Eleanor Roosevelt's Precedent For Future First Ladies.

962 words - 4 pages

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated into office as the thirty-second president of the United States of America on March 4, 1933, the country's economy was in shambles. It was FDR's job to fix that. While he pledged to help the country get back on its feet economically, another person made an inner-pledge to better the country socially. That person's name was Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin's wife. She vowed to promote civil rights and social justice for all people in the United States. The two made a dynamic pair. They comprised the one of the most popular tandems to live in the White House. In 1918, years before FDR's presidency, Eleanor discovered an affair between FDR and Lucy Mercer, Eleanor's secretary. Upon finding this out she was quoted as saying, "The bottom dropped out of my own particular world. I faced myself, my surroundings, my world, honestly for the first time." After the discovery, Eleanor was left with a choice: get divorced or continue the marriage. She chose to perpetuate the marriage as long as the affair was ended. Eleanor and Franklin then shared a completely different relationship from there on. This incident allowed Eleanor to realize that she truly could stand apart from her husband and act on her own initiative. Her actions would no longer be guided by his wants, but by hers. Her husband was afflicted with poliomyelitis in 1921. Once he contracted this, he could no longer walk. How could a man would cannot walk, run for president? Eleanor became his eyes and ears from that point on. She thus became much more involved in politics and helped FDR win his bid for the presidency. This opened up many new opportunities for her civil rights-achieving endeavors. Once she officially gained the title of "First Lady" Eleanor Roosevelt took full advantage of being at the top of the food chain, and helped all of the lesser fortunate people by speaking out against what she felt unjust. She accomplished great things during her "reign" and set a tremendous precedent to follow for later First Ladies.After the affair was discovered by Eleanor, she did as she pleased with her time. She happened to decide to help better the nation as a whole. She did this by joining several reformist organizations, including "a circle of postsuffrage feminists dedicated to the abolition of child labor, the establishment of a minimum wage and the passage of legislation to protect workers." It was during this time that she discovered her hidden talent for speech-giving. She put this gift to use by delivering speeches rather often for the organizations she was part of. When Franklin became paralyzed from the polio, Eleanor's political activism took off like a rocket and she gained much knowledge. The woman who, during her honeymoon in Scotland, was asked the difference between America's national and state governments and replied...

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