external image eleanor_roosevelt2.jpgEleanor Roosevelt was the longest serving First Lady of the United States, was born October 11th, 1884 in New York City to Anna Hall Roosevelt and Elliot Roosevelt. She was actively involved in Human Rights' Movements, where she tried to improve conditions for workers and promote equality for all. After she left the Junior League of New York, where she taught immigrants how to dance and calisthenics, she joined the Consumer's league and started to investigate working conditions in the garment district. She became engaged to Franklin Delanor Roosevelt and married him in New York on March 17th,1905. Over the next eleven years the two had six children together, losing one, their third, to influenza. In 1912, the Roosevelts attend their first Democratic Convention together, where both of them were recognized for their interests and potential in politics(2).

Over the next few years of her life, Eleanor dealt with issues in both the private and public spheres of her life. She learned of her husband's infidelity, but remained by his side traveling on his campaign for vice presidency with him. Being that both were in the public eye constantly, Eleanor had to uphold a certain image in the honor of her husband's career. Early in her own career she became a member of the Women's Trade Union League, as well as the Women's Division of the Democratic State Committee. In 1925 she bought the Todd Hunter School for girls where she taught history and government. The DNC appointed Eleanor as the Director of the Bureau for Women's Activities.In 1932, FDR was elected President of the United States, which officially made Eleanor the First Lady of the United States. One year later, she was the first women to hold an all female press conference. Incredibly, in 1940 Eleanor gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that helped her husband to win an unprecedented third term in office(1)!

The years following her husband's success, Eleanor truly began to blossom on her own. In the 1940s she co-founded an NGO that conducts research on democracy,the Freedom House and she supported the formation of the United Nations(2). President Truman appointed her as a delegate in the UN General Assembly, where she was the chair of a committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt was involved in policy changes, focusing primarily on political changes in legislation dealing with equality for all. She was one of the first public officials to publicize important issues and advocate for all through mass media. While her connection with her husband threw her into the standard political realm, she dealt with controversial issues of her own on top of the issues her husband had taken on. She took human rights issues into her own hands, where she focused on economic equality and equal human rights for all. She spent most of her life fighting for political and social change. Through this practice she managed to uphold a certain integrity that most would fall short of being able to do.The first lady needs to uphold a certain degree of excellence while in the public eye and society can be very critical of this at times. Her obligation to her husband and his career was something she had put before her own dreams and desires, and while she had the intention of doing great things for the world, some were not ready for this and spoke out against her intentions. Being the women of her stature, she silently obliged to her husband's demands and took things one step at a time. She worked slowly and quietly to achieve her goals, never faltering or losing sight of what she truly believed in and what she stood for, which in and of itself requires a great amount of integrity.

Cultural ill:
Discrimination. Across the board Eleanor Roosevelt fought against discrimination of all kinds. For one, the American public wasn't sure just how active the first lady should be. She was constantly faced with apprehensiveness about her involvements in human rights affairs. While she was admired by many for her efforts, conservative traditionalist felt that she was out of line and over stepping her boundaries as a first lady. Her marriage also stood in the way of her visions at times, curtailing her efforts and forcing her to resign for various things.

One main challenge for Eleanor was juggling her personal relationship with her husband and he public career as her own person independent from the president. She supported her husband's aims and ideas for the country and believed in him fully as a great leader, but she herself was also a great leader, with her own personal agenda that was forced to the back burner by her husband's career. Many critics of the Fist Family felt that the political realm wasn't the place for the lady, and that Eleanor should have focused more upon being the ideal family women. Upon moving into the White House, FDR asked Eleanor to give up her position teaching at the Tod Hunter school, resign her position on the Democratic National Committee, as well as a few other committees she was a member of concerning women's rights. She agreed to stop commenting on politics in her articles. It was hard for her to deal with that fact that she wasn't just "Eleanor Roosevelt," but the first lady. She was forced to swallow her pride and give up her dreams and aspirations for the sake of her husband's career(3).

1.Black, Allida. "Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum." Editorial.Eleanor Roosevelt at 125 [Hyde Park] 2009: n. pag. Print
2.Glendon, Mary Ann. A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New York: Random House, 2001. Print.
3.Roosevelt, Eleanor. You Learn by Living. New York: Harper, 1960. Print.