ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, "ADDRESS BY MRS. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT—
TEACHING AND LEARNING MATERIALS
A. In her address, ER stated that "we are all immigrants--all except Indians, who, we might say, are the only inhabitants of this country who have a real right to say that they own the country." How does this part of ER's argument support her understanding of citizenship? Invite class members to share their family history. Is your class primarily homogenous or heterogeneous? If this same group of students were living in 1940, would any members of the class be likely to have their civil liberties violated? To what extent and in what ways has our nation preserved civil liberties since this time?
B. The June 3, 1933 issue of The New Yorker included a cartoon by Robert J. Day featuring two coal miners with head lamps and shovels looking out from the tunnel in which they worked. One miner says to the other "For gosh sakes, here comes Mrs. Roosevelt." View the cartoon (http://www.cartoonbank.com/item/39735) and discuss the meaning of the cartoon. How do you interpret the reaction of the miners? How does this relate to issues raised in the essay? What are the implications of such a cartoon running in a widely-circulated magazine?
C. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation from 1924-1972, compiled an extensive FBI file on ER, monitoring
and detailing her activities in light of his responsibility toward protecting
the security of the nation. In many
ways, these two important figures held drastically different views about civil
liberties and security. For this
project, half of the class should assume the perspective of ER and the other
half should assume the perspective of J. Edgar Hoover. The first half of the class should write a
"My Day" article in which ER discusses just having found out that
D. The U.S. Mint will be issuing two coin series beginning in 2007 and running through (at least) 2015. The Presidential One Dollar Coin Program will issue coins featuring the image of presidents starting with George Washington and continuing with each president in the order in which he held office. These coins are meant for circulation. Simultaneously, the U.S. Mint is starting its First Spouse 24-Karat Coin Program, featuring the likenesses of first spouses starting with Martha Washington and also continuing in chronological order. The first spouse coins are commemorative, collector's edition coins. Visit the U.S. Mint website and examine the coin designs. How are the presidents and first spouses depicted? In what ways are these individuals remembered on each coin? What is the significance of one series being in circulation and the other being for collectors? Trace the differences between the two series and discuss these differences in light of the discussion of the historic first lady office that was featured in this unit's essay.
E. Examine ER's travels in 1943 by visiting the PBS interactive map of her tour of the South Pacific (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eleanor/maps/tour.html). Where did ER travel? What was the purpose of this tour? Think about how this relates to her idea of local, national, and global citizenship. How do you think ER understands the individual's responsibility during times of war, especially in terms of knowing global community members? Thinking about how ER advocates knowledge of the community in her civil liberties address, consider how and from whom we receive knowledge about global community members today. How and from whom do we receive information about American initiatives and missions in other parts of the world?
F. Consider ER’s initial hesitation in moving to
G. Read ER's Address delivered to the 1940 Democratic National Convention. Why did ER speak at the convention according to historical records of the event? After reading the speech, reflect on ER's primary message. What were the implications of the first lady delivering this speech? How is ER credited for this rhetorical performance? Watch the portion of the PBS video entitled Eleanor Roosevelt that relates to this speech. Pay particular attention to the testimony given by those who witnessed this moment of public address, and integrate this testimony into your discussion of the speech.
H. View Norman Rockwell's "Freedom of Worship" painting (http://www.civics-online.org/library/formatted/images/freedom2.html). Discuss the significance of the painting considering (1) the topic of the piece, (2) the artist's graphic interpretation of this topic, and (3) the use of the piece as an advertisement for war bonds. Also consider the implications of the piece being created by Norman Rockwell. Compare and contrast this painting with other well-known pieces by the artist.
A. Using historical accounts or an online resource such as
B. ER was a vocal supporter of the American Youth Congress. Research this organization, focusing on its membership, mission, and supposed communist affiliation. How did ER support the group and how does this relate to her "Civil Liberties" speech?
C. Locate several history text books (or the reading list from history courses) used by your peers. Are first ladies included in these books? If so, which first ladies figure prominently and how are they depicted in these texts? Make a list of what you would add, change, or omit if you were in charge of writing this material.
D. Although a vocal proponent of civil liberties, ER was
less outspoken in relation to the internment of Japanese Americans during World
War II, a government policy that has been considered one of the most blatant
violations of civil liberties in
E. An extraordinary number of organizations in the non-profit sector were started by women committed to benevolent work. Examine the work and legacies of several benevolent women. Examples include Clara Barton (American Red Cross), Frances Willard (Women's Christian Temperance Union), Emma Robarts and Mrs. Arthur Kinnaird (Young Women's Christian Association), and Eunice Kennedy Shriver (Special Olympics). What led these women to embrace such work? Do you think that their efforts were political in nature? Why or why not? What is the legacy of these women today? How would our society differ, socially and politically, without the dedication of these women?
