“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of
the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution of the United States.” These words proudly recited by each of the
forty two Presidents of this country, essentially dictate the duties of their office.
This nation fought a long and difficult war to insure the preservation of freedom
for its citizens, and as we left the battlefield victorious our founding fathers drafted
the single most important document this country will ever have, the Constitution of
the United States of America. However, as you can imagine this was not an easy
task; it took months of debate and consideration before the delegates from twelve
of the thirteen existing states finally agreed to the foundation of our new
government. Because they were well educated they realized the impact they were
making, and designed this country to be a living entity, which would have the
precious ability to adapt to the changes in its environment in the future.
In 1776, the possibility of a woman voter was thought to be ridiculous, let
alone a female President. However, as everyone living in the twentieth century
knows such an occurrence is no longer surprising. We have seen the increase in
influence of the First Lady in this nation. For example, our current First Lady,
Hillary Rodham Clinton, was accused of actually being the President rather than
his wife. President Clinton for the first time in the history of the United States
delegated his wife a major role in policy decisions. Although her proposals invited
much criticism from political analysts around the nation, the opportunity served as
a very important advantage to women seeking political office of any magnitude.
President Clinton conveyed his trust in his wife to the American people, and in
doing so, he supported women throughout the country and forced many people to
realize their competence.
The First Lady was always a more ceremonial figure rather than a
influential fixture in the political game. However, some of these women have
certainly found their place in the history books, one of the most notable being
Eleanor Roosevelt. During her husband’s administration, Mrs. Roosevelt became
a tremendous voice in areas such as child employment and civil rights for both
women and blacks. Her powerful voice was heard through a wide range of
sources: she wrote a nationally published newspaper column entitled “My Day”,
she broadcasted her own radio program, and conducted numerous press
conferences. Even after her husband’s death, Eleanor Roosevelt remained
extremely active in the political arena. She served as a United States delegate to
the United Nations for seven years, where she helped draft the UN Declaration of
Human Rights.
This rather new practice of women gaining political power is occurring
world wide. Among the first and foremost is Margaret Thatcher, who was the first
woman elected as a British prime minister. Her dedication and enthusiasm for the
Conservative party began in her school years and provided her with the knowledge
and connections to be elected prime minister in 1959. However, this astonishing
accomplishment was not enough to satisfy the craving Thatcher had for politics.
So, after serving as Secretary of State for Education and Science for sixteen years,
Margaret Thatcher challenged Edward Heath as the leader of the Conservative
party. Once again, in 1970, Thatcher made history by becoming the first woman to
lead any major British political party. Not only had she made history twice thus
far, Thatcher became the first British prime minister to win three successive
elections in over one hundred and fifty years. Unfortunately, her days of making
history were ended abruptly after she was forced to resign in 1990 because of the
uproar her “poll tax” created in her party as well as with her constituents.
These three women are just a few illustrations of the potential women
possess to become players in the game of politics. Now that they have laid the first
bricks I predict an overwhelming number of women will feel confident enough to
build their own power on this foundation. Once women realize how sturdy it is,
they will be more than willing to construct their own political structures. In the
recent history political analysts have discovered that in more and more cases
women voters have been the deciding factor of many political races. For instance
in the last presidential election both President Clinton and Senator Dole received
about 44-45% of the male votes, however, an incredible majority of female voters
sided with President Clinton,