Eleanor Roosevelt's Precedent for Future First Ladies.

Essay by dsabra11High School, 10th gradeA+, May 2003

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When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated into office as the thirty-second president of the United States of America on March 4, 1933, the country's economy was in shambles. It was FDR's job to fix that. While he pledged to help the country get back on its feet economically, another person made an inner-pledge to better the country socially. That person's name was Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin's wife. She vowed to promote civil rights and social justice for all people in the United States. The two made a dynamic pair. They comprised the one of the most popular tandems to live in the White House. In 1918, years before FDR's presidency, Eleanor discovered an affair between FDR and Lucy Mercer, Eleanor's secretary. Upon finding this out she was quoted as saying, "The bottom dropped out of my own particular world. I faced myself, my surroundings, my world, honestly for the first time."

After the discovery, Eleanor was left with a choice: get divorced or continue the marriage. She chose to perpetuate the marriage as long as the affair was ended. Eleanor and Franklin then shared a completely different relationship from there on. This incident allowed Eleanor to realize that she truly could stand apart from her husband and act on her own initiative. Her actions would no longer be guided by his wants, but by hers. Her husband was afflicted with poliomyelitis in 1921. Once he contracted this, he could no longer walk. How could a man would cannot walk, run for president? Eleanor became his eyes and ears from that point on. She thus became much more involved in politics and helped FDR win his bid for the presidency. This opened up many new opportunities for her civil rights-achieving endeavors. Once she officially gained the title of "First Lady" Eleanor Roosevelt...