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Eleanor Roosevelt in Montreal


This article discusses First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s international travels during the Second World War. Mrs. Roosevelt achieved her greatest renown in the postwar period as a champion of international human rights, notably in her role as chair of the committee that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1947–48, and later as leader in the struggle to ratify the Human Rights covenants that enforced the provisions of the Declaration. Yet ER’s later concentration on international affairs was prefigured in her experience as semiofficial diplomat in a series of wartime travels across the globe, undertaken at the request of her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in coordination with the chiefs of the host governments. It is useful to investigate how these travels provided her with an important apprenticeship in diplomacy. At the same time, her speeches and activities on these wartime trips helped shape her later support for peace and justice on an international scale.

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