Eleanor Roosevelt.

Essay by suejohnson17University, Master'sA+, August 2003

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Eleanor Roosevelt


Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the greatest humanitarians and visionaries of our time. She had many life experiences and relationships that influenced her, creating a life of profound self-fulfillment, bold political action and a love of humanity. In a farewell speech made to the New York City Women's Trade Union League before entering the White House as first lady in 1933, her comments foreshadows her lifetime endeavors as a woman committed to humanity; " I truly believe that I understand what faces the great masses of people in the country today. I have no illusions that anyone can change the world in a short time. Things cannot be completely changed in five minutes. Yet I do believe that even a few people, who want to understand, to help and to do the right thing for the great numbers of people instead of the few can help." (Lash, 1984, PG 58)

Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 11, 1884.

She was the daughter of Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt and the niece of the famous Teddy Roosevelt. They were a very wealthy, high society family. Although they had much wealth, Eleanor never lived a protected life. Between her father and her young uncles and aunts she would see active alcoholism, adultery, child molestation, rape and abandonment. Growing up with scandal had her pursue early on, a life of self-fulfillment and meaningful work rather than a futile life of keeping a high society profile. Eleanor's mother, who was known for her beauty, thought Eleanor as ugly and a disappointment and let Eleanor know this. When her mother died in 1892, all the children went to live with Grandmother Hall; her father, who she loved dearly, died only two years later. The pain she suffered as...