Respect the Congressman's Wife

Roundup: Historians' Take
tags: U.S. Congress



Mary Lou Judd Carpenter is the editor of Miriam's Words: The Personal Price of a Public Life.

I can empathize with those married to members of Congress who have just gone through this grueling budget fight. My mother, Miriam, spent much of her life as the wife of a congressman. She, and others like her, are observers on the political front lines but not participants.

Miriam once pondered in a personal writing whether later in life her husband would ever consider the possibility that "My taking up the torch for my country, which I felt was a sacred obligation, lost me her love."

Sixty years ago, there were fewer perks for congressmen, but even then Miriam wrote, after overhearing her young daughter say she was lucky to have such a famous husband, "Sometime I'll tell her it wasn't luck; it was hard work."...




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