The Differences Of Mrs. Taft And Helen Herron Taft

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Helen Herron Taft was born seven months before Mrs. Roosevelt on January 2, 1861 to a wealthy family in Cincinnati. She grew up in a family of politicians and lawyers – her father was a state senator and appointed the U.S. Attorney by President Benjamin Harrison. Her father was Judge John Williamson Herron, a college classmate with President Harrison and a law partner of President Rutherford B. Hayes. Her mother, Harriet Collins Herron, was the daughter and the sister of American congressmen, and Mrs. Taft’s grandfather, Ela Collins, and uncle, William Collins, were both members of Congress. Mrs. Taft grew up in well-educated, political family that was well off and provided her with a bright future and preparation for her time as first …show more content…
Despite the uncanny resemblances to each other in the bare facts of their lives, they differed in their views of their place in the world. Both were born in 1861 and married within six months of each other to front runners of the Republic Party. They were born to well-connected families and were educated well beyond the standard of most women of their time. These surface similarities end there and sharp contrasts begin. Mrs. Roosevelt encompassed a more traditionally and socially apt role while Mrs. Taft embraced a more politically motivated and ambitious force. These two first ladies permanently changed the job of first lady by hiring their own separate staff members, tackling more public roles in both policy and personal decisions, and heading important reform movements. Together, Mrs. Roosevelt and Mrs. Taft guaranteed future first ladies a public role in politics either through their decisions pertaining to their home life or their political involvement. In particular, these two first ladies created the modern dichotomy that had persisted to today’s first lady – the ones similar to Mrs. Roosevelt’s traditionalism and the ones similar to Mrs. Taft political …show more content…
As the first lady emerged as a public figure, she garnered a new kind of public power in the modern era that was expanded by the heightening press coverage. Mrs. Roosevelt manipulated this new public power by establishing the Social Secretary to satisfy the press while maintaining her and her family’s privacy. By creating a separate staff member of her own, Mrs. Roosevelt exercised a new kind of authority for the first lady in the White House. Mrs. Taft delved into the public power by granting interviews, campaigning for her husband, and involving herself in reforms and the Suffragette movement – actions that were rare in first ladies prior to Mrs. Taft. She applied her new control over her own public image by being the first of the first ladies to voice her own opinions to the press. Mrs. Taft normalized women’s place in the political world through becoming more vocal and visible on the campaigns and presidential business. Mrs. Taft even extended her own political involvement in volunteerism and social advocacy, reflecting the trend of women’s involvement in civic reforms during the Progressive

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