Eleanor Roosevelt was an amazing woman who not only defined the position of first lady of the United States but also established herself as a feminine political icon. She won much of her respect as the first lady of the United States, but Eleanor Roosevelt also gained a lot of her international esteem as a civil rights activist long before her husband’s arrival in the White House. Eleanor’s interest in politics coincided with her husband’s career in politics as she was very involved in every aspect of his public life from the very beginning, but her realization of that political interest was not apparent to her until later on, when Franklin Roosevelt was named to the Democratic ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate.
Early on in their careers, while Franklin Roosevelt was becoming governor of New York she was instrumental in campaigning for him all the while advancing her own political career, and once she became first lady, it was already apparent that she had made a political name for herself as well as for her husband.
Eleanor’s background in politics goes back to her Uncle Teddy Roosevelt who was once the President of the U.S. Eleanor married a young amiable Harvard student by the name of Franklin Roosevelt. But soon Franklin became bored with Business Law and Eleanor pushed him to go into politics. Aided by a Democratic landslide and his mother’s money he was elected State Senator from the Hyde Park District of New York. But Eleanor disliked Albany and was soon very happy to leave. Franklin liked his newfound success in politics and his career prospered swiftly. He soon became an early backer of Woodrow Wilson as he ran for president, for his efforts he was awarded the job of Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the same job that propelled Eleanor’s Uncle Teddy to presidency. But Eleanor liked Washington about as much as she liked Albany and spent little time there.
In the years after their move to Washington, Franklin Roosevelt had contracted polio and it was now up to Eleanor to keep his name before the public. Aided by Louis Howe she went on a mission to salvage her husband’s career. Louis went to meetings that she spoke at and though it took much criticism he managed to get rid of her nervous giggle. Soon Eleanor gained confidence and accepted offers to write in magazines and appear on radio talk shows. She had joined many groups including the Women’s Trade Union League and was also the chair of the Finance Committee of the Women’s Division of the Democratic State Committee. She was fast becoming a prominent public figure, much to her amazement.
In 1928 at the Democratic National Convention Governor Al Smith asked Eleanor to run the entire national Women’s activities in his national campaign for president. Smith soon requested more as he asked Franklin to run for Governor of New York. Eleanor now was exerting more force into Smith’s campaign than her husband’s and even though her husband won she seemed more disappointed that Smith lost.