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

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The Dutchess County Fair opened yesterday.

A more beautiful day could not be imagined and I was glad of that because last year they had so much rain. We went directly to the sheep pen to look at the sheep owned by my son, Franklin, Jr. And at those that were going to be shown against him.

We met two nice ladies there. One was Mrs. Warren, from Clinton Corners, who told me that Franklin, Jr. had been around not long before and that her husband had sold Franklin, Jr. his Herefords. With her was a lady from Michigan who proceeded to show me all of Franklin, Jr.'s sheep and told me she understood their points particularly well because in Michigan she was in sheep too.

Just at that point Franklin, Jr. appeared behind us. He looked much more the farmer than the Congressman. He had been up since 5 a.m. so as to reach the fair grounds to help groom the cattle before the judging. He was highly elated because he won two blues and a reserve championship.

We saw the cattle, met a number of his friends, then went to the Lutheran church restaurant and ate our lunch. I must have gained several pounds, because everything was very fattening but very good. At one-thirty I left to drive over to Salisbury, Connecticut, where I was to meet with a small group of Austrian students.

I think this idea of getting localities to accept a certain number of these students and take them into their homes is a very good one. The students themselves seem very appreciative of the opportunitys to know how Americans live. A boy who is going to study law was taken in by a lawyer, a boy who is going to be a teacher was taken in by a man who teaches in one of our large private schools, Mr. Robert Atmore of Choate.

As the young people gathered to talk I felt at first a certain restraint. It was not for quite a while that they began to ask questions that were really on their minds.

They still feel that the British and ourselves were responsible for Hitler's rise to power and for World War Two. The fact that even encouragement from the outside did not excuse acceptance by them, as a people, of something which was wrong, never seems to have crossed their minds.

One of them asked me to define democracy which I always find difficult in groups like that. I want to make it simple and yet leave them with something simple to think about afterwards.

Finally I said: "There are many kinds of democracy, the democracy of government and democracy as a way of life. A democratic form of government ideally requires that each and every citizen shall accept complete personal responsibility for his government and bear his share locally, in his town or country area, in his state and in his nation and in the relationship his nation bears toward other governments.

“This type of responsibility in government requires a certain way of life. You must begin to learn as a child, in the home and in the school, to accept responsibility. Self-discipline must be stressed rather than authoritarian discipline even from the head of the house. You must make up your mind what is right or wrong and live by it and fight for it.
“Real democracy allows the individual greater freedom but places on him greater responsibility.”

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 28, 1952

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.