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

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PARIS, Friday—On Election Day I left by train for Lyon, France, with Mr. L. C. Brady, U.S. Embassy attache, to attend a convocation ceremony and to accept an honorary degree at the University Lausanne.

There was, of course, no news of our elections when I boarded the train, since the polls were not yet closed. But when I arrived the next morning, reporters greeted me with news that President Truman was leading by only a thousand votes.

I went through most of the day getting bulletins, none of which seemed decisive. I realized that it was six hours earlier in the United States, but even then it was evident that the Presidential race was a very close one. I began to think with amusement about all those people who for weeks had been predicting an overwhelming Dewey victory—more because they wished for it than because there was real evidence of one. I will acknowledge that when one party has held power for so many years one thinks that the law of averages should bring about a change, but in this particular case, there was a good deal at stake. And the question was would the people realize it.

Evidently political experts who claimed to be wise to the way people were thinking didn't know the answer.

When we reached the old university building, I found that Dr. Maurice Lugeon, the very noted Professor of geology, and honorary head of the University of Lausanne, was also to receive a degree.

When the procession formed, we walked directly to the assembly hall where a wonderful choir sang the national anthems of the United States, Switzerland and France.

I was much impressed with the awe-inspiring honorary degree of Doctor of Letters which was presented well as with the fine medal and the beauty of my cap and shoulder decorations. All of these will occupy places of honor in Hyde Park library, and will serve as another link between our country and France.

We then made short speeches at the students' association center in another part of town and Dr. Lugeon was presented with a volume of student songs.

I didn't want to take the train back to Paris and chance missing the delegation meeting which had been called at six-thirty p.m., so we decided to fly back.

To my joy I found there was a pleasure radio aboard the plane and we promptly tuned in the Voice of America for the election returns. I heard that both the House and Senate were Democratic, but that the Presidency still was undecided.

But one thing was certain—something I had felt all along—Mister Wallace had polled around a million votes. I was sure the American people would express themselves in no uncertain terms on policies which he stood for and my faith in their common sense proved correct.

Gov. Thurmond didn't seem to win the complete support of the South, as might have been expected. I am almost led to believe that the South will join with the rest of the country and support the two-party system in the future. It would be a far healthier situation.

When I reached the Hotel Crillon, I was greeted with the news that Gov. Dewey had conceded the election and had sent a congratulatory message to President Truman.

The people had not only reelected President Truman, but they had given him the power to put through Democratic legislation to fulfill the promises of policies he upholds.

I'm free to say that I didn't think labor could do as well as they did in their first year of educating its members to bear civic responsibility through their individual votes. Labor's success in this respect was certainly a big factor in the election.

As a result they will have greater responsibilities not only as labor people but as citizens with great power.

I feel very happy and proud as a citizen of the United States that the people of my country, regardless of Communist pressure and newspapers advocating isolationism, have proven not only their belief in Democracy, but their actual ability to use the power that is theirs to make their voices heard in unmistakable terms.

Long live democracy!

E. R.


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  • Paris (France) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 6, 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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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.