My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—Here we are, and it is Labor Day again and I am back from a whole week's vacation in Puerto Rico. I will have something to tell you of this visit in a future column.

On Labor Day, however, I want to speak a little about the changes which I have seen during my life for the people in our country who work with their hands. All of us are workers in one way or another; in the old days there were women of leisure who "kept house" and had other people work for them. But this is no longer true of a housewife! Work in the home has become a profession and is paid as a profession.

Little by little through the strengthening of unions those who work with their hands have gained a fairer share of the results of their work. There is never complete agreement, of course, as to how much investors, management or labor should receive. But gradually the division among the three groups is being considered as any other economic question is considered and each group gets its share.

Capitalism in this country today is certainly not what it was. I cannot help thinking that, while we await the visit of a gentleman who represents supposedly a philosophy which gives lip service at least to considering primarily those who work, we might well take a look at the aims set down 18 years ago by two war leaders, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill.

The document in which these aims were stated has come to be known as the Atlantic Charter and it was hoped that these aims would be the basis of the peace eventually to come because they embodied the best hopes for the whole of mankind.

Labor Day is a good day for us all to re-read them, so here they are:

"The President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing His Majesty's government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world.

  1. Their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other.
  2. Their countries seek no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned.
  3. They respect the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them.
  4. They will endeavor, with due respect for their existing obligations to further the enjoyment by all states, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity.
  5. They desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field, with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security.
  6. After the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.
  7. Such a peace would enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance.
  8. They believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons, must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving people the crushing burden of armaments."