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

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HYDE PARK, Thursday—Even though Mr. Rexford Tugwell, for whom I have great respect, was apparently satisfied with Mr. Wallace's statement the day before yesterday, I cannot help but wonder about certain things. For instance, a man I understand has been put in charge of some of the Wallace party's work in the Bronx who was once, if I remember rightly, the head of the American Youth Congress. I have no idea what his political beliefs are, but he might possibly fall into the category of people Mr. Wallace tries to describe, who certainly do not want to overthrow this government by force, but who still are tempted to certain changes which might seem harmless but to some of us, would be fairly basic. For instance Russia calls herself a democracy. Her representatives call the United States a "bourgeois democracy," but Russia herself according to them, is a simon-pure democracy.

Of course, if we want to be strictly accurate, we were established as a republic with a representative form of government. I had a letter from a gentleman yesterday who advocates world government and who says that as long as governments and not people are in control of the organizational machinery of the world, there will be no peace. The only thing that bothers me about that is how are the peoples to function in world government. It seems to me they will have to choose representatives and those representatives will have to represent the governments of the world and the peoples. That is the way we function supposedly in the United States. We choose representatives who become a part of our government and its functioning. Some people are disfranchised, but on the whole we do well. We can turn our representatives out if they displease us but they have a certain tenure of office and may do a great many things we do not like during that period. And yet in what other way could we possibly as people, be represented?

Many of the people who write me advocating world government are Wallace followers largely because they desire peace, and Mr. Wallace promises them peace. I desire peace too, but here we are with Russia having taken a very decided step towards war in closing her consulates and demanding that we close ours too. All this came about because a Russian school teacher decided that since her husband and son had disappeared she wished to come to this country and leave Russia for good. Why did the USSR officials try to take her back? Why didn't they let her carry out her very simple desire? I suppose they were afraid she would tell the story she has now told, which is not a pretty story for people either within the USSR borders or outside them. None of us like to feel we may disappear and never be heard from again, but in a police state this seems to be inevitable. And the thing that worries me is that within totalitarian borders, the fascist steps that led to World War II are so easily duplicated by any totalitarian government.

E. R.


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, August 27, 1948

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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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.