Eleanor Roosevelt was a famous American First Lady, and a prominent social, and political activist. Let us have a look at her contributions, and other related events of her life, arranged chronologically.
|Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt was a Famous American First Lady. She was, perhaps, the most politically active First Lady of all time. Even after her husband’s death, she worked for various social, and political causes. She made many priceless contributions during her illustrious life.
Eleanor symbolized a strong, independent, and politically active woman of the twentieth century. She was actively engaged in International and National level politics. She was a humanitarian who played a crucial role in setting up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Her transformation from a shy woman to a charismatic orator impacted the nation, and the world alike. Although she worked in favor of bettering the plight of working women, she was against the Equal Rights Amendment, because she thought that it would act against them.
Here, we take a look at the key events in her life.
|Eleanor was born on October 11, 1884 in New York City. Her father was Elliott Roosevelt, and her mother was Anna Hall Roosevelt.
|After her mother died of diphtheria, her grandmother Mary Ludlow Hall took custody of her brothers and herself.
|Her father died of alcoholism.
|Eleanor was sent to Allenswood Academy, an English finishing school, where Headmistress Marie Souvestre became her mentor.
|Her uncle, Theodore Roosevelt was chosen as the President after McKinley was assassinated.
|Eleanor left Allenswood (England) and came back to the U.S. to teach gymnastics/calisthenics, and dancing to foreigners.
Life After Marrying FDR
|Eleanor was engaged to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), who was a distant cousin.
|She married him on March 17, 1905 in New York City.
|She gave birth to their first-born daughter, Anna.
|One year later, she gave birth to a son, James.
|Their third child, Franklin Jr. died of influenza in the same year.
|On September 23, she gave birth to their fourth child, Elliot.
|She attended her first Democratic Party convention.
|Her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Lucy Mercer was hired as Eleanor’s social secretary.
|Eleanor gave birth to their fifth child, Franklin Jr. on August 17. World War I broke out in Europe.
|On March 13, their sixth and last son – John – was born.
|U.S. entered World War I.
|Eleanor discovered Franklin Roosevelt’s affair with her social secretary, Lucy Mercer.
|She recommended a divorce, but his mother and his personal political advisor strongly opposed it. So to keep his political career, and his family life intact, Franklin stopped seeing Lucy Mercer. Meanwhile, Eleanor volunteered at St. Elizabeth Hospital, and visited World War I veterans. She also worked as a translator at International Congress of Working Women.
|Eleanor campaigned for Franklin Roosevelt on his unsuccessful bid for the Vice President’s post. Eleanor joined the union of women voters, and the U.S. Congress amended the law, and granted women the right to vote.
|Eleanor nursed her husband Franklin who was affected with polio at the age of 39. She published her first article on, Common Sense Versus Party Regularity.
|Eleanor joined the Women’s Trade Union League and Women’s Division of the Democratic State Committee.
|She wrote another bulletin on Why I am a Democrat.
|Eleanor joined the Women’s City Club with an attempt to influence the public officials to favor equal pay to women, and to consider amending the child labor laws.
|Eleanor began her career as a radio host, and distributed information on political issues affecting women, appealed to the listeners to help raise money and blood for the Red Cross Society, and also delivered innumerable speeches on international peace and civil rights.
|She started a school for girls, and taught them history and government.
|She wrote What I Want Most Out of Life for Success magazine.
|Franklin D. Roosevelt became governor of New York State. Eleanor led the Bureau of Women’s Activities and Democratic National Committee with the help of Molly Dewson. Redbook magazine published her work on Women Must Learn to Play the Game as Men Do.
|The Great Depression was caused due to crash of The New York Stock Exchange that led to a rise in unemployment, poverty and vagrancy.
|Eleanor argued in favor of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, and defended its president David Dubinsky against the Fifth avenue dressmakers.
|Franklin Roosevelt planned to run for Presidential election. Eleanor helped and compiled a memoir for him. She also wrote an article onBuilding Character.
After Becoming First Lady
|Franklin Roosevelt won the U.S. Presidential election. Eleanor said that the country should not expect her to be a symbol of elegance, but rather ‘plain, ordinary Mrs. Roosevelt’.
|She became the first First Lady to hold regular press conferences. She began a monthly column called I Want You to Write to Mewith Woman’s Home Companion magazine, inviting the general public to ask her personal as well as political questions. She also wrote several documents on How to Choose a Candidate, Be Curious and Educated, Ten Rules for Success in Marriage, and many more …
|Eleanor began another syndicated column called My Day. She wrote and covered many of her experiences like A Trip To Washington with Bobby and Betty, Woman’s Work Is Never Done, and Facing the Problems of Youth. She toured the Ohio coal mine. She also helped create the Federal Writers, Artists, Music, and Theater Projects, and the National Youth Administration.
