My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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"The fact is that nobody can live in the White House today...and live a 'usual American life.' We are generally speaking a silly, sentimental folk with a preconceived notion of what democratic simplicity ought to be... Here we have outgrown most of Europe in scope in our international contact, and we still refuse to surround high officials and their families with not only protection from outside but what is more important, protection from themselves and their own understandable lack of official common sense."

The above quotations are taken from a communication to a New York Metropolitan Daily, and they bring up a very interesting point. If we do not allow our high American officials and their families to lead a "usual American life," I wonder how long we would have a really representative type of American in official life? We surround our Presidents now with what protection has been deemed necessary from the outside and most of the Presidents have found it irksome, and at times very harmful, in that it cuts them off from the ability to keep in touch with people in the way they have been accustomed to do all through their lives.

Perhaps the elected official himself might be so busy with his duties that he could forget for the most part a strictly supervised mode of life. But for his family what would the results be? An American boy or girl having to go out to live a "usual American life" after four or eight years of seclusion, would find themselves handicapped for life, and what man, having a family, would willingly subject them to this kind of an existence, suitable for hereditary princelings no doubt whose lives must follow along the same way as long as they live unless they abdicate in favor of a "usual life" in whatever country they may happen to be. I have a feeling that the gentleman who wrote this communication knows our "international contacts" even better than he knows his own country. I still believe the people in this country want their representatives to be average American citizens leading "usual American lives."


About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 9, 1936

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
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  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a draft version of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. My Day column draft dated January 8, 1936, FDR Library, Hyde Park, NY
TMsd, 8 January 1936, AERP, FDRL