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

Mel Judson
Updated June 14, 2019 13.7k votes 2k voters 20.8k 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.

list ordered by
1
Eleanor Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 78 (1884-1962)

Birthplace: New York City, Area code 917, Contiguous United States, New York, United States of America, + more

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (; October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American political figure, diplomat and activist. She served as the First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1933 to ...more
2
Laura Bush is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Age: 72

Birthplace: Midland, Texas, United States of America

Laura Welch Bush (née Laura Lane Welch; born November 4, 1946) is an American educator who was First Lady of the United States during the presidency of her husband, George W. Bush, from ...more
3
Michelle Obama is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Age: 55

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (née Robinson; born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer, university administrator and writer, who was the first lady of the United States from 2009 to ...more
4
Jacqueline Kennedy Onass... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 65 (1929-1994)

Birthplace: Southampton, New York, United States of America

Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis (née Bouvier ; July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was First Lady of the United States during the presidency of John F. Kennedy and was regarded then and ...more
5
Melania Trump is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Age: 48

Birthplace: Sevnica, Slovenia

Melania Trump (born April 26, 1970) is a Slovenian-American former fashion model and the current first lady of the United States, by virtue of her marriage to President Donald Trump.Melanija ...more
6
Hillary Clinton is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Age: 71

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born Hillary Diane Rodham, October 26, 1947) is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer, writer and public speaker. She was First Lady of the United States from ...more
7
Barbara Bush is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Age: 93

Birthplace: Flushing, New York City, New York, United States of America

Barbara Pierce Bush (born Barbara Pierce; June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018) was the first lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993 as the wife of George H. W. Bush, who served as the 41st ...more
8
Nancy Reagan is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Age: 97

Birthplace: Flushing, New York City, New York, United States of America

Nancy Davis Reagan (born Anne Frances Robbins; July 6, 1921 – March 6, 2016) was an American film actress and the wife of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States. She was the ...more
9
Dolley Madison is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 81 (1768-1849)

Birthplace: Greensboro, North Carolina, United States of America

Dolley Todd Madison (née Payne; May 20, 1768 – July 12, 1849) was the wife of James Madison, President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. She was noted for holding Washington social ...more
10
Abigail Adams is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 74 (1744-1818)

Birthplace: Weymouth, Massachusetts, United States of America

Abigail Adams (née Smith; November 22, [O.S. November 11] 1744 – October 28, 1818) was the wife and closest advisor of John Adams, as well as the mother of John Quincy Adams. She is ...more
11
Betty Ford is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 93 (1918-2011)

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Elizabeth Anne Ford (née Bloomer; April 8, 1918 – July 8, 2011) was the First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977, as the wife of President Gerald Ford. As First Lady, she was ...more
12
Rosalynn Carter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Age: 91

Birthplace: Plains, Georgia, United States of America

Eleanor Rosalynn Carter (née Smith; born August 18, 1927) is an American who served as First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981, as the wife of President Jimmy Carter. For ...more
13
Lady Bird Johnson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 95 (1912-2007)

Birthplace: Karnack, Texas, United States of America

Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Johnson (née Taylor; December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007) was an American socialite and the First Lady of the United States (1963–1969) as the wife of the ...more
14
Pat Nixon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 81 (1912-1993)

Birthplace: Ely, Nevada

Thelma Catherine "Pat" Nixon (née Ryan; March 16, 1912 – June 22, 1993), also commonly known as Patricia Nixon, was an American educator and the wife of Richard Nixon, the 37th ...more
15
Edith Wilson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 89 (1872-1961)

Birthplace: Wytheville, Virginia, United States of America

Edith Wilson (née Bolling, formerly Edith Bolling Galt; October 15, 1872 – December 28, 1961), second wife of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, was the First Lady of the United States from ...more
16
Martha Washington is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 71 (1731-1802)

Birthplace: Chestnut Grove

Martha Washington (née Dandridge; June 2 [O.S. June 2] 1731 – May 22, 1802) was the wife of George Washington, the first President of the United States. Although the title was not coined ...more
17
Mamie Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 83 (1896-1979)

Birthplace: Boone, Des Moines Township, Iowa, United States of America

Mamie Geneva Eisenhower (née Doud; November 14, 1896 – November 1, 1979) was wife of United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower and thereby First Lady of the United States from 1953 to ...more
18
Edith Wilson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 85 (1896-1981)

Birthplace: USA, Kentucky, Louisville

Edith Wilson was an American blues singer and vaudeville performer.
19
Edith Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 87 (1861-1948)

Birthplace: Norwich, Connecticut, United States of America

Edith Kermit Roosevelt (née Carow; August 6, 1861 – September 30, 1948) was the second wife of President Theodore Roosevelt and served as the First Lady of the United States during his ...more
20
Bess Truman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 97 (1885-1982)

Birthplace: Area code 816, Independence, Clay County, United States of America, United States, + more

Elizabeth Virginia "Bess" Truman (née Wallace; February 13, 1885 – October 18, 1982) was the wife of U.S. President Harry S. Truman and the First Lady of the United States from ...more
21
Lou Henry Hoover is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 70 (1874-1944)

Birthplace: Waterloo, Iowa, United States of America

Lou Henry Hoover (born Lou Henry; March 29, 1874 – January 7, 1944) was the wife of President of the United States Herbert Hoover and served as the First Lady of the United States from 1929 to ...more
22
Louisa Adams is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 77 (1775-1852)

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

Louisa Catherine Adams (née Johnson; February 12, 1775 – May 15, 1852), wife of John Quincy Adams, was the First Lady of the United States from 1825 to 1829. Born in London, she was the ...more
23
Julia Grant is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 76 (1826-1902)

Birthplace: St. 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 ...more
24
Grace Coolidge is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 78 (1879-1957)

Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont, United States of America

Grace Anna Coolidge (née Goodhue; January 3, 1879 – July 8, 1957) was the wife of the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge. She was the First Lady of the United States ...more
25
Helen Herron Taft is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 82 (1861-1943)

Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America

Helen Louise "Nellie" Taft (née Herron; June 2, 1861 – May 22, 1943) was the wife of William Howard Taft and the First Lady of the United States from 1909 to 1913.