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

Mel Judson
12.1k votes 1.8k voters 18.6k 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)
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
2
Laura Bush is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
age 72
Laura Lane Welch Bush (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 2001 to 2009. She ...more
3
Dolley Madison is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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
4
Abigail Adams is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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
5
Barbara Bush is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
age 93
Barbara Bush (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 President of the United States, ...more
6
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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. Five years ...more
7
Nancy Reagan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
age 97
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
8
Michelle Obama is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
age 55
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is an American lawyer, university administrator, and writer who served as the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is married to the 44th U.S. ...more
9
Melania Trump is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
age 48
Melania Knauss-Trump is a Slovenian former model and the wife of American real estate magnate Donald Trump. They married on January 22, 2005.
10
Hillary Clinton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
age 71
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
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)
Betty Ford was an actress and a writer
12
Rosalynn Carter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
age 91
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
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)
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
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)
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
15
Mamie Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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
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)
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
17
Edith Wilson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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
18
Julia Grant is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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.
19
Bess Truman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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
20
Edith Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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.
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)
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
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)
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.
23
Edith Wilson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. at 85 (1896-1981)
Edith Wilson was an American blues singer and vaudeville performer.
24
Hannah Van Buren is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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
25
Sarah Childress Polk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list U.S. First Ladies That Are Probably Smarter Than Their Husbands
Dec. 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.