My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Tuesday—We had two teas yesterday afternoon and only three of us for dinner after which my husband and Miss LeHand started on their mail. I retired groaning to a very large basket of mail, which I finished around midnight.

I read my Herald-Tribune this morning with considerable interest. One page was most amusing. Out of six headlines across the top of the page only one seemed to be without fear. This fear was all inspired by the fact that certain difficulties facing our courts today have been pointed out and tentative remedies suggested. One man felt that the suggested changes had precedents behind them and that we might not either be turning out liberties over to a dictator or weakening our courts but all the others were filled with forbodings!

One headline is particularly terrifying. It reads: "Plan to pack the court to favor power of a minority is seen." The meaning of this headline is explained below but at first reading you cannot help but link it up with the fact that the opposition to the changes comes largely from the same group which opposed much of the social legislation of the present administration, and the views of the people on this legislation were rather clearly expressed in November last and they were not a minority group. It leads a layman to wonder whether the will of the people is really to determine our government or whether a minority group of the government is to be the final arbiter.

Child marriage does not seem to be confined only to the mountains of Tennessee. The marriage of the little nine-year-old girl in that state, however, brought to light the marriage of a twelve-year-old girl in New York State. It seems inconceivable that parents should countenance a practice of this kind unless food is so short that one mouth taken out of the home counterbalances all other arguments. Certainly no one in their sane senses would want a child of nine to be married, and the publicity which has attended this marriage we may well hope will result not only in the passing but in the enforcement of laws requiring that children under a certain definite age may not be married. We have all heard with horror of the child marriages in India, and it is rather a shock to find that we are open to the same criticism in our extremely modern country.

A press conference this morning and in a few minutes some old friends, Mrs. Franklin K. Lane, Miss Frances Perkins, Mrs. Adolph Miller and Mrs. William Denman are lunching with me.

This evening a number of young people are staying in the house as the Army and Navy Reception seemed the gayest occasion for them to take part in. One of them is my god-child, Miss Catherine Newbold of Boston. Some of the others are the children of old friends.

E.R.
TMsd 9 February 1937, AERP, FDRL