A Brief History of First Ladies and Their Causes

Since the days of Dolly Madison, the job of presidential spouse has often involved picking a signature issue.
Wally McNamee / Corbis

Nancy Reagan, 1981-1989
1981 was not Nancy Reagan's best year. She spent much of her husband's first months in office being dismissed and mocked as "Fancy Nancy," little more than an extravagant party-goer. Partly to negate this perception, she embarked on a campaign against drugs: "Just Say No." During the following years, the slogan inspired thousands to start "Just Say No" clubs and millions to participate in "Just Say No" marches. Her popularity saw a boost, and student drug and alcohol addiction — though by no means eradicated — decreased from one-third to one-fourth in the mid-80s.

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