Eleanor Roosevelt: “In Your Hands”

(1958)

Explanation and Analysis of the Documents

In 1945, President Harry S. Truman appointed Roosevelt as a delegate to the UN General Assembly. In April 1946, Roosevelt became the first chairperson of the preliminary UN Commission on Human Rights, tasked with drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Throughout the drafting process, Roosevelt insisted that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights be as clear as it was thorough. If people could not understand it, it could not move them to action, and its powerful vision would be compromised. Roosevelt considered the adoption of the declaration her finest accomplishment and dedicated the rest of her life to activities tied to it. This was not a simple or safe task. As the cold war escalated, the declaration’s critics alleged, incorrectly, that the declaration deprived nations of sovereign power, made citizens wards of the state, mandated Socialism, and so on.

Roosevelt dedicated enormous energy to combating these...

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Eleanor Roosevelt (Library of Congress)

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