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Eleanor Roosevelt

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 of politics.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt

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 in 1929.

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.


 

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