What are the main achievements of the FDR

Eleanor Roosevelt - the First Lady of Human Rights

Wife and mother

Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884 to Anna Hall Roosevelt in New York. Physical beauty was a central value for her mother, and she was correspondingly disappointed with her first daughter, who turned out to be a tall, lanky girl with protruding teeth.

Her father Elliott Roosevelt, however, adored her. When her mother died in December 1892, the alcoholic father was not allowed to take the children with him. Eleanor was raised by her strict grandmother Hall and later sent to a private school in London.

When Eleanor returned to New York at the age of 18, she was inducted into New York society and there again met a distant cousin: the handsome Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom she married on March 17, 1905.

While Eleanor had six children over the years, her husband made a career as a senator. As a housewife and mother, she learned to submit to Franklin's dominant mother, Sara, who also decided how to raise the children.

It was only when she discovered that her husband was having a relationship with his secretary that Eleanor realized how unhappy she was in a marriage that was all based on duty. "I really saw myself, my surroundings for the first time," she wrote later.

Eleanor offered Franklin a divorce, but out of consideration for the children and because of the foreseeable scandal that would have meant the political end for Franklin, they decided against it. Eleanor became active, started her own life and made her mark as the leading female figure in the Democratic Party in New York State.

Tireless activist

When Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921, Eleanor became his trusted and tireless reporter, becoming his eyes and ears.

Eleanor traveled around the country in his place, met people, observed, talked and carried her findings to Washington. Her answer to the question of whether polio had changed her husband's mentality earned her a standing ovation: "Anyone who has suffered a lot necessarily has more compassion and understanding of human problems."

Eleanor's commitment ultimately resulted in Franklin running for president despite his illness and being elected President of the United States in 1932.

From now on, their activities were followed more closely than before and the press discussed the question of how active an American first lady was allowed to be at all.

Independent first lady

Two days after Franklin's inauguration, Eleanor gave her first weekly press conference, to which only reporters ("the press girls") were allowed. As a result, all newspapers had to hire at least one female reporter. Eleanor hoped to be able to formulate topics at these conferences that were of special interest to the women of the country.

Actually, she should discuss everyday women’s stories and not political issues at these conferences. But she wanted to spark controversy and thus bring up topics to which too little attention was paid.

Eleanor began to work regularly as a journalist and published articles, radio reports and columns. After her husband's death on April 12, 1945, she said to reporters: "The story is over". Because she was convinced that her political influence would decline rapidly without the president behind her.

Unconventional human rights activist

But when the founding event of the United Nations took place on June 26, 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt was given the most important task of her life. She became the US Ambassador to the United Nations and was one of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission established in 1946, she knew how to defend her agenda and presented her arguments in a sharp tone that did not tolerate contradiction.

When the United Nations was founded, negotiations with the Soviet Union on the establishment of common values ​​proved extremely difficult. "Of course I'm a woman and I don't understand any of these things," she first appeased her opponents.

But then she hit hard and said: Of course the Americans are ready to let Soviet observers into the country. But only if the Russians did the same.

On December 10, 1948, the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" was adopted, thanks not least to Eleanor Roosevelt's diplomatic skills. After intensive negotiations, at three o'clock in the morning it announced that the human rights declaration "would be a help, guide and inspiration for millions of people."

She remained committed to social policy into old age. Eleanor Roosevelt died on November 7, 1962 at the age of 78. The girl, who was once laughed at by her mother for her alleged ugliness, had given American women a new sense of self: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."