When it comes to first ladies, we usually think about a sophisticated and beautiful woman. Cold, like Melania Trump, or stylish and smiling, like Jacqueline Kennedy. However, not all wives of presidents were outstanding beauties. Among them there were first ladies widely respected for their achievements rather than for their beautiful looks.
Eleanor Roosevelt went down in history as an American political figure, diplomat, activist, wonderful and faithful wife. However, not everyone appreciated her personal qualities, paying attention only to appearance, a shell that meant very little. Even her own husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was constantly having affairs, unable to appreciate the diamond, which stayed with him even in the most difficult periods of his life.
Eleanor was a woman of strong character. She was very smart, so she could easily take part in negotiations, for which she was so appreciated by her husband.
However, all her life Eleanor didn't have a high opinion of her appearance. Indeed, it was far from the accepted at that time standards, so, being well aware of it, Roosevelt tried to make up for her lack of attractiveness with her wit and education. She studied literature and sciences, she was good at dancing, horseback riding, and singing. Moreover, as a girl who attended Allenswood Boarding Academy in London, she knew perfectly well etiquette and was able to present herself in a favorable light.
However, Roosevelt still considered herself unworthy of happiness. Therefore, she was quite surprised by Roosevelt's proposal. Moreover, Franklin was the fifth cousin of Eleanor's father, which also embarrassed her. However, their shared interest in politics and social life united the couple's hearts.
Alas, their happiness didn't last for a long time. The president would occasionally cheat on his wife with his secretary and young girls whom he accidentally met.
Eleanor was absorbed in the upbringing of her kids and social life. Honestly considering herself ugly, as many whispered behind her back, Roosevelt thought she had to prove that she was the best wife for her husband. The woman literally lived her husband's life. Every day she would read newspapers, trying to understand the political situation in the country.
Given that Roosevelt was president at one of the most critical moments in the US history, in the midst of the Great Depression, he had to gain the trust of the nation. And Eleanor tried in every way to help her husband. She actively promoted his ideas, always stayed by his side and supported him.
Roosevelt forgave her husband everything: numerous adulteries, outright lack of interest in her life, coldness and unwillingness to empathize. When Franklin got seriously ill, she stayed with him even taking the risk of catching infection.
After her husband's death, Eleanor did not abandon the world of politics. She was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and soon afterwards became the first chairperson of the preliminary United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Moreover, she took an active part in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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Kind, sensitive and... unappreciated. Eleanor is an example of how misleading a woman's appearance may be.
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