The wild west couldn’t be tamed without mothers.
At least according to Ronald Reagan.
In his radio address to the nation on Mother’s Day in 1983, he told Americans:
“[The] Wild West could never have been tamed, the vast prairies never plowed, nor God and learning brought to the corners of our continent without the strength, bravery, and influence of our grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and the women who came before them.”
You can listen to his entire speech in this video below — he makes the case for mothers and the influence on our country around 1:17:
Although presidential proclamations honoring Mother’s Day are a tradition started by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, Ronald Reagan (and many other presidents) truly valued mothers and attributed much of his success to his own mom, Nelle Wilson Reagan.
In his autobiography, “An American Life,” he wrote in the first chapter:
“From my mother I learned the value of prayer, how to have dreams and believe I could make them come true.”
Here’s a picture of the Reagan family — Jack, Neil, Ronald, and Nelle.
Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t say a Mother’s Day proclamation. Instead, he urged that all tributes to American mothers “come simply and spontaneously from our hearts.”
His mother, Sara, was the first mom to vote for her son in a presidential election.
In John F. Kennedy’s Mother’s Day speech he said:
“The strength of our Nation depends upon the strength of the American home, which is based on the virtues fostered by the mothers of our country.”
This is Kennedy with his mother, Rose.
The mother of nine “made it point to ensure her children loved learning in the same way she did,” NBC reported. She was very active on the campaign trail during her son’s presidential run in 1960.
In her memoir, she wrote:
I looked at child rearing not only as a work of love and duty, but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world.
During a commencement address at Southern Methodist University, George W. Bush joked with the audience about his mother, Barbara:
“Remember that no matter how old you are or what your job is, you can never escape your mother.”
According to Bonnie Angelo, author of “First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents,” Barbara gave George motherly “tips” throughout his presidency — like reminders to stand up straight and to make sure his socks were pulled up. At Bush’s GOP Nomination Acceptance Address in 2000, he had this special message for his mother:
“…everyone loves you and so do I. Growing up, she gave me love and lots of advice. I gave her white hair.”
Here’s Barbara and George Bush Sr. with a very tiny George W. in 1947:
What advice would you take with you if you were President?
All photos courtesy of Newscom.