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

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NEW YORK, Tuesday—Listening to the President's message to Congress, I think everyone in the country must have agreed with him on the things we should be thankful for. It is certainly good to have so many things for which one can be thankful.

It was interesting to note that most of the applause came when he spoke of spending less money, and yet I noticed in the papers that considerably more had been spent this year than was anticipated in spite of all the economies.

I think it was the first time that I heard officially stated that from now on any citizen of the United States who is judged to be a Communist should no longer be considered a citizen, since his allegiance would be considered as primarily going to a foreign power. There was prolonged applause for this statement, which means that anyone who knowingly allows himself to be a part of a Communist organization is now liable to be deprived of his citizenship.

I do not know whether certain states will have to change their laws to conform with this law, if it becomes a Federal law, or not. But the President's reasoning is that anyone now joining the Communist Party knows conclusively that this means a pledge to overthrow the Government of the United States by violence, if necessary.

It is just as well to have this clearly understood for, of course, there was a time when many people felt quite free to join any party they chose, believing that as a citizen one was free to advocate any peaceful changes in one's government. I am sure that there have been many people in the past who said they were Communists and who believed in certain doctrines of the Communist Party but who were far from wanting to use force. Most of them enjoyed argument and liked trying to persuade others that this or that Communist doctrine was preferable to the one held at the moment by the Republicans or Democrats or Socialists.

The situation is now entirely different, however, and I suppose in the changed world in which we live there is no way to be easygoing any longer as we were in the early 1900's. Being relaxed is growing to be more and more difficult because everything we do has some significance which we would not have thought about 50 years ago. First we were assailed by fascism, and now communism is too widespread and dangerous to ignore.

I cannot help being a little nostalgic for the days when there were no "isms" to make us suspicious of each other and when democracy seemed so good that one never dreamed that anyone could be tempted to turn to any other form of government.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 13, 1954

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
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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.