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

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Henry Wallace is evidently hopeful that his Progressive party is going to be more successful than the Progressive party of Theodore Roosevelt. Few people may remember the original Progressive party, but I can assure Mr. Wallace that his "successful" convention was far less successful than that of the forerunner. I am afraid I could not be as hopeful as all those young people he talks about either. It amused me very much to read that they could not get beyond a debate on rules and procedure and reach agreement on a platform and pass the resolutions they had before them. That was so characteristic of Communist-dominated youth groups that I have known in the past.

Mr. Wallace should really take a good look at those who controlled his convention, both in his own age group and among the younger ones.

Nothing could be more characteristic than that the scientists, during a press conference, should be stumped by a question, phrased with apparent innocence, from Elisabeth May Craig of Maine.

I have read several times in the past that she often stumped my husband in his press conferences. As a matter of fact, I do not think she often stumped him, but she certainly asked him pertinent questions.

Apparently, the scientists don't yet know all the answers in the atomic era, and, though we will find many uses for the knowledge that they have gained, we may still find ourselves asking a very fundamental question:

What is life all about?

After all, we may someday produce a robot that will walk and speak and seem to have a mind, but if we cannot find a way of putting into it what we call the soul we still will be asking the same question and it won't be answered.

* * *

I went down last night to speak at the Summer Institute of Vassar College. The earnest students whom I met there and who come together for a month to study family life and community resources probably face this question frequently. As they watch their children at play, they must wonder whether they are really getting at the fundamentals that will make their daily lives more productive.

I was talking to them about the Human Rights Commission and its possible effect in helping us to build a peaceful world. It was readily apparent from the questions asked that everybody there was deeply concerned in whether it really lay within the power of the average individual to make some contribution toward preserving a world at peace.

The fear in every heart seems to be that we as individual citizens can do nothing and must drift into whatever the times produce—an atomic war or an age of atomic development for peace. We must accept, we cannot direct—that seems to be the fear in the hearts of so many of our individual citizens.

Until we conquer that fear, we will be in real danger. One of the ways to conquer it is to acknowledge that the scientists do not have all the answers and that some of the strength of human beings must come from faith in other convictions and powers.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics
  • Communism
         [ LC ]
  • Nuclear energy
         [ LC | FAST ]
  • Peace
         [ LC | Wikidata | FAST ]
  • Third parties (United States politics)
         [ LC | FAST ]
  • Youth
         [ LC | FAST ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 29, 1948

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | Wikidata | SNAC ]

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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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text 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 June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.