Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, contrary to fading into the woodwork and living our her days in peaceful obscurity, took to the world political stage after the death of her husband, Franklin, and became one of the leading lights in the cause of Human Rights and the early founding of the United Nations. From there, she became something of the conscience of the Democratic Party throughout the 1950s, all the way until her death in 1962.
On this episode of the NBC program Meet The Press, Eleanor Roosevelt faces a battery of reporters who ask everything from her choice of Democratic candidates in the off-year elections of 1958, the future of the Democratic Party, the future role of Women in Politics. She is asked asked at one point if she believes there will be a Woman President in the future. She says there will, but not until there are more Women in cabinet positions, as members of the Senate and Congres, more Women involved in grassroots politics and politics on the state and local level. She is also asked about Labor laws and the current legislation over Right To Work and how that affects the Unions in the country.
She is asked about the Cold War, the competition in Education between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and what the future holds for easing tensions between East and West. She is asked about the two China’s; Red China and Nationalist China, and if there will ever be one China represented in the United Nations General Assembly. As someone who was closely associated with Madame Chiang-kai Shek during the War, it was difficult to admit Nationalist China would most likely lose its place in the UN, in eventual favor of allowing Red China admittance. But it’s a highly informative half-hour and a wonderful insight into one of the great figures in American politics in the 1950s.
If you aren’t familiar with who Eleanor Roosevelt was and what her place in the world was, here is a good starting off place. As originally broadcast on October 26, 1958 – here is that Meet The Press interview, complete.