Eleanor Roosevelt

A shy, awkward child, starved for recognition and love, Eleanor Roosevelt grew into a woman
with great sensitivity to the underprivileged of all creeds, races, and nations. Her constant
work to improve their lot made her one of the most loved--and for some years one of the
most revered women of her generation.

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All human beings have failings, all human beings have needs and temptations and stresses.  Men and women who live together through long years get to know one another's failings; but they also come to know what is worthy of respect and admiration in those they live with and in themselves.  If at the end one can say, "This man used to the limit the powers that God granted him; he was worthy of love and respect and of the sacrifices of many people, made in order that he might achieve what he deemed to be his task," then that life has been lived well and there are no regrets.

A successful life for a man or for a woman seems to me to lie in the knowledge that one has developed to the limit the capacities with which one was endowed; that one has contributed something constructive to family and friends and to a home community; that one has brought happiness wherever it was possible; that one has earned one's way in the world, has kept some friends, and need not be ashamed to face oneself honestly.
For it isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
Every time you meet a situation, though you think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the torture of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it, you find that forever you are freer than you were before.

A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.


No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.


It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.



When you cease to make a
contribution, you begin to die.

Somehow we learn who we really are
and then live with that decision. 


Friendship with oneself is all-important,
because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else.


In the long run we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. 
The process never ends until we die.
And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.



The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.


Remember always that you have not only the right to
be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.


No one from the beginning of time has had security.


You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience
in which you really stop to look fear in the face. . . .
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.


I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things
they fear to do, provided they keep doing them until they
get a record of successful experiences behind them.


When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done,
have the courage to stand alone and be counted.


The only person who makes no mistakes is the person who never does anything.


Do not be afraid of mistakes, providing
you do not make the same one twice.

When you get to the end of your rope--
tie a knot in it and hang on.

Nearly all great civilizations that perished did so because they
had crystallized, because they were incapable of adapting
themselves to new conditions, new methods, new points of view.
It is as though people would literally rather die than change.

A little simplification would be the first
step toward rational living, I think.

Usefulness, whatever form it may take, is the price we should pay
for the air we breathe and the food we eat and the privilege of being alive.


One thing we know beyond all doubt:  Nothing has ever
been achieved by the person who says, "It can't be done."


So much attention is paid to the aggressive sins,
such as violence and cruelty and greed with all their tragic effects,
that too little attention is paid to the passive sins,
such as apathy and laziness, which in the long run can have
a more devastating and destructive effect upon society than the others.


I have never given very deep thought to a philosophy of life, though I have a few ideas that I think are useful to me.  One is that you do whatever comes your way as well as you can, and another is that you think as little as possible about yourself and as much as possible about other people and about things that are interesting.  The third is that you get more joy out of giving joy to others and should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.



When will our consciences grow so tender
that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?


As for accomplishments, I just did
what I had to do as things came along.

All big changes in human history have been arrived at slowly and through many compromises.


I could not, at any age, be content to take my place
by the fireside and simply look on.  Life was meant
to be lived.  Curiosity must be kept alive.  One must
never, for whatever reason, turn his or her back on life.

Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe,
will, I think, recognize that the domination of education or
of government by any one particular religious faith is never
a happy arrangement for the people.

A mature person is one who is does not think only in absolutes, who is
able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who
has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and all things,
and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life,
knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore
all of us need both love and charity.


I could not at any age be content to take my place
in a corner by the fireside and simply look on.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known
defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found
their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a
sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion,
gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Eleanor Roosevelt

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She was born in New York City on October 11, 1884, daughter of lovely Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt,
younger brother of Theodore.  When her mother died in 1892, the children went to live with
Grandmother Hall; her adored father died only two years later.  Attending a distinguished school
in England gave her, at 15, her first chance to develop self-confidence among other girls.

Tall, slender, graceful of figure but apprehensive at the thought of being a wallflower, she returned
for a debut that she dreaded.  In her circle of friends was a distant cousin, handsome young
Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  They became engaged in 1903 and were married in 1905, with her
uncle the President giving the bride away.  Within eleven years Eleanor bore six children; one son
died in infancy.  "I suppose I was fitting pretty well into the pattern of a fairly conventional, quiet,
young society matron," she wrote later in her autobiography.

In Albany, where Franklin served in the state Senate from 1910 to 1913, Eleanor started her
long career as political helpmate.  She gained a knowledge of Washington and its ways while he
served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.  When he was stricken with poliomyelitis in 1921,
she tended him devotedly.  She became active in the women's division of the State Democratic
Committee to keep his interest in politics alive.  From his successful campaign for governor in 1928
to the day of his death, she dedicated her life to his purposes.  She became eyes and ears for him,
a trusted and tireless reporter.

When Mrs. Roosevelt came to the White House in 1933, she understood social conditions better
than any of her predecessors and she transformed the role of First Lady accordingly.  She never
shirked official entertaining; she greeted thousands with charming friendliness.  She also broke
precedent to hold press conferences, travel to all parts of the country, give lectures and radio
broadcasts, and express her opinions candidly in a daily syndicated newspaper column, "My Day."

This made her a tempting target for political enemies but her integrity, her graciousness,
and her sincerity of purpose endeared her personally to many--from heads of state to
servicemen she visited abroad during World War II.  As she had written wistfully at 14:
"...no matter how plain a woman may be if truth and loyalty are stamped upon
her face all will be attracted to her...."

After the President's death in 1945 she returned to a cottage at his Hyde Park estate;
she told reporters: "the story is over."  Within a year, however, she began her service
as American spokesman in the United Nations.  She continued a vigorous career until
her strength began to wane in 1962.  She died in New York City that November,
and was buried at Hyde Park beside her husband.

Taken from the White House site dedicated to First Women at


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