11 Inspiring Quotes From Our Country’s First Ladies

Now that Inauguration Day is around the corner, our country will gain not only a new president but also a new first lady. And if history has taught us anything, the first lady has an equally vital role in the White House.

In recent decades, first ladies have used their influence to champion such causes as combating drug use, increasing breast cancer awareness, and stamping out illiteracy. But they did not always agitate for social change. In the early 19th century, they were expected to be docile, ready to entertain guests and be good wives. In turn, the main role of a first lady was to serve as a hostess for private functions and other public social gatherings at the White House.

It wasn't until the mid-19th century that the first lady’s duties extended to political activism, and much later, toward advocating for the social issues they believed in. With the rise of household televisions in the 1960s in the Kennedy era, first ladies were thrust into the limelight — exposing them to public scrutiny.

We're all curious to know what kind of White House Melania Trump will help to create and which causes she will champion in 2017. Before we find out, let's take a look back at a few notable former first ladies and their memorable words of wisdom.

Melania, we hope you are taking note.

Related: Will Trump Wear a Coat at the Inauguration? Yes, If He’s Like Obama; No, If He’s Like Ike

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