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

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Nowadays after the President's budget message has been delivered, there is always one thing that makes some impression on each of us. I think the thing that fills me with regret is that past wars and the present cold war require 71 percent of the total budget.

The destruction and rehabilitation made necessary by recent wars are terrific burdens even for our prosperous nation. What must the burden be for the peoples of other nations! It fills me, however, with envy when I think of what might be done if we could release some of this money at least and put it in health and education. People have thought of this for generations but we seem to go on in the same old way.

If only we could come to a clear and agreed policy in international relations so that we could finish the organization of the United Nations and put joint force under international control, the expenses for all the great nations, as well as for the small ones, would be materially decreased and the security of all nations would be on the increase. This cannot happen, however, until Russia ceases to think of us—and to call us on every opportunity—as an imperialist nation. If she, herself, would stop annexing new territory and broadening the area of communistic thought in the world, she might convince us that she really did not intend to go to war. Then there might be some chance of agreement between the statesmen of the two nations on strengthening the United Nations and cutting down on our individual expenses.

Russia needs a period of peace far more than we do. During past generations she has had a vast majority of her people whom she could not train in a way that would fit them to fill the necessary high positions in a fully developed nation. She needs enormously to strengthen her machinery for general education and for specialized services along many lines. The burden of constantly spreading her influence over greater areas of territory must be an almost impossible weight for her people to carry.

In the speech made by Governor Paul A. Dever of Massachusetts in his legislature the other day there are some paragraphs that indicate that an intelligent public official, when his attention is drawn to a situation within the state, can vastly increase his knowledge and understanding along lines which may have been unfamiliar to his thinking in the past.

Dr. Miriam Van Waters, Superintendent of the Women's Reformatory in Massachusetts, because of her humane and forward-looking administration, found herself in certain difficulties last year. The Governor appointed a fact-finding board of such high calibre that nobody has questioned their decisions in her favor. Therefore, because of the evidence brought out, the Governor recommends the passage of changes in legislation that governs the Department of Correction.

He has drawn attention to the fact that some of these laws have not been changed since 1879. He stated that they are "archaic and outmoded" and that modern penology "recognizes that offenders must be rehabilitated as well as punished."

"I favor the adoption of legislation," he added, "which conforms to the realities of the situation, recognizes the valid contribution of modern penology and will bring the administration of our correctional system up to date."

Congratulations, Governor Dever. Those of us who care about human beings are proud of you.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Dever, Paul A. (Paul Andrew), 1903-1958 [ index ]
         American Governor of Massachusetts
  • Van Waters, Miriam, 1887-1974 [ index ]
         American feminist, prison administrator, reformer, and social worker
         [ LC | ISNI | VIAF | Wikidata | SNAC | FAST | ANB ]
  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 12, 1950

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

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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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.