The First Lady of the United States: A Traditional Role in the Modern Era
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Although first ladies themselves have long been a topic of interest for historians, analysis of the role of the first lady is a fairly new topic for scholars. This study focuses specifically on first ladies as issue advocates, and looks at how and why first ladies’ issue advocacy has developed since female suffrage. I posit that first ladies’ issue advocacy developed linearly from traditional to modern over time. I created a model to define traditional and modern advocacy based on the topic of issue and the method through which the first ladies championed their cause. Based on historical analysis of biographies, autobiographies, newspaper articles and other relevant analyses of first ladies, each woman was given a classification in the model. Results show that first ladies’ issue advocacy did not in fact progress linearly from traditional to modern over time. Rather, it followed a periodic pattern that suggests that times of women’s advancement allowed for modern advocacy.
DepartmentPublic Policy Studies
CitationColton, Jennifer (2017). The First Lady of the United States: A Traditional Role in the Modern Era. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10161/14026.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers