Presentation Title: An Analysis of the Independent Power of First Ladies in Modern American Politics

Section: Through the Female Eye: Power, Perspective and Procreation III

Location: , 104

Date & Time: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 1:50pm - 2:05pm


We all know Michelle Obama as America’s ever-popular “mom-in-chief” – the woman who encourages us to get active in her quest to end childhood obesity through her Let’s Move! initiative. The First Lady of the United States has always been a public figure, but how powerful is she exactly? Previous analyses of American First Ladies tell us much about their femininity, but very little about their politics. This presentation aims to add to the scholarly work on first ladies by assessing if, and how much, first ladies are able to wield power independent of the presidency through the execution of their “pet projects.” Through qualitative case study analysis of the first ladies from Lady Bird Johnson to Michelle Obama, I propose a framework for measuring that power by examining factors such as issue choice, relationships with the public, the press, the President, and Congress, and touching on issues of gender roles and accountability. 

Type of Presentation: Individual oral

Oral presenters
Presentation Area: Political Science

Presentation Topic: Power

Arts presenters

Class Project
Course name: 
Course Instructor: 
Number of presenters: 

Presenter Information
Presenter(s): Esten, Anna Elizabeth
Major(s): Political Science
Class Year(s): 2013

Sponsor(s): Dickinson, Matt (Political Science)
Dept(s): Political Science

Moderator: ,