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A Conversation with Eleanor Roosevelt

Historical Context/Citation

A question and answer session with Eleanor Roosevelt during which she discusses the United Nations, women's suffrage, her uncle President Theodore Roosevelt, criticism of her actions as First Lady, FDR's presidency, the Cold War, and the next generation of leaders in government. Film ID 59-6. Copyrighted by NBC.

Central Issue

Mrs. Roosevelt was on the world and national scene during the most historic and tumultuous years of the twentieth century. No other person was so uniquely positioned to view the changes in the country and the world than she was. She not only observed these changes, she helped shape them.

Social Studies Themes Addressed in this Clip

  1. Individual Development and Cultural Identity
  2. Development, Movement and Cultural Interaction
  3. Time, Continuity, and Change
  4. Developmental and Transformation of Social Structures
  5. Power, Authority, and Governance
  6. Civic Ideals and Practices
  7. Global Connections and Exchange

Enduring Understandings

  1. Our national problems must be addressed in the context of the world’s problems.
  2. Freedom comes through the efforts of people willing to preserve and protect it – not just by signing treaties and agreements.
  3. The post war period offered many challenges and opportunities – some were met and used to great effect, some were missed or not fully taken advantage of.
  4. Leaders often have a mixed record of success when it comes to accomplishments.

Essential Questions

  1. What were the primary forces shaping the course of world events in the mid and late twentieth century?
  2. Was the cold war inevitable?
  3. What role did the United States and its leaders play in crafting the New World Order in the wake of World War II?
  4. What lessons did the turmoil and upheaval of the mid twentieth century teach us?
  5. Why must our national problems be seen in the context of world problems?
  6. In what ways were the opportunities that presented themselves at the end of WWII taken advantage of?  In what ways were they missed?
  7. What is our individual responsibility to promote and protect freedom?
  8. What values/skills must the United States develop and focus on to remain a world leader?

Activities for Analyzing and Understanding the Speech

Share with your students the clips and transcripts of the Conversation With Mrs. Roosevelt and then ask them to complete these activities.