The Position of First Ladies As Wives of American Presidents and Their Roles in the 21st Century
(Postavenie prvých dám ako manželiek amerických prezidentov a ich úloha v 21. storočí)
Politické vedy, Volume 21, Number 2/2018, pages 101-115
Recommended form for quotation of the article / Odporúčaná forma citácie článku:
ŠTULAJTEROVÁ, A. 2018. The Position of First Ladies As Wives of American Presidents and Their Roles in the 21st Century. In Politické vedy. [online]. Vol. 21, No. 2, 2018. ISSN 1335 – 2741, pp. 101-115. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.24040/politickevedy.2018.21.2.101-115
The role of the first lady has been a phenomenon specific to the American political system, one which developed based on the customs, traditions and needs of American society. Due to the unique nature of the United States President’s Office, the position and roles of first ladies have gradually changed over the course of time. In addition to an outline of the etymology of the “first lady” title, the aim of the current study is to present the first lady’s responsibilities from diachronic and synchronic points of view. The diachronic view outlines her changing roles from the hostess in the White House to her gradual engagement in politics. The synchronic view presents her current roles, from participation in pre-election campaigns to individual activities she performs in various spheres of life. We used a comparative method to find out essential peculiarities of recent first ladies’ engagement in American political and social life. Our comparative analysis revealed that the scope of 21st-century first ladies’ activities has been mainly focused on healthcare, human rights, equal opportunities for women, support of children and education. The results provide some interesting insights into their accomplishments and their impact on US political life, aiding scholarly efforts to analyse and interpret this changing political role in the new millennium.
Key words: first lady, United States of America, president, Office of the First Lady, US Constitution, The White House