F. Read Representative Nancy Pelosi's January 4, 2007
speech, delivered upon her election as the speaker of the House of
Representatives. Analyze the speech
rhetorically, paying attention to how Congresswoman Pelosi established
credibility and articulated her vision of a "new
G. Lou Hoover was a first lady whose activities while in office enabled ER's continued innovation of the parameters of the first lady role. At the same time, Lou Hoover held a strikingly different concept of the role of first lady than ER. Examine ER's predecessor, noting how she interpreted the function of the first lady. What are some of Lou Hoover's most important accomplishments while in office? Compare and contrast these two first ladies in light of your research, your opinions of the function of this office, and the legacy both have had on the first spouse role.
H. Read FDR's 1941 "Annual Message to Congress," also known as the "Four Freedoms Speech." When reading the speech, answer the following questions:
How does President Roosevelt define freedom in the speech?
How does the president define patriotism?
How does the president describe the enemy of the American people, and how
should this enemy be handled?
After answering these questions, compare and contrast the president's understanding of freedom, individual responsibility, and the role of citizens in a national community with those of ER as suggested by her civil liberties speech.
I. Research ER's support of other political candidates, including Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy. What kind of support did ER give male candidates? Trace how the former first lady became involved in these activities. What do your findings suggest about ER as a political figure respected in her own right?
J. Strong correlations have been drawn between First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and ER, particularly in light of how both women were viewed negatively in the popular press but refused to let this publicity render them voiceless. Class members should divide into groups and create a list of information known about both of these first ladies. Conducting outside research before groups meet so that students can read or view historical articles, cartoons, or other documents that reflect opinions on both ER and First Lady Clinton. As a class, discuss findings, considering the following questions:
How are Hillary Rodham Clinton and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt similar?
How are these two former first ladies different?
Do you consider the comparison between these two first ladies to be valid? Why
or why not? What is the basis for the comparison--public speaking, public service, performance of the first lady role, something different?
In what ways are values associated with republican motherhood present in the discourse and/or image of both these women?
To what extent is Hillary Rodham Clinton and example of the rhetorical first lady? Does she further our understanding of this role? If yes, how so?
A. Visit the Constitutional Minute
Archives via the
B. Search the web to find organizations whose primary mission involves the protection of civil liberties. Compare and contrast these group's goals to the mission of the ACLU's Chicago Civil Liberties Committee. What differences and similarities exist between more contemporary civil liberties groups and the CCLC?
C. Many biographies of ER mention, at least to some extent, this first lady's physical appearance. According to collective memory, ER was dismissed as an "ugly duckling" as a young woman, but later developed into a poised and prominent political figure who commanded respect from many. Examine several texts about ER (e.g. book-length, magazine, or on-line biographies), paying attention to any physical descriptions included. Next, as a class, choose one current female and one current male political leader, either at a local, state, or national level. Each student should bring one recent piece of coverage (formally, informally, or unpublished) related to each of the office-holders. Compare and contrast your findings. Do you find more or less attention paid to the physical appearance of political figures today than in ER's time? Does your data reflect a disparity according to gender? Write a reflective essay in which you outline your results and consider their political implications.
D. As a class, listen to the public radio segment entitled "Shouting Across the Divide: Which One of Them Is Not Like the Other," episode 322 of This American Life originally airing on December 15, 2006.
After listening to the segment, students should discuss reactions to the clip, answering the following questions:
In what ways are the characters’ civil liberties being violated according to their
What rights, if any, are not being met by those people mentioned in the segment?
If you were the superintendent of the school district mentioned in the segment,
how would you have handled the post-9/11 curriculum and the concerns raised by
the mother in the story?
The mother told her children not to complain to anyone about their unfair
treatment, but later advocated on behalf of her children. To what extent would
you waive your own civil liberties and freedoms in such a situation?
E. Read the point-counterpoint discussion of freedom of
speech in relation to obscenity on the
F. Research the situation at the
G. As a class, decide upon the four freedoms that most influence you as a student body. Once you have agreed on these four, have an in-class debate on which of these four freedoms are most important to you. What freedom would be most difficult to lose? Is there any situation which you think would necessitate or warrant the loss of this freedom?
H. Debate the issue of the USA Patriot Act and its
ramifications for civil rights in the context of the