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

Updated June 14, 2019 17.0k votes 2.4k voters 27.0k views42 items

List RulesVote 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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    Hannah Van Buren

    Dec. at 36 (1783-1819)

    BirthplaceKinderhook, New York, United States of America

    BirthplaceKinderhook, New York, United States of America

    Hannah Van Buren (born Hannah Hoes; March 8, 1783 – February 5, 1819) was the wife of the eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. She died in 1819, before Martin Van Buren became...  more
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    68
    124

    Julia Grant

    Dec. at 76 (1826-1902)

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri, United States of America

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri, United States of America

    Julia Boggs Grant (née Dent; January 26, 1826 – December 14, 1902), was the First Lady of the United States and wife of Ulysses S. Grant. Her time as First Lady marked a turning point in her life,...  more
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    Elizabeth Monroe

    Dec. at 62 (1768-1830)

    BirthplaceNew York City, Area code 917, Contiguous United States, New York, United States of America

    BirthplaceNew York City, Area code 917, Contiguous United States, New York, United States of America

    Elizabeth Jane Monroe (née Kortright; June 30, 1768 – September 23, 1830) was the First Lady of the United States from 1817 to 1825, as the wife of James Monroe, President of the United States. Due...  more
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    104

    Florence Harding

    Dec. at 64 (1860-1924)

    BirthplaceOhio, Marion, United States, with Territories, Marion County

    BirthplaceOhio, Marion, United States, with Territories, Marion County

    Florence Mabel Harding (née Kling; August 15, 1860 – November 21, 1924) was the First Lady of the United States from 1921 to 1923 as the wife of President Warren G. Harding. She married the...  more
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    Ellen Bernice Wilson (born January 8, 1976 in Salinas, California) is a female judoka from the United States, who won the silver medal in the women's lightweight division (– 57 kg) at the 2003 Pan...  more
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    106

    Rachel Jackson

    Dec. at 61 (1767-1828)
    Rachel Jackson (née Donelson; June 15, 1767 – December 22, 1828) was the wife of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States. She lived with him at their home at The Hermitage, where she...  more
  • 32
    Lucy Hayes is a film producer, a film director and a screenwriter....  more
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    83

    Eliza McCardle Johnson

    Dec. at 66 (1810-1876)

    BirthplaceTelford, Tennessee, United States of America

    BirthplaceTelford, Tennessee, United States of America

    Eliza Johnson (née McCardle; October 4, 1810 – January 15, 1876) was the First Lady of the United States, the Second Lady of the United States, and the wife of Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of...  more
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    97

    Julia Gardiner Tyler

    Dec. at 69 (1820-1889)

    BirthplaceGardiners Island, New York, United States of America

    BirthplaceGardiners Island, New York, United States of America

    Julia Tyler (née Gardiner; May 4, 1820 – July 10, 1889) was the second wife of John Tyler, who was the tenth President of the United States, and served as the First Lady of the United States from...  more
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    32
    85

    Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston

    Dec. at 83 (1864-1947)

    BirthplaceBuffalo, New York, United States of America

    BirthplaceBuffalo, New York, United States of America

    Frances Clara Cleveland Preston (née Folsom; July 21, 1864 – October 29, 1947) was First Lady of the United States from 1886 to 1889 and again from 1893 to 1897 as the wife of President Grover...  more
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    83

    Caroline Harrison

    Dec. at 60 (1832-1892)

    BirthplaceOxford, Ohio, United States of America

    BirthplaceOxford, Ohio, United States of America

    Caroline Lavinia Harrison (née Scott; October 1, 1832 – October 25, 1892), was a teacher of music, the wife of Benjamin Harrison and mother of two surviving children; after his election as President...  more
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    Jane Pierce

    Dec. at 57 (1806-1863)

    BirthplaceHampton, New Hampshire, United States of America

    BirthplaceHampton, New Hampshire, United States of America

    Jane Means Pierce (née Appleton; March 12, 1806 – December 2, 1863), wife of U.S. President Franklin Pierce, was the First Lady of the United States from 1853 to 1857....  more
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    Abigail Fillmore

    Dec. at 55 (1798-1853)

    BirthplaceStillwater, New York, United States of America

    BirthplaceStillwater, New York, United States of America

    Abigail Fillmore (née Powers; March 13, 1798 – March 30, 1853), wife of Millard Fillmore, was the First Lady of the United States from 1850 to 1853 and the Second Lady of the United States from 1849...  more
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    Anna Harrison

    Dec. at 89 (1775-1864)

    BirthplaceWalpack Township, New Jersey, United States of America

    BirthplaceWalpack Township, New Jersey, United States of America

    Anna Tuthill Harrison (née Symmes; July 25, 1775 – February 25, 1864), wife of President William Henry Harrison and grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison, was nominally First Lady of the United...  more
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    81

    Letitia Christian Tyler

    Dec. at 52 (1790-1842)

    BirthplaceVirginia, United States of America

    BirthplaceVirginia, United States of America

    Letitia Tyler (née Christian; November 12, 1790 – September 10, 1842), first wife of John Tyler, was the First Lady of the United States from 1841 until her death in 1842....  more
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    160

    Mary Todd Lincoln

    Dec. at 64 (1818-1882)

    BirthplaceLexington, Kentucky, United States of America

    BirthplaceLexington, Kentucky, United States of America

    Mary Todd Lincoln (née Todd; December 13, 1818 – July 16, 1882) was the wife of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and as such the First Lady of the United States from 1861 to...  more
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    Margaret Taylor

    Dec. at 64 (1788-1852)

    BirthplaceMaryland, United States of America

    BirthplaceMaryland, United States of America

    Margaret "Peggy" Mackall Taylor (née Smith; September 21, 1788 – August 14, 1852) was the wife of Zachary Taylor. She was the First Lady of the United States from 1849 to 1850....  more