Eleanor Roosevelt Essay

1398 words - 6 pages

Eleanor Roosevelt had an instrumental role in political developments in the United States during her life. Her work with the United Nations and Human Rights proved to lead to the beginnings of a different world.Though her childhood was difficult, it prepared her for her future love of political work. Eleanor went to live with her grandmother when she was ten after her father and mother passed away. Her grandmother sent her to a boarding school when she wasfifteen. Schoolmistress Souvestre taught her girls to be independent and politically aware. When she was there, her political interest was sparked and she became aware of the steps to political activism.When she returned to her home city, Eleanor discovered her lifelong mate among her childhood friends. A distant cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became affianced to her in 1903. In 1905, Eleanor, led down the aisle by her uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt, married Franklin ("Roosevelt, (Anna) Eleanor"). Within eleven years, she gave birth to six children. She wrote in her autobiography, "I suppose I was fitting pretty well into the pattern of a fairly conventional, quiet, young society matron," ("Anna Eleanor Roosevelt"). Her quiet life did not remain so for long after her marriage began.An unfortunate circumstance caused the growth of Eleanor's political interest. In 1918, Eleanor inadvertently discovered a package of love letters written to Franklin. They had been written by Lucy Mercer, Eleanor's personal secretary and assistant. Though they were never the same as a couple, Eleanor sought to bury herself in her political work as a distraction.A common misconception about Eleanor Roosevelt is that she did not begin her political work until her husband's presidency. Eleanor became a political helpmate to Franklin while he served in the Senate from 1910-1913. When Franklin was struck by poliomyelitis in 1921, she tenderly cared for him while serving as his "eyes and ears" ("Anna Eleanor Roosevelt") in the political world. Eleanor developed an appetite for politics long before her husband was elected to the presidency.Eleanor did not want to be the First Lady. Though she wanted her husband to have the position, she personally did not wish to become a "behind-the-scenes" wife. She had worked very hard to develop her own career apart from Franklin, and she thought that her position as First Lady would shadow her career. Eleanor's thinking on this matter turned out to be mistaken, however.The First Ladies of the United States never had much influence before Eleanor Roosevelt. She set many precedents in the political scene. She held regular press conferences and traveled to parts of the country. She gave radio broadcasts and lectures. She expressed her opinions in her newspaper column, "My Day," which was perhaps the most influential of all the precedents. Eleanor truly changed the role of First Lady.World War II began during Franklin's presidency. Eleanor was made Assistant Director of the Office...

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