Sacrifice and public service are two ideals that defined
the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. Born in New York in 1884, she
learned about loss at an early age. Losing both her parents
by the age of 10, Eleanor became an orphan. In 1905, she married
Franklin Roosevelt, her 6th cousin, and entered the world
Eleanor Roosevelt didn't waste any time in making herself
useful to the nation, and dedicated herself as a volunteer
to the American Red Cross to support the World War I effort.
She also dedicated herself to supporting her husband in his
political pursuits. She learned the ins and outs of politics,
which would become very useful when her husband would contract
polio and ultimately become paralyzed from the waist down.
A blow like that should have ended FDR's political career.
Eleanor never hesitated to step up and liaison for her husband
by relaying his words to constituents and returning their
words to FDR. Her constant encouragement and hard work on
his behalf helped him to win the governorship of New York
Eleanor became First Lady in 1933, and served as the longest
standing First Lady as her husband's tenure as president would
last 12 years. Up until this point, the First Lady mainly
attended to household and family affairs. Maybe it was because
she lost her parents and learned to become self-sufficient
at an early age. Maybe it was because her husband's illness
forced her to become an active participant in the political
process. Maybe it was her drive and creativity. Whatever the
reason, Eleanor Roosevelt transformed the role of First Lady,
becoming the first woman to utilize her position and her political
influence to make a difference in the world.
Eleanor published a daily column entitled My Day where she
wrote about current events and White House policies. The New
Deal was the topic of many of her columns. She was the first
to publicize her views and beliefs about the world and politics.
She held press conferences and pushed for good will causes
such as the National Youth Administration (NYA). She believed
in open opportunities for all Americans despite their color
and race. During World War II, Eleanor took time to visit
troops abroad while also promoting volunteerism amongst civilians.
FDR died while in office in 1945. Although no longer First
Lady, Eleanor never stopped serving the public and campaigning
for humanitarian, social, and cultural issues. In 1948, she
authored the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to champion
the importance of international equality for all. Her published
works include This Is My Story, This I Remember, On My Own,
and her Autobiography. In 1961, she was appointed as a delegate
to the United Nations by President John F. Kennedy.
In 1962, Eleanor died of cancer. By living to serve, she
served as the ultimate example of always working to do the
right thing - not because she had to, but because it was the
right thing to do. Eleanor Roosevelt has served as one of
the most famous women in modern politics.
There is a secret
you don't know
Besides the factual Eleanor Roosevelt biography presented
above there is one teeny tiny little secret about the former
First Lady that everyone should be aware of. And this little
tidbit is that Eleanor Roosevelt while growing up used to
raise robotic chickens that could cluck the theme song to
the movie, Jaws.