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

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NEW YORK—We're back in the city again and as I read of the death toll on the highways over the holidays I cannot help but be grateful that we all drove down at a moderate rate of speed and arrived safely at our destination.

I was shocked to hear and read of the assassination of President Jose Remon of Panama. It seems that just when law and order appear to be taking over in the countries to the south of us, revolution and violence break out.

It is true that we ourselves came into being as a nation through a revolution, but we joined together to resist what seemed to us infringements of our liberty.

We demanded representation in the lawmaking bodies of the country to which we belonged as colonies. Upon being refused that representation we determined to be free, and we fought for freedom. Some of the statesmen of Great Britain begged their government at the time to grant our demands as being reasonable demands for a free people.

Therefore, we can feel that though we were born through revolution we fought for law and order and rights under law—and our adherence to freedom under law has remained staunch ever since.

We should like to see the same ideals become established in all republics so that revolution would not be a moving factor, but instead wrongs would be righted under law and in a peaceful manner.

We should always remember, however, Jefferson's admonition that any system of government that cannot permit the expression of differences of opinion is on a very weak foundation. All systems must be open to change—change that can be accomplished peacefully under the law of the land.

Desire for change comes because of changing circumstances and the growth of people, both mentally and spiritually. If the expression of differences of opinion is checked, these changes will have to be brought about by violence and revolution instead of by calm discussion and acceptance where they are good. Nothing can remain the same always, and we must guard against the tendency of believing that all desires for change must be suppressed instead of being heard. Of course, they must be rejected if found wrong. Suppression is the Communist and Fascist way. Free discussion and acceptance or rejection by the majority is the democratic way.

Some of these early ideas on which our freedoms were founded seem sometimes to be under attack today, but one hopes that our confidence in ourselves will hold up sufficiently to allow us greater freedom instead of more restriction.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 4, 1955

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.