US history U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands  

Mel Judson
8.3k votes 1.2k voters 13.2k views 43 items

List Rules Vote up the First Ladies you strongly suspect were smarter than the commanders in chief.

When they say behind every great man lies a great woman, it comes as no stretch to assume the smartest First Ladies of the United States outranked their husbands in terms of intelligence. Though they may not lead the country, the First Lady involves herself in politics, human welfare, and numerous other roles that require her intelligence as much as her poise. As the other half of the president, it stands to reason she too influences his decisions. With that in mind, which First Lady was the smartest? 

As First Lady of the United States, the President's wife constantly finds herself under public scrutiny. Although no official roles exist for First Ladies, many of the smartest First Ladies stepped up to take on all sorts of responsibilities including helping with political campaigns, managing the White House, and leading social causes. Some notable First Ladies include Hillary Clinton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Jacqueline Kennedy. Some First Ladies even launched their own political careers, lending more credence to the idea that the smart wives of presidents may not outrank them in security clearance, but they definitely do in brains.

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Eleanor Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Eleanor Roosevelt Died at 78 (1884-1962) Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was an American politician, diplomat, and activist. She was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from March 1933 to April 1945 during her ...more

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Laura Bush is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Laura Bush age 71 Laura Bush is the wife of the forty third President of the United States George W. Bush and the incumbent First Lady of the United States. Born in 1946 in Midland, Texas, Mrs. Bush always had an ...more

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468 257
Michelle Obama is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Michelle Obama age 54 Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is an American lawyer and writer. She is the wife of the 44th and current President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the first African-American First Lady ...more

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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Died at 65 (1929-1994) Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 ...more

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Nancy Reagan is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Nancy Reagan age 96 Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Although she was born in New York City, her ...more

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Dolley Madison is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dolley Madison Died at 81 (1768-1849) Dolley Payne Todd Madison was the wife of James Madison, President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. She was noted for her social gifts, which boosted her husband’s popularity as ...more

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Barbara Bush is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Barbara Bush age 92 Barbara Pierce Bush is the wife of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of the 43rd ...more

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Hillary Clinton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Hillary Clinton age 70 Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is an American attorney, politician and member of the Democratic Party. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was First Lady of ...more

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Abigail Adams is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Abigail Adams Died at 74 (1744-1818) Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams, the first Vice President, and second President, of the United States, and the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President. She is now designated ...more

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Melania Trump is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Melania Trump age 47 Melania Knauss-Trump is a Slovenian former model and the wife of American real estate magnate Donald Trump. They married on January 22, 2005.

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Betty Ford is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Betty Ford Died at 93 (1918-2011) Betty Ford was an actress and a writer

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Lady Bird Johnson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Lady Bird Johnson Died at 95 (1912-2007) Claudia Alta Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson was First Lady of the United States, as the wife of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. Notably well-educated for a ...more

Political Wives Who Overshadowed Their Husbands

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Rosalynn Carter is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Rosalynn Carter age 90 Eleanor Rosalynn Carter is the wife of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter and in that capacity served as the First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981. She has for ...more

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Pat Nixon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Pat Nixon Died at 81 (1912-1993) Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon was the wife of Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States, and First Lady of the United States from 1969 to 1974. Born in Ely, Nevada, she ...more

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Martha Washington is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Martha Washington Died at 71 (1731-1802) Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington is ...more

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Mamie Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Mamie Eisenhower Died at 83 (1896-1979) Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower was the wife of United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and First Lady of the United States from 1953 to 1961. Mamie married Dwight Eisenhower at age 19 in ...more

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Louisa Adams is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Louisa Adams Died at 77 (1775-1852) Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, was First Lady of the United States from 1825 to 1829. She is the only First Lady born outside of the United States.

The Most Beautiful Women of All Time

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Edith Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Edith Roosevelt Died at 87 (1861-1948) Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt was the second wife of President Theodore Roosevelt and served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1901 to 1909.

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Edith Wilson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Edith Wilson Died at 85 (1896-1981) Edith Wilson was an American blues singer and vaudeville performer.

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Julia Grant is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Julia Grant Died at 76 (1826-1902) Julia Boggs Dent Grant, was the wife of the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, and was First Lady of the United States from 1869 to 1877.

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Bess Truman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Bess Truman Died at 97 (1885-1982) Elizabeth Virginia "Bess" Truman, was the wife of Harry S. Truman and First Lady of the United States from 1945 to 1953. She had known her future husband since they were children ...more

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Edith Wilson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Edith Wilson Died at 89 (1872-1961) Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, second wife of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, was First Lady of the United States from 1915 to 1921. She met the President in March 1915 and they married nine months ...more

Women In The 16th Century Could Sue Their Husbands For Erectile Dysfunction

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Grace Coolidge is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Grace Coolidge Died at 78 (1879-1957) Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge was the wife of Calvin Coolidge and First Lady of the United States from 1923 to 1929. She contributed greatly to her husband's rise to office, balancing his natural ...more

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Lucy Hayes is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Lucy Hayes Lucy Hayes is a film producer, a film director and a screenwriter.

