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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:36 PM

Eleanor: The Radical Roosevelt


from YES! Magazine:


Eleanor: The Radical Roosevelt
Hollywood just can’t seem to tell the truth about Eleanor Roosevelt, who was a fierce defender of human rights. Historian Peter Dreier steps in to set the record straight.

by Peter Dreier
posted Jan 24, 2013


Many younger Americans probably know little about Eleanor Roosevelt, and if their first encounter with her is the new film Hyde Park on Hudson, what they’ll learn is incredibly misleading and inaccurate. Other films—including Sunrise at Campobello (1960); the two-part Eleanor and Franklin HBO mini-series (1976); Eleanor, First Lady of the World (1982); and Warm Springs (2005)—have depicted different aspects of her life. Yet not one of these films accurately portrays the depth and influence of Eleanor’s radicalism.

Hyde Park on Hudson focuses on the relationship between President Franklin Roosevelt (played by Bill Murray) and his distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Stuckley (Laura Linney) during a weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of England are visiting the Roosevelts at their second home in upstate New York. The film shows FDR and Stuckley having a sexual love affair, although many historians believe that their relationship was merely a flirtation.

Given its focus on the affair, it is perhaps not surprising that the film treats Eleanor (Olivia Williams) primarily as a ceremonial helpmate whose major function is to help FDR negotiate the social rituals of being president. The biggest controversy Eleanor deals with in the film is whether to serve hot dogs to the British royals.

In reality, Eleanor’s life—before she met FDR, during the 13 years she served as first lady, and after FDR died in 1945—was filled with important public controversies, including her activism around such issues as workers’ rights, civil rights, women’s rights, and human rights. She became FDR’s most important, and most progressive, advisor. FDR was the most powerful president in American history, and Eleanor (who died in 1962) wielded her own power, sometimes behind the scenes but often in public, breaking the mold for first ladies. No first lady before or since—not even Hillary Clinton—has had as much influence while her husband was president. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/eleanor-the-radical-roosevelt



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marmar Jan 2013 OP
MannyGoldstein Jan 2013 #1

Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:36 PM

1. Eleanor and Frances Perkins fed FDR's conscience

Amazing, amazing people.

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