|Eleanor chaired the Washington Commission on Housing. She joined the American Newspaper Guild. Franklin Roosevelt won the U.S. Presidential election for the second time.
|She supported the Spanish civil war in her speeches and columns. She wrote her autobiography This Is My Story, and a question and answer column Dear Mrs. Roosevelt. She lobbied for the Wagner-Steagall Act.
|Eleanor wrote Tolerance and This Troubled World. She campaigned against the Poll Tax. She lobbied for the Wagner Health Bill. She convened a White House Conference on Participation of Negro Women and Children in Federal Welfare Programs.
|World War II broke out in Europe. Eleanor addressed NAACP national convention in Richmond.
|She wrote Women in Politics and The Moral Basis of Democracy. She convoked Hampton Institute Conference on the African-Americans’ role in the war effort.
|Eleanor and other Americans concerned about the threat to democracy established Freedom House. She began her third term as the First Lady. She addressed the nation on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese.
|Eleanor wrote on Race, Religion and Prejudice. She met the British leaders and Allied troops. She suggested that women also should be employed in war industries.
|She wrote on Abolish Jim Crow. She opposed the Smith-Connally Act, called it damaging to labor. She also visited seventeen South Pacific islands, Australia, and New Zealand to boost the troop morale.
|Eleanor wrote on How To Take Criticism. She opened the White House Conference on How Women May Share in Post-War Policy Making, and volunteered critical support for establishment of War Refugee Board.
After the Death of FDR
|Eleanor’s husband Franklin died on April 12 in Georgia. Eleanor declined many offers directed to her to run as Governor of New York, Senator from New York, or Director of National Citizens Political Action Committee. She addressed the nation on V-J day.
|U.S. President Truman appointed Eleanor as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. She was allotted the committee on Humanitarian, Social and Cultural Concerns. She wrote on Why I Do Not Choose to Run, and Human Rights and Human Freedom.
|Eleanor began the work of drafting the Declaration of Human Rights. She supported the Marshall Plan, but disapproved Truman’s plan for demanding loyalty oaths from government employees.
|She disagreed with State Department policy towards Russia. Eleanor wrote on The Promise of Human Rights, Liberals in This Year of Decision, Plain Talk about Wallace, and conducted a lecture on The Struggles for the Rights of Man in Sorbonne university.
|Eleanor criticized Taft-Hartley restrictions. She wrote on This I Remember, and Making Human Rights Come Alive.
|She began an NBC television and radio show.
|Eleanor opposed Senator McCarthy. She led the General Assembly meeting in Paris. She also carried out a weekly radiocast for “Voice of America” in French, German, Spanish, and Italian.
|Eleanor spoke to the UN on political rights for women. She supported Adlai Stevenson for Presidential elections, and resigned (reluctantly) from the United Nations after Republican President Eisenhower won the elections.
Her Later Years
|She initiated a campaign against Bricker Amendment, and also wrote books on UN: Today and Tomorrow, and India and the Awakening East.
|Eleanor opposed Communist Control Act. The Brown v. Board of Education decided to integrate public schools to gain equal rights, and racial harmony among all.
|She attended the World Federation of United Nations Associations Conference. She also wrote several books on Social Responsibility for Individual Welfare and United Nations: What You Should Know About It.
|She supported the Powell Amendment, denying federal funds for construction of segregated schools. She declined support to John F. Kennedy in his quest for the Vice President.
|She also traveled to the Soviet Union for the New York Post, and interviewed Nikita Khrushchev. She traveled a lot, and worked tirelessly for the betterment of African-Americans in America.
|She helped launch New York Committee for Democratic voters. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) had threatened to kill Eleanor, because she was teaching and lecturing people on how to protest discrimination.
|Eleanor testified before the Congress in support of minimum wage. She wrote books on Where I Get My Energy, Why I Am Opposed to ‘Right to Work’ Laws and Is America Facing World Leadership, and also anchored a television show called Prospects of Mankind.
|Eleanor campaigned for John F. Kennedy’s Presidential bid. She also conducted foreign policy lectures at Brandeis University. She wrote books on Growing Toward Peace, You Learn By Living, andMy Advice to the Next First Lady.
|President Kennedy nominated Eleanor back to the UN, and assigned her the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. She wrote books on What Has Happened to the American Dream?, Your Teens and Mine, and The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt.
|Eleanor was 78 years old when she died of tuberculosis and heart failure on November 7, in New York . She was buried on November 11, in Hyde Park.
Eleanor Roosevelt was more than just the First Lady of America. She dedicated her entire professional career towards improving the lives of others, wrote sixteen books, moderated two radio shows, wrote more than hundred articles, and also hosted her own television news program. Through her various stints in different fields of work, she created a name for herself, and ensured that the future generations remember her for her own individual efforts, rather than just being labeled as the President’s wife.