"My Day" by Eleanor Roosevelt
November 7, 1936
[download as PDF]
WASHINGTON, Friday—Yesterday was such a glorious day and we dawdled a good deal on the way down, and did not reach the White House until eight-thirty p.m. We dined and I sat down at my desk to straighten out a few things. I read some of the telegrams and letters which had come in since the election, and suddenly found myself thinking out again what the really fundamental tasks are which confront a man who has received such a vote of confidence from the people of his country.
The White House Historical Association | White House History
It is perfectly obvious that the people have been given a vision and a hope and that they have faith that he has the ability and integrity to try and bring to fruition these hopes, but it seems to me the even more fundamental task that lies before the leader of a democracy is to bring to the people the realization that true democracy is the effort of the people individually to carry their share of the burden of government. This share being the effort to choose not one man but a group of men to fill the various elective offices who will hold to the various ideals and work for the purposes which the individual citizen must formulate and crystalize in his own mind. The objectives must become the basis of a political philosophy by which their expectations and dreams can be translated into practical realities.
In this way only can a democracy achieve what we as a people are envisioning today.
My husband was greeted on his arrival this morning by an enthusiastic crowd and he with James and Betsey drove through the streets between cheering crowds. The household had all asked to come together to greet him as he came in so I waited for him at the Diplomatic entrance and told him he would find every one awaiting him in the reception room. He was much touched by this show of affection and regard in his close environment. One of the doormen murmured to me as we were making our way to the elevator that there was a great crowd in front of the White House asking to see the President, so the President stopped on the first floor and went out. They wanted a speech, but the noise was too great for any one to be heard, so he simply waved and went in. Everyone settled themselves down to breakfast, only to find that the crowd in front of the house augmented and refused to go away. Down the President had to go again, this time he walked from one side of the portico to the other, so more people were able to see him and when he went in they did disperse. After breakfast he went over to the executive offices and the daily routine began. I have been busy with a thousand details of household management and the planning of social functions, interspersed with visits from a number of people.
Copyright, 1936, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.