Eleanor Roosevelt Essay example

5235 Words May 25th, 2006 21 Pages
A LIFE OF LEADERSHIP Introduction The legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt is essentially contested. To many, her role as First Lady, delegate to the UN, Democratic Party member, humanitarian and social activist immortalized her as "the conscience of the nation". However critics - deriding her as a "gadfly" and an "unfit woman" - cite many flaws in her leadership capacity. Roosevelt was never elected to office. She was reluctant to assume the responsibilities of being the First Lady. Unlike Lincoln or King no single ‘great' speech defined her vision, passion or ideology. In effect, the success of Roosevelt is merely the result of a privileged background and simply being ‘in the right place, at the right time'. This
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Her mother was ashamed of this facet of her daughter's person and Eleanor was brought up being very conscious of her looks and her lack of manners. She had an unhealthy obsession with her looks and it is obvious from her biography that it was an element of her person that she could not come to terms with in her early years. She attended dances and was notably affected by the lack of attention shown to her. "By no stretch of the imagination was I a popular debutante!" She struggled with this obsession through her whole career and it may have been responsible for her discomfort in the ceremonial role of "First Lady" Eleanor was heavily influenced by her elitist background, as she was probably more strictly kept to the formalities than were many of her friends. " I was a curious mix of extreme innocence and unworldliness with a great deal of knowledge of some of the less agreeable sides of life, which didn't seem to make me any more sophisticated or less innocent." She admitted that she had "painfully high ideals and a tremendous sense of duty entirely unrelieved by any sense of humour". Things were either right or wrong toher. Her privileged lifestyle and that of those around her had forced her into a complacency that blinkered her from recognizing the necessity to change. Although Eleanor had high standards of what it meant to be a wife and mother, she did

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