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Helen Herron Taft is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Helen Herron Taft Died at 82 (1861-1943) Helen Louise Herron "Nellie" Taft was the wife of William Howard Taft and First Lady of the United States from 1909 to 1913.

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Lou Henry Hoover is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Lou Henry Hoover Died at 70 (1874-1944) Lou Henry Hoover was the wife of President of the United States Herbert Hoover and served as First Lady from 1929 to 1933. Marrying her engineer husband in 1899, she traveled widely with him, ...more

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Hannah Van Buren is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Hannah Van Buren Died at 36 (1783-1819) Hannah Hoes Van Buren was the wife of the eighth United States President, Martin Van Buren. Martin, aged 24, and Hannah, aged 23, married on February 21, 1807 at the home of the bride's sister ...more

Celebrities Who Were Rich Before They Were Famous

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Rachel Jackson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Rachel Jackson Died at 61 (1767-1828) Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson, born Rachel Donelson, was the wife of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States. She lived with him at their home at The Hermitage, but died before ...more

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Sarah Childress Polk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Sarah Childress Polk Died at 88 (1803-1891) Sarah Childress Polk was the wife of the 11th President of the United States, James Polk, serving as First Lady of the United States from 1845 to 1849.

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Ellen Wilson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Ellen Wilson age 42 Ellen Bernice Wilson is a female judoka from the United States, who won the silver medal in the women's lightweight division at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. ...more

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Frances Folsom Cleveland Prest... is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston Died at 83 (1864-1947) Frances Clara Folsom Cleveland Preston was the wife of the President of the United States Grover Cleveland and the 22nd and 24th First Lady of the United States from 1886 to 1889 and again from ...more

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Mary Todd Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Mary Todd Lincoln Died at 64 (1818-1882) Mary Ann Todd Lincoln was the wife of the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and was First Lady of the United States from 1861 to 1865. A member of a large, wealthy ...more

Heartbreaking Facts About Mary Todd Lincoln, America's Most Tragic First Lady

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Julia Gardiner Tyler is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Julia Gardiner Tyler Died at 69 (1820-1889) Julia Gardiner Tyler was the second wife of John Tyler, the tenth President of the United States, and served as First Lady of the United States from June 26, 1844, to March 4, 1845.

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Elizabeth Monroe is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Elizabeth Monroe Died at 62 (1768-1830) Elizabeth Kortright Monroe was First Lady of the United States from 1817 to 1825, as the wife of James Monroe, fifth President, who held the office for two terms. Due to the fragile condition of ...more

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Ida Saxton McKinley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Ida Saxton McKinley Died at 60 (1847-1907) Ida Saxton McKinley, wife of William McKinley, was First Lady of the United States from 1897 to 1901.

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Florence Harding is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Florence Harding Died at 64 (1860-1924) Florence Mabel Kling Harding, previously DeWolfe, wife of President Warren G. Harding, was the First Lady of the United States from 1921 to 1923. She married the somewhat-younger Harding when he ...more

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Abigail Fillmore is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Abigail Fillmore Died at 55 (1798-1853) Abigail Powers Fillmore, wife of Millard Fillmore, was First Lady of the United States from 1850 to 1853. Abigail was born in Stillwater, New York, 1798, in Saratoga County, New York. She was ...more

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Jane Pierce is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Jane Pierce Died at 57 (1806-1863) Jane Means Appleton Pierce, wife of U.S. President Franklin Pierce, was First Lady of the United States from 1853 to 1857.

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Eliza McCardle Johnson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Eliza McCardle Johnson Died at 66 (1810-1876) Eliza McCardle Johnson was the First Lady of the United States and the wife of Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States.

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Caroline Harrison is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Caroline Harrison Died at 60 (1832-1892) Caroline Scott Harrison, was a teacher of music, the wife of Benjamin Harrison and mother of two surviving children; after his election as President of the United States, she was First Lady of ...more

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Margaret Taylor is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Margaret Taylor Died at 64 (1788-1852) Margaret Mackall Smith "Peggy" Taylor, wife of Zachary Taylor, was First Lady of the United States from 1849 to 1850.

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Anna Harrison is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Anna Harrison Died at 89 (1775-1864) Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison, wife of President William Henry Harrison and grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison, was nominally First Lady of the United States during her husband's ...more

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Letitia Christian Tyler is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Letitia Christian Tyler Died at 52 (1790-1842) Letitia Christian Tyler, first wife of John Tyler, was First Lady of the United States from 1841 until her death.