'Franklin And Eleanor': A Marriage Ahead Of Its Time : NPR
One day in early , a change took place in the marriage of FDR and .. and with his distant cousin Daisy Stuckley have occupied historians for . that Eleanor was Teddy Roosevelt's favorite neice and FDR idolized TR. “I don't think Theodore Roosevelt or Franklin Roosevelt could get FDR and Daisy Suckley, a distant cousin who had a relationship with him. On January 6th, , at the age of 60, Theodore Roosevelt died in his sleep. His mother Sarah summoned a distant relation, Margaret "Daisy" Suckley.Theodore Roosevelt and the Western Experience
The event caused a public and media furor and wasn't repeated during Roosevelt's tenure. A moralist with a bully pulpit, T. Government, he said, must be neutral in how it treats its citizens, being careful not to align itself with wealthy interests. Additionally, he insisted on government's right to curb the worst excesses of capitalism, winning anti-trust victories; during a severe coal strike, fearful of riots and serious hardships, he was the first president to mediate a labor dispute by threatening to nationalize the coal mines with the military enforcing his orders.
The US rose to a world power with T. He was responsible for the Panama Canal. After winning election on his own inhe made his worst political blunder by proclaiming he would not seek another term in When in he drew most of the attention to himself at the wedding of his niece Eleanor, giving his brother's daughter to the groom, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one critic quipped that T.
She had spent three years at Allenswood Academy where her strong personality and liberal mind were gradually allowed release from lonely uncertainty and timidity. Her formal education ended at seventeen to enter society as a debutante.
She had learned that the way to be loved was to be of use to others; she endeavored to make a difference in her working with immigrant children.
Unfortunately, the marriage brought together two people with different expectations: Franklin wanted a loyal, devoted "motherly" spouse while Eleanor "My one great wish was to prove worthy of him"being admonitory rather than worshipful, had hoped for an intimate confidant.
With an undistinguished academic record at Groton and then Harvard, where he did not fit in well socially either, Franklin went to Columbia for a law degree before running for the New York State legislature at 28 as a Democrat with T.
The third of FDR and Eleanor's six children, Franklin Jr, died in infancy; uncomfortable as a mother, Eleanor left the children mostly in the care of nannies and nurses.
'Franklin And Eleanor': A Marriage Ahead Of Its Time
Theodore's oldest daughter Alice felt somewhat estranged from her father and took to behaving unconventionally. As with his father before him who had bought his way out of serving in the Union Army during the Civil Wara dishonorable military incident stained T. In the wake of his handpicked successor William Howard Taft's inauguration, T.
In Teddy at 55 announced his candidacy for president again, waged a bitter campaign against the incumbent Taft, formerly his friend, but lost the nomination due to opposition by the old guard. Bellowing that he would stand for the rights of humanity over those of privilege, he struck out as the candidate of the "Bull Moose" Progressive third party with its platform of women's right to vote, federal insurance for the elderly and indigent, labor rights 8-hour day and 6-day weekamong other reforms, which Taft decried as dangerous radicalism.
In Milwaukee on October 14th,while giving a campaign speech, T. During a lawsuit against Teddy, for accusing both Republican and Democratic parties' bosses of collusion in elections, FDR courageously came to his defense; T. In without T. When America finally entered the war, Eleanor achieved "emancipation and education," liberating her executive abilities with the Red Cross: At this point in his career, Geoffrey C.
Ward regards FDR as a selfish, self-centered politician. Eleanor discovers a cache of letters from correspondence between her husband and her former social secretary, Lucy Mercer, attractive and six years younger, who supplied FDR with the motherly adoration he coveted. Divorce would have ended FDR's political career; he and Eleanor reconciled, though her earlier insecurities returned. All four of Teddy's sons enlisted to fight in the Great War; the youngest Quentin was killed during an aerial dog fight, and Archie returned a cripple.
On January 6th,at the age of 60, Theodore Roosevelt died in his sleep. Cox; they were defeated by the Republicans. The jazz decade brought women suffrage while heedless financial speculation fueled the stock market along with seemingly never-ending good times.
FDR's chief political advisor and strategist, Louie Howe, formerly a newspaperman, also taught Eleanor how to give speeches for the League of Women Voters and other progressive causes with her new female political pals. Initially doctors were baffled by his condition until correctly diagnosed as infantile paralysis from which he would never walk without help again.
At 39, he forced his terror inward while his physicians and Howe minimized the severity of his condition to him and to the public, allowing Franklin the delusion that somehow he'd manage to walk on his own again.
From agonizing exertion and persistence through physical therapy, FDR, wearing heavy leg braces and using crutches, mastered techniques to maneuver his body but made hardly any actual improvement in his mobility below the waist. However, during this trying period, he and Eleanor were driven farther apart into parallel lives as well as remaining out of touch with their children, "ignored and indulged.
Scandalous Women: FDR and his Women
Having hoped to run on his own for president inFDR could barely take a few steps but adamantly refused to be seen in a wheelchair, for while "pity was poison," appearing "lame" seemed more acceptable. At the Democratic convention, he was chosen to bravely stand before the delegates to give the nominating speech for Alfred E. Smith failed to win the nomination, returning to New York for re-election as governor, defeating T.
FDR went to Georgia where he purchased a rundown hotel and land, renaming the town Warm Springs, which after failing as a commercial venture eventually became a rehabilitation center for polio patients. Once again inSmith invited FDR to the Democratic convention in Houston where Roosevelt made the appearance of walking to the podium to address the delegates. Accepting Smith's suggestion to run for governor of New York, FDR, vigorously campaigning throughout the state in an effort to deny disability, won a narrow contest as had T.
InFDR was re-elected in a landslide, increasing the split between the two branches of the Roosevelts, his own from Hyde Park having risen above those of Oyster Bay.
Eleanor continued teaching girls history and literature, encouraging the younger generation with liberal thinking and social consciousness.
The stock-market crash offinancial panic, and resulting Depression along with Hoovervilles put an end to the Republican good times, opening an opportunity for Democrats to retake the White House and Capitol Hill. After contending with nine rivals for the party's nomination, FDR, needing to convince the public and the political establishment of his being mentally and physically fit for the job, captured 42 of 48 states against Hoover in the general election, promising "a New Deal for the American people.
With 40 million Americans lacking dependable income, fear spreading of never-ending unemployment, the 32nd president of the United States declared upon taking the oath of office: When someone remarked that he'd be our best or our worst president, he replied: FDR's crooning voice came over radios in his fireside chats into homes of families for a quarter of an hour on Sunday nights supplying calming reassurance.
Eleanor unlike any previous First Lady took an active role with press conferences open only to female reportersa radio program of her own, and a newspaper column, "My Day.
Appealing to states' rights, Southern Democrats in the Senate adamantly refused to pass anti-lynching legislation. Some accused FDR of behaving like a dictator; Al Smith criticized the president of moving the country toward socialism; from the left, in the person of Louisiana's Huey P.
Long, came cries of FDR's becoming "a captive of capitalism" incapable of real change. As a result, he unwisely attempted to "pack" the Court. His most significant achievements in his first term were efforts to break up monopolies, the Wagner Act granting labor the right to organize and bargainand the Social Security Act "redefinition of the social contract," lauds Jonathan Alder. After four years of economic improvement, in FDR made the mistake of cutting funds to relief programs too soon in a move to balance the budget, sending the economy in a tailspin back into a recession.
The decline halted with renewed pumping of money back into the economy as before, but at a cost to the earlier progress. In a special bond of friendship with Daisy Suckley, who hoped one day to live with him as nurse and companion, FDR secretly confided, unburdening himself of his carefully veiled thoughts and feelings.
In Germany, Adolf Hitler, having risen to power at the same time that FDR first entered the Oval Office, threatened peace in Europe; but FDR as an internationalist was stymied from acting during a period of American isolationism and inner turmoil. In Part 6, "The Common Cause"after the Nazis invaded Poland and following a seven-month lull swallowed much of Europe, including France, FDR decided to run for an unprecedented third term.
When Sara finally died inEleanor wrote one of her children that she felt nothing. Enter Lucy Page Mercer Like Eleanor and Franklin, Lucy came from an old fa mily with roots deep in Maryland history. Minnie left her husband and took the girls to New York, where she tried a career as an interior decorator. After a few years, they returned to Washington, DC. While Violetta trained to be a nurse, Lucy found a job that suited her perfectly, social secretary to the wife of the youngest assistant secretary of the navy in history, FDR.
Eleanor was overwhelmed by the sheer number of social calls that she was required to undertake when she and Franklin arrived in Washington in The wives of all cabinet members, congressman, and senators had to be visited.
If Eleanor was lucky, she could just leave her card, but if the wife was home, she had to make small talk for at least fifteen minutes. Invitations poured in to the Roosevelt home in Washington, almost drowning Eleanor in cardstock.
Within a few days of her arrival, Lucy had organized things thoroughly. She even took over paying the bills. Franklin met her one day as she was arriving and he was leaving. He was immediately taken with the lovely young woman. Like Eleanor, she was tall, with light brown hair and blue eyes but unlike Eleanor, she was vivacious and full of fun. Soon Lucy was filling in as the extra woman at dinner parties at the Roosevelt home.
No one knows just when it started, but byLucy and FDR were in love.
- Margaret Suckley
- Teddy Roosevelt was ‘cuckoo’ — and other quips from Ken Burns
Before long, even Eleanor sensed that something was going on between the beautiful young Lucy and her husband. After she finally fired Lucy, FDR managed to get her a job in the Navy department as the country geared up for war. She offered to give him a divorce, after FDR told her that he wanted to marry Lucy. It was Sara Roosevelt who nipped the love story in the bud.
It was unthinkable for a Roosevelt to get a divorce. If FDR persisted, Sara would see that he was cut off without a penny. During his years in Washington, FDR had been living beyond his means. In New York at the time, the only cause for divorce was adultery. FDR would have to admit that he had cheated on his wife. Divorce still carried a stigma in upper class circles. Eleanor had two conditions for continuing the marriage: Franklin must agree to never see Lucy Mercer again, and they would never again share a bedroom as husband and wife.
Eleanor later stated that while she could forgive FDR for the affair, she could never forget and that she had stopped loving him from the moment she found out. A year after the end of their relationship, Lucy married Winthrop Rutherfurd, a wealthy New Yorker, almost thirty years her senior. Handsome, and from a different era, Rutherfurd was a widower with six children, the youngest only two years old.
A Rutherfurd was no match for the likes of the Duke of Marlborough. Rutherfurd finally married for the first time at the age of forty. She eventually had a daughter of her own named Barbara. For twenty years, she devoted herself to being a good wife to Winty, and a step-mother to his five children who adored her and never considered anything less than their mother.
Lucy would call the White House pretending to be Mrs. They also continued to see each other whenever Lucy was in Washington, visiting her sister Violetta's family. They devised different ruses, 'accidental' meetings on country roads in Virginia, or FDR would pick Lucy up at Violetta's house. It wasn't until that they actually met up at the White House while Eleanor was away which was quite often as the First Lady pursued her own interests and her own friends.
Over the next four years, Lucy and her daughter Barbara made numerous visits to the White House while Eleanor was away. Lucy used her influence to get plum assignments in the armed forces for her step-sons.
The only one in the dark was Eleanor. The truth came out at FDR's death. Eleanor discovered that Lucy had been with him at Warm Springs and that her daughter Anna had helped them meet. Even at her husband's death, she felt angered and betrayed. Eventually as the years passed, she became more philosophical about Lucy's role in her husband's life.
Possibly she realized that Lucy's company had brought Franklin comfort and peace when he most needed it. While Franklin admired Eleanor and loved her in his way, the wife he had married had become a stateswoman in her own right, and was no longer just his wife. Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd died of leukemia inthree years after the man she loved. By her bedside was a picture of FDR. Missy LeHand the 'Unofficial Wife': Irish Catholic, from a working class neighborhood, Missy was young and bubbly, when she went to work as his secretary.
She had attended secretarial school after graduating from high school becoming a secretary at the Democratic Party's national headquarters and eventually Roosevelt's secretary in From the beginning she was devoted to him.
There is speculation that Missy was also his mistress. When FDR and Eleanor moved into the Governor's mansion in Albany, Missy's room had a connecting door to Franklin's, and she was often seen coming in and out at all hours in her nightgown.
She also had a room on the floor above his at the White House. As well as her secretarial duties, she also took care of the bills, and acted as his hostess whenever Eleanor had other plans. She was feminine, loved to dress up and wear high heels, just the type of woman FDR found attractive.
While Eleanor hectored and pushed him about social issues, Missy spent her time cutting amusing articles and cartoons out of the newspaper for him. She catered and soothed his ego. Although friends tried to fix her up with eligible men, as far as she was concerned none of them measured up to 'FD' as she called him. She did have a brief romance with William Bullit, the handsome ambassador to Russia, but it didn't last.
This was in recognition of her years of service as his secretary. The will stated that upon Missy's death the income would go to Eleanor, with the principal eventually divided equally among his children. Missy suffered a stroke during Roosevelt's third term and never fully recovered. She died in after devoting more than twenty years of her life to FDR. Eleanor, Earl Miller and Lorena Hickok: A strapping handsome man of thirty-two, Miller was an orphan like Eleanor.
Prior to that, Miller had been Governor Al Smith's personal bodyguard. Miller was also an athlete and had been the Navy's middleweight boxing champion as well as a member of the U. Olympic squad at the Antwerp games in Eleanor was forty-four when she met Miller, thirty-two, in Miller became her friend as well as official escort.
He taught her different sports, such as diving and riding, and coached her tennis game. There is some speculation that the relationship was a romance rather than a friendship. Miller however denied that there was ever a romantic relationship.
It true that during his tenure as her bodyguard, he helped Eleanor to open up more, to go horseback riding, hiking, and to learn to dive.