On her last day inside the White House, Michelle Obama cried with joy, “We are free.” But can the first lady really stay out of the limelight and enjoy a quiet life after the end of her husband’s presidency?
In this report, MarieClaire, in its Russian version, reviews the stories of the most prominent first ladies in the United States, and highlights how eyes remained on them after leaving the White House, and how they continued to engage in political, social, and human rights work and invested their fame to the last breath.
Michelle Obama (2009-2017)
President Barack Obama’s wife for 8 years in the White House took care of many social issues, introduced initiatives to combat childhood obesity, and supported military families. At the end of her husband’s presidency, Michelle joined Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
After leaving the White House, the couple returned to Chicago and made trips to the Caribbean, French Polynesia, Indonesia, and Italy.
Like any wife of a former president, Michelle became a well-known and influential public figure, and she continued to commit to using her image to support a number of social initiatives, and continued to attend some annual events at American universities to speak with young people about their dreams and aspirations.
According to the site, Michelle is still very popular in the United States, especially among those who are not satisfied with the performance of Melania Trump, wife of current President Donald Trump.
Laura Bush (2001-2009)
Laura Bush entered the White House and defended the rights of women and children, and over the 8 years of George W. Bush’s rule, she launched numerous programs and non-profit institutions intending to enhance the level of education, improve women’s health, and promoting gender equality around the world.
Whereas her husband’s mandate was marked by wars and devastation in many parts of the world, in American eyes, Laura represented peace and goodness.
The reputation she gained when she was the first lady helped her to succeed in all the initiatives she launched in the 2000s. Laura Bush continues to support libraries, educational funds, and veterans support campaigns across America and give interviews to major media outlets. Regularly.
Hillary Clinton (1993-2001)
Hillary Clinton is one of the most famous women in politics in US history. She was first the first lady in Arkansas for 12 years, when Bill Clinton was governor, and then a first lady in the White House from 1993 to 2001.
During her husband’s years as president, Hillary’s political ambitions grew. Therefore, before she gave way to Laura Bush, Clinton cared about her political future and won a seat in the Senate from New York. In 2008, she ran for the presidency in the Democratic Party, losing to Barack Obama, and later assuming the position of Secretary of State.
Hillary Clinton is celebrating her 72nd birthday this year and is unlikely to participate in the presidential race again after losing the 2016 election to Republican Donald Trump.
Nevertheless, the former first lady of the United States is still actively participating in political action, as she constantly expresses her rejection of President Trump’s policies, periodically reveals new details about the Russian role in the election hacking, and makes a lot of money from her memoir “What Happened?” (What happened) in which she details the 2016 election race.
Barbara Bush (1989-1993)
Her husband’s political career spanned nearly a quarter of a century, as a diplomat, a member of Congress, a vice president and finally president of the United States, and she was the first lady from 1989 to 1993.
After Bill Clinton won the presidential election in 1993, Barbara Bush returned with her husband to Texas. When her son became president in 2001, she had to be on TV regularly.
Despite her health problems, Bush’s senior wife continued to participate periodically in ceremonial events and sponsor charities until she passed away in 2018.
Nancy Reagan (1981-1989)
The media has covered the lives of the 40th President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan and his wife for more than 20 years, and the most prominent initiative of Nancy Reagan during her husband’s presidency was the awareness campaign on the dangers of drug abuse.
However, just two months after they left the White House, the authorities launched an investigation against the couple for tax evasion, and the family, whose fortune at the end of 1989 amounted to more than $ 10 million, quickly paid the required sums.
In 1994, her husband contracted Alzheimer’s disease, and since then, Nancy has devoted her life to caring for her husband and introducing this disease, and has invested large sums in stem cell research after her husband’s death.
Until her death in 2016, Nancy represented her late husband, and she made trips to many countries and opened research centers and libraries.
Rosalynn Carter (1977-1981)
Rosalynn Carter became heavily involved in politics with her husband Jimmy Carter, whose defeat in the 1981 election was a heavy blow for her.
After moving to Georgia after the presidential term, Rosalynn and her husband continued their political work by traveling in diplomatic missions to the Middle East, and she also opened centers for the study and treatment of mental illnesses, and in 2007 she was able to pass a bill to Congress on insurance for people with mental illness.
Rosalyn has also collaborated with former First Ladies to promote initiatives on protecting women’s and children’s rights.
In 2016, she supported the initiative to abolish the death penalty in California. And in previous presidential elections, she campaigned aggressively to support Bernie Sanders at the expense of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic elections.
Jacqueline Kennedy (1961-1963)
After her husband was murdered, the end of Jacqueline Kennedy’s life in the White House was tragic. In search of a safe and secluded life, Jacqueline married a Greek businessman and close friend of the family of the Prince of Monaco, the billionaire Aristotle Onassis, who also died at an early age.
Jacqueline took an interest in protecting the antiquities and architectural heritage of the United States, and continued to do so until she died in 1994.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1933-1945)
Eleanor Roosevelt transformed the status of the First Lady. During the life of her husband, President Franklin Roosevelt, she did not sit idly by, but rather presented a variety of political initiatives that annoyed some conservative politicians, and she took an interest in the establishment of the United Nations and made sure to complete these efforts even after the death of her husband.
The 33rd President of the United States, Harry Truman, praised the efforts of the former first lady, who was the first American delegate to the United Nations General Assembly.
Also, Roosevelt was directly involved in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, promoted feminist ideas, and was chair of the Presidential Committee on Women’s Rights during the Kennedy era.
In general, Eleanor Roosevelt had a direct relationship with all the important events that the world lived through after World War II, and President Truman called her the first lady of the world.