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


NEW YORK, Monday—Times such as we are going through today are going to engender more and more debate about our Constitution and constitutional authority. At the moment it seems to me important to keep intact the different authorities given by the Constitution to the different branches of the government. The checks and balances were carefully devised and they should not be weighted today by one section of the government against the other.

The important thing for us all to bear in mind, however, is that our form of government rests on respect for law.

It is because we lost respect for law that the days during the failure of prohibition seemed so ominous to many of us. The object of our whole form of government is to achieve equal justice under the law for all men, and the minute we begin lightly breaking our laws we strike at the roots of our very form of government.

When we discover that a law is unacceptable to the majority I think we should devise ways that achieve the aims the people feel are desirable without breaking a law. The disclosures of late, which have so deeply disturbed so many people, renew for many of us the fear of the days of prohibition. We need a strengthening of our moral fibre, certainly, but we also need laws that the majority of the people will live up to. We cannot continue to allow it to be profitable for some to break the law.

Sunday afternoon after my television program I went to Carnegie Hall to see the last of a series of picture lectures on England that have been given by Julien Bryan. His introduction was brief but his running commentary added to the understanding of the very beautiful pictures. He must have chosen one of the few perfect summer days to be found in that often-rained-upon island of Great Britain, but the sky looked so blue that it must have been washed by rain not long before!

The program opened on a farm—600 acres of beautiful land—on which more wheat per acre is raised than is produced here in many parts of the United States. Nine men are helping this farmer, who is a real expert. His father was a farmer before him and his son is already learning the difficult trade. It is a well-mechanized farm and some of the machinery is American-made, financed by ECA aid. The only thing I did not find quite realistic was the size of the piece of beef for dinner. I am sure it was a whole week's ration placed upon the table.

The pictures of Oxford were entrancing and in the brief space of a few minutes Mr. Bryan succeeded in giving a real picture of Oxford life and education. This series starts off at the flying field, which is evidence that there is no neglect in training the flower of English youth to defend their small island in the air.

Martha Graham was with us and I think she must have been interested in the Sadler Wells junior group of ballet dancers. They are not the troupes that visited this country, but these youngsters did very well, indeed.

The last picture that I was able to see was one of a Scottish mining town. Nowhere is the life of a miner a real heaven. Yet, in Scotland I have known miners who preferred their calling to that of other men. Nevertheless, even though the pay is high, many Scottish women do not want their men to continue in this hazardous occupation and are doing all they can to dissuade their sons from following in their father's footsteps.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 3, 1951

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