Presidential Frontiers: Underexplored Issues in White House Politics

By Ryan J. Barilleaux | Go to book overview

Chapter 11
First Partner: First Ladies and Their Roles

PAMELA J. VAN ZWALUWENBURG

We don't fit easily into a lot of our preexisting categories. . . . And I think that, having been independent, having made decisions, it's a little difficult for us as a country, maybe, to make the transition of having a woman like many of the women in this room. . . . So I think the standards and to some extent the expectations and the demands have changed, and I'm trying to find my way through it and trying to figure out how best to be true to myself and how to fulfill my responsibilities to my husband and my daughter and the country.

Hillary Clinton (Duffy 1994)

These words from Hillary Clinton highlight the difficulties inherent in the role of First Lady and in attempts to study these women in a systematic way. This study is directed toward the intersection of the existing literature on First Ladies (mainly historical biographies) and the theories found in scholarship on women in politics that seek to explain the various levels of women's political participation. There are several questions that drive this study: What are the roles of the First Lady? How and to what extent does a First Lady influence politics and policy? Why are some First Ladies more public or political than others? What life-space variables affect role performance? How can we draw together existing research and theories into a more systematic study of description and explanation? Why should political scientists and, in particular, presidential scholars be interested in First Ladies?

Although there has recently been an increase in expeditions, certain territories of the scholarly frontier of First Ladies remain relatively unexplored. The goals of this chapter are to explore both the charted and uncharted areas, describe the

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Presidential Frontiers: Underexplored Issues in White House Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I - The First Frontier: The Nature of the Office 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Normative Study of the Presidency 3
  • Notes 17
  • Chapter 2 - The President as Representative 23
  • Notes 34
  • References 35
  • Chapter 3 Washington And/Or Versailles: the White House as a Court Society 37
  • References 51
  • Chapter 4 - Electing Presidents and Other Potentates 53
  • Part II - New Insights on Power and Policy 77
  • Chapter 5 - The Overlooked Relevance of the Pardon Power 79
  • References 96
  • Chapter 6 - The Presidency and Social Policy 99
  • References 114
  • Chapter 7 - The Other Side of War: Presidential Peace Powers 119
  • References 133
  • Chapter 8 - The President and Federal Reserve Nominations 135
  • References 146
  • Part III - New Political and Cultural Frontiers 149
  • Chapter 9 - The Presidency as a Cultural Pulpit 151
  • References 175
  • Chapter 10 - The Other Side of Power: Who Is Left Out of Presidential Rhetoric? 179
  • References 190
  • Chapter 11 - First Partner: First Ladies and Their Roles 195
  • Appendix 221
  • Notes 223
  • References 223
  • Afterword 227
  • References 230
  • Index 231
  • About the Contributors 235
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