Military Life

Our 14 favorite First Lady quotes

first lady

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy stands at Vijay Chowk, following her arrival in New Delhi, India. (JFK Library)

Over the last 246 years, First Ladies of the United States have held a special place in the government. We regard them with respect and grace. And even though they haven’t been elected to an official office, we know their role is important in holding down the home front.

From Martha Washington to Jill Biden, we’ve had some wonderful women represent us along the way. Take a look at their words of wisdom in this chronological thread. 

1. This old school yet real reminder about creating our own happiness:

“The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.” – Martha Washington

Martha Washington. (Public domain)

2. Make learning a priority, she said!

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” – Abigail Adams

3. We love this farming metaphor:

“Plant your feet and stand firm. The only question is where to put your feet.” – Mary Todd Lincoln

4. It really is though

“I think imagination is one of the greatest blessings of life.” – Edith Roosevelt

5. Coming in hot with these two zingers

“With the new day comes new strengths and new thoughts.” And, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt 

6. And this quote that’ll make you LOL

“Every woman over fifty should stay in bed until noon.” – Mamie Eisenhower

7. A mic drop from Jackie O

“We should all do something to right the wrongs that we see and not just complain about them.” – Jackie Kennedy

8. This realness about the gig

“The first lady is, and always has been, an unpaid public servant elected by one person, her husband.” – Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson in 1967.

9. The difference between being good and great

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter

10. A beautiful sentiment

“To my young friends out there: Life can be great, but not when you can’t see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His children, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to make it count. Say yes to your life.” – Nancy Reagan

11. This pre-COVID shout-out to the libraries of the world:

“Libraries allow children to ask questions about the world and find the answers. And the wonderful thing is that once a child learns to use a library, the doors to learning are always open.” – Laura Bush

12. Getting real about the importance of hope

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama

13. And don’t forget to be kind, either

“As citizens of this great nation, it is kindness, love, and compassion for each other that will bring us together.”  – Melania Trump

14. Education matters! 

“The responsibility for educating a young person is not the student’s responsibility alone, nor is it the job of the teacher alone, nor is it the obligation of the parents alone. It is a responsibility that belongs to all of us. Because we all reap the benefits when our citizens are well educated.” – Jill Biden

Jill Biden official portait, 2021. (Public domain)

These first ladies have killed it with their words of wisdom over the years. We are thankful for their sacrifice to the public, and their shared thoughts on how to make life a better place for us all.