Eleanor Roosevelt: on freedom, knowledge, and qualities of US presidential candidates

EleanorRoosevelt1957InterviewEleanor Roosevelt was a key leader in the creation of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which I discuss at length in Beholden, chapter 4). Her profound commitment to practical efforts toward true justice and freedom continued to influence millions throughout her life. This 1957 TV interview with Mrs. Roosevelt is well worth watching, whatever one’s political  alliances. Among her comments that  stand out for reflection:

On freedom:
“I don’t know much about capitalism, but I do know about democracy and freedom. Capitalism may change in many, many ways. I’m not much interested in capitalism. I’m enormously interested in freedom…. I’m intensely interested in the freedom that gives you the right to think, and to act, and to talk as you please. That I think is essential to happiness and life of the people.”

What’s important for a suitable presidential candidate:
“…a knowledge of the world’s people, [having] been around the whole world, as a worker, and [having] worked in almost every country of the world, and that is a good background for knowing about people and countries….and whoever takes it has got to be able to grow.”

On the importance of knowledge:
“I feel quite sure that what the American people lack is knowledge. I feel quite sure that the American people, if they have knowledge and leadership, can meet any crises just as well as they’ve met it over and over again in the past.”

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