The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


HYDE PARK, Tuesday—All over the world our men will observe the Fourth of July. Even some of the nationals of foreign countries are going to celebrate this national holiday of the United States of America. I have a communication from our Ambassador in Brazil asking if I would accept, through our Ambassador, an honor which they wish to extend in memory of my husband on this important day.

This means that people throughout the world are going to ask what happened on July Fourth which made the American people choose it as their national holiday. They will be told that on that day a document was written in which a very small group of men set forth their convictions as to what was right or wrong. These men then led a successful war to uphold these convictions and freed themselves from a strong power across the sea that, at that time, was not concerned with the rights of people far away. Then they wrote a Constitution, to which they appended a Bill of Rights which delegated certain powers to their representatives in government, but retained the vast majority of fundamental powers in the hands of the people themselves.

* * *

What we remember most on the Fourth of July and what, I think, will impress itself most on the peoples of other nations as they read our Declaration of Independence, is that our concern was with human rights. In the last few years all over the world this question of human rights has been increasingly of importance to the people.

I think when the history of this past twelve years is written, we will find a very great development in the awareness of the people that their government belongs to them and is designed to furnish them with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

We have had periods here when property rights transcended human rights. But because our continent was such a vast one to develop, there was room for the development of property and its protection and we did not greatly harm the rights of human beings.

* * *

We have reached a point today, however—obviously we have been working toward it steadily during the last twelve years—when all questions will be considered first from the standpoint of human rights. That is going to hold good, I believe, throughout the world.

Perhaps, therefore, it is fitting that more and more this national holiday of ours should become known and respected by the peoples of the world. For the truths set down in the Declaration of Independence are the fundamentals of a lasting peace. If we are to move forward under the new charter toward a peaceful world, we must accept in all the United Nations these truths and it is well that we should remind ourselves individually in the U. S. A. that the Fourth of July is a day on which we glorify human rights.

E. R.

(Copyright, 1945, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 4, 1945

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

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.