40 Inspirational First Lady Quotes To Start Your Week Off Right

Smart women are powerful women!

First Lady Quotes

For more than 240 years, the United States has seen many women take the position of First Lady in the White House. Typically (but not always) the wife of the seated president, the First Lady takes command of the social and political outreach of the nation.

The First Lady quotes below prove how strong the women of the oval office have always been, and are a great source of inspiration to start your week off on the right foot.

The duties of each woman change as she takes office, but since the turn of the 20th century, the First Lady has been equipped with a full staff and an office in the East Wing.


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Starting with Martha Washington, the country began to idolize the women of the White House. From 1886 to 1891, Mrs. Washington appeared on the one-dollar bill, alongside her husband. Jackie O, of John F. Kennedy’s term, became an icon of fashion, class, and culture.

Pat Nixon broke the streak of White House women in skirts and dresses when she publically wore a pink pantsuit in support of the women’s movement of the early 1970s.

We look up to these women and their ability to serve our country under the scrutiny of the public eye. Not only are they beautiful and compassionate, but the history of our country’s First Ladies prove that they are smart, wise and amazing role models.


Lucy Hayes set the bar high in the late 1870s as the first First Lady to earn a college degree. She attended Ohio Wesleyan University’s college preparatory program and transferred to Cincinnati Wesleyan Female College to graduate in 1850.

Grace Coolidge marked history as the first to earn a four-year undergraduate degree. Before Hillary Clinton entered the 2016 presidential race, she walked the halls of the White House during her husband, Bill Clinton's, term. She was the first of these women to have earned a postgraduate degree; she went to Yale Law School.

And most recently, Michelle Obama served alongside her husband, Barack Obama's, two terms as the first to have received an undergraduate degree from an Ivy League school; she went to Princeton to study sociology and African studies.

RELATED: 50 Best Michelle Obama Quotes


These women have proved that there is more to their affiliation to the president than meets the eye. They head campaigns for healthy lifestyles, drug abuse awareness, environmental conservation, and human rights.

They’ve inspired thousands of women during their time in the White House, now they’ll inspire you with this collection of the best First Lady quotes to motivate you when you need it most.

1. “As citizens of this great nation, it is kindness, love, and compassion for each other that will bring us together.” — Melania Trump

2. “You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.” — Michelle Obama


3. “The power of a book lies in its power to turn a solitary act into a shared vision. As long as we have books, we are not alone.” — Laura Bush

4. "I am a big believer that eventually everything comes back to you. You get back what you give out." — Nancy Reagan

5. “I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself.” — Michelle Obama

6. “Forgiveness is a way of opening up the doors again and moving forward, whether it’s a personal life or a national life.” — Hillary Clinton

7. “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people- your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.” — Barbara Bush


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8. “There’s a big, wonderful world out there for you. It belongs to you. It’s exciting and stimulating and rewarding. Don’t cheat yourselves out of this promise.” — Nancy Reagan

9. “You have to have confidence in your ability and then be tough enough to follow through.” — Rosalynn Carter


10. “Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.” — Michelle Obama

11. “The search for human freedom can never be complete without freedom for women.” —​ Betty Ford

12. "At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent." — Barbara Bush

13. “All lives have triumphs and tragedies, laughter and tears, and mine has been no different. What really matters is whether, after all of that, you remain strong and a comfort to your loved ones.” —​ Pat Nixon


14. “Confidence, I’d learned then, sometimes needs to be called from within. I’ve repeated the same words to myself so many times now, through many climbs. Am I good enough? Yes I am.” — Michelle Obama

15. “Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” —​ Lady Bird Johnson

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16. “There are two kinds of women, those who want power in the world and those who want power in bed.” —​ Jackie Kennedy


17. “Inspiration on its own was shallow; you had to back it up with hard work.” — Michelle Obama

18. "You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through." — Rosalynn Carter

19. “Every woman over fifty should stay in bed until noon.” —​ Mamie Eisenhower

20. “I deplore any action which denies artistic talent an opportunity to express itself because of prejudice against race origin.” —​ Bess Truman

21. “If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.” — Michelle Obama

22. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” —​ Eleanor Roosevelt


23. “The independent girl is truly of quite modern origin, and usually is a most bewitching little piece of humanity.” —​ Lou Hoover

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24. “If a man amounts to much in this world, he must encounter many and varied annoyances whose number mounts as his effectiveness increases.” —​ Grace Coolidge


25. “I know what’s best for the President. I put him in the White House. He does well when he listens to me and poorly when he does not.” —​ Florence Harding

26. “Even if we didn’t know the context, we were instructed to remember that context existed. Everyone on earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.” — Michelle Obama

27. “I will stand by you, not for duty, not for pity, not for honor, but for love. Trusting, protecting, comprehending love.” —​ Edith Wilson

28. "When you come to a roadblock, take a detour." — Barbara Bush

29. “I am naturally the most unambitious of women and life in the White House has no attractions for me.” —​ Ellen Wilson


30. "Believe in something larger than yourself... get involved in the big ideas of your time." — Barbara Bush

31. “I do not dislike teaching when the boys behave themselves.” —​ Helen Taft

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32. "I think imagination is one of the greatest blessings of life.” —​ Edith Roosevelt

33. “To live and grow and become what we would desire [society] to be, must be composed of… women.” —​ Caroline Harrison

34. "I'll be a wife and mother first, then First Lady." — Jackie Kennedy

35. "The easiest way to disregard a woman’s voice is to package her as a scold." — Michelle Obama

36. “I am convinced, the longer I live, that life and its blessings are not so entirely unjustly distributed as when we are suffering greatly we are inclined to suppose.” —​ Mary Todd Lincoln

37. “If we mean to have heroes, statesmen, and philosophers, we should have learned women." —​ Abigail Adams


38. "Do what you can to show you care about other people, and you will make our world a better place." — Rosalynn Carter

39. "If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?" — Abigail Adams

40. “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.” —​ Martha Washington

first lady Martha Washington quotes


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Madison Kerth is a writer who covers pop culture, astrology, and relationship topics.