paper about something that I had a basic understanding of; instead I wanted to research something that I was interested in and didn’t have much knowledge about. If anyone reading this has any prior experience with this subject, I would be very grateful if you could provide me with any information that you think would make my research meaningful.

Ultimately, I’m excited to see what I’ll find out. One of my teachers might be able to put me in contact with Mrs. Bush’s personal aide from the time her husband was president. This should give me an interesting perspective into the role of the First Lady. I look forward to meeting y’all and discussing our topics. 

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2 Responses to The First Lady: Home-Maker or Policy-Maker?

  1. What a fascinating and original topic, Ernesto. Can’t wait to hear more!

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