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By Katherine Amelia Siobhan Sibley

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While Martha played a critical role in the social sphere of the presidency, the same does not appear to be true in matters of pol­ itics. She supported her husband’s federalist policies but does not seem to have tried to 15 shape them or to have engaged others in political discussions. Nonetheless, she remained very popular among veterans from the Revolutionary War. Her husband’s f­ormer soldiers often visited her and she was known to advocate on their behalf, even interceding to help them gain employment or providing money when they were in need.

2012. ” In A Companion to George Washington, edited by E. G. Lengel, 15–31. Oxford: Wiley Blakwell. Gould, L. L. 1996. American First Ladies: Their Lives and Their Legacy. New York: Garland. Randall, W. S. 1997. George Washington: A Life. New York: Henry Holt. Watson, Robert, P. 2002. ” In American First Ladies, edited by R. P. Watson, 9–18. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press. Watson, R. P. 2000a. The Presidents’ Wives: Reassessing the Office of First Lady. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Watson, R. P. 2000b.

She also felt constrained in that, every time she went out in public, people recognized her and newspapers reported on everything, from her shopping to her grandchildren. Because the first lady was an intensely private individual, she felt burdened by the onslaught of attention, such as when she complained: I am more like a state prisoner than a­nything else, there is certain bounds [sic] set for me which I must not depart from— and as I can not doe as I like I am obstinate and stay at home a great deal.

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