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Transcript of Abigail Adams
she encouraged and cajoled her husband, Warren G. Harding, into selecting qualified women for government jobs.
Florence cultivated a working relationship with the emerging female press corps, holding special news conferences just for female reporters. She visibly supported higher educational opportunities for women by inviting recent female graduates, including African Americans, to the White House. She encouraged all women to learn financial management, claiming it was key to a “partnership marriage.” However, she did not support the Equal Rights Amendment, which was introduced in Congress in 1923.
“Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice or Representation.”
She did not advocate that women receive the vote or hold public office. Abigail simply wanted a separate legal existence.
Florence Harding used her national image to draw attention to issues important to women. After the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920, granting women the right to vote, she was a strong supporter of the League of Women Voters, arguing that women’s education about the political process was crucial to their ultimate success in politics. As such, she praised female politicians and sent telegrams congratulating them on their victories. Florence supported the National Woman’s Party in their commission and placing of a marble sculpture of suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, which was unveiled in 1921 in the U.S. Capitol.
Caroline Harrison was open-minded about suffrage. She supported the hiring of Alice Sanger as the first woman stenographer at the White House. She was active with the Medical Fund for Johns Hopkins Medical School, served as the chairman of the Washington Committee of the Women's Fund for the school, and attended two receptions in November 1890, in Baltimore to aid in the effort. Mrs. Harrison helped raise $100,000 for the school under the condition that women be given full and equal opportunities in pursuing medical careers. Caroline delivered her own prepared speech before the DAR, a first for an incumbent First Lady. In 1890, the newly formed National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) asked her to become their first President General. On the evening of February 24, 1892, Caroline gave an elegant White House reception and dinner for the regents and delegates at the first Continental Congress of NSDAR.
THE WOMEN BEHIND THE MEN:A LOOK AT INFLUENTIAL FIRST LADIES
Abigail Adams was one of the first advocates of women’s equal education and women’s property rights. Adams had strong feelings about marriage and believed women should take more part in decisions rather than simply serve their husbands. Adams believed that women should educate themselves and use their intellect to manage the household affairs, as well as be a moral guide for the family.
Abigail, courageously, took a fair hammer to a man’s pride along with making the threat of a Women’s Rebellion. She took it even further to even use her husband’s words against him, saying, “…no voice, or representation”, doesn’t that sound quite similar to “No Taxation without Representation”? Abigail certainly made a strong case. She used logic and common sense, and even called out the hypocrisy that was being exposed.
When Benjamin Harrison entered the White House in 1889, little had changed for women. The restriction of the need to own property, or be a certain race had been lifted allowing most men the right to vote. Women were now fighting for the vote along with other legal issues. Many clubs, groups, and movements had formed. The Harrison women as well as Indianapolis women had been influenced by the times.
Her public support of women's rights focused greater attention on the issue and promoted greater acceptance of a First Lady's public political stands. Although often forgotten or disdained, Caroline Lavinia Harrison contributed greatly to both the evolution of the White House and the evolution of the role of First Lady.
Florence Harding advocated for female prisoners’ rights and was the first wife to campaign publicly for her husband