IT IS tempting to think that in a different era, Eleanor Roosevelt could have become president of the United States. Widely loved, the longest-serving first lady was on the right side of history on virtually every subject, including civil rights, acceptance of European refugees and the need to end empires. She was fierce in support of her causes. Impatient as well as impassioned, she tirelessly lobbied her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), to embrace her projects too. Theirs was “one of history’s most powerful and enduring partnerships”, her biographer Blanche Wiesen Cook explains. “She understood his needs, forgave his transgressions, buried her jealousies, and embarked on her own independent career…FDR encouraged her independence and when he silenced her did so for reasons of state.”
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