Cover image for A world made new : Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
A world made new : Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Glendon, Mary Ann, 1938-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxi, 333 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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K3238.31948 .G58 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
K3238.31948 .G58 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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A World Made New tells the dramatic story of the struggle to build, out of the trauma and wreckage of World War II, a document that would ensure it would never happen again. There was an almost religious intensity to the project, championed by Eleanor Roosevelt under the aegis of the newly formed United nations and brought into being by an extraordinary group of men and women who knew, like the framers of the Declaration of Independence, that they were making history. They worked against the clock, the brief window between the end of World War II and the deep freeze of the cold war, to forget the founding document of the modern rights movement. A distinguished professor of international law, Mary Ann Glendon was given exclusive access to personal diaries and unpublished memoirs of key participants. An outstanding work of narrative history, A World Made New is the first book devoted to this crucial moment in Eleanor Roosevelt's life and in world history.

Author Notes

Mary Ann Glendon was born on October 7, 1938, in Pittsfield, Mass. and graduated from the University of Chicago with both J.D. and Master of Comparative Law degrees. She has worked as a criminal defender, a civil rights attorney, and is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University.

Glendon writes frequently on scholarly matters of the law. In Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse, she presents examples of the talk behind laws and rights of citizens, and the actual actions. Hot topics such as flag burning, Indian lands, homosexual acts, and social welfare are covered in-depth in this book, and the difference of opinions versus deeds concerning these topics are discussed as representing a distortion of our true culture and values.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1947, in a world recently ripped apart by the Holocaust, a devastating war and mass displacement, the very idea of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights seemed both impossible and supremely necessary. As the specter of the Cold War loomed, a U.N. delegation, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, began writing what would become the world's first standard statement of human rights. Glendon, a professor of law at Harvard University, has written a compelling, at times thrilling account of how Roosevelt and her cohorts argued and cajoled one another through a series of intellectual, political and moral positions, finally hammering out a statement that was acceptable across national, religious and philosophical lines. While Glendon successfully traces the evolution of the documentÄwhich was ratified on December 10, 1948, after six drafts and much debate by the U.N. General AssemblyÄshe also presents a richly textured portrait of a woman driven to public service while simultaneously grieving for her late husband. Roosevelt's politics were also at issue: at one point, she resigned from the U.N. over the U.S. government's initial disapproval of the creation of Israel. Glendon concludes with a legal analysis of the declaration and a lengthy discussion of its applicability today, when many non-Western nations (such as China) claim that the concept of "universal" human rights precepts precludes an acceptance of cultural differences. Glendon's work is a welcome addition to the realm of international law and to the growing body of literature on Eleanor Roosevelt's role in modern politics. Agents, Lynn Chu and Glen Hartley, Writer's Representatives. (Mar. 30) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Glendon (Harvard Law School) describes Eleanor Roosevelt's role in developing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and how it was inspired by Franklin Roosevelt--the most vigorous supporter of an organization that would protect human rights--and his "Four Freedoms" speech, delivered before the US entered WW II (January 1941). She indicates that the declaration was not designed to impose a single model of conduct, but to provide a common standard that could exist in different cultures. When President Roosevelt died shortly before the United Nations held its initial meeting in San Francisco, President Truman named Eleanor Roosevelt as a delegate to transform this vision into law, in the face of opposition from those who viewed her as either too liberal or too inexperienced. The book discusses numerous obstacles faced by the Human Rights Commission, a group that included many remarkable men and women, chaired by Mrs. Roosevelt. She skillfully guided them into accepting the leading articles of the Declaration despite growing Cold War divisions, postwar colonialism, and tribal rivalries. This work is suited for political scientists, students of international law, and those interested in Eleanor Roosevelt's influence on the postwar world. J. S. Schwartz CUNY College of Staten Island

Booklist Review

Chapman University historian Slayton provides the first full-scale biography of Al Smith, the "Happy Warrior," who united Tammany Hall and good government Progressives in his successful campaign to reform New York State, but as the 1928 Democratic presidential candidate, he was overwhelmed by the Ku Klux Klan's anti-Catholic hysteria. Smith's reformist zeal found its focus in investigating the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire, which killed 146 of the 575 workers; his political creed embraced urban immigrants, industrial reform, and efficient administrative management. As governor, Smith mentored (but underestimated) Franklin Roosevelt, but when FDR won the national position Smith had lost, Smith joined the Liberty League's wealthy business executives in loudly rejecting the New Deal. (Smith and the Roosevelts later reconciled as a result of Smith's strong support of FDR's preparations for war). Slayton's thorough research provides a balanced and respectful assessment of this important political figure. Al Smith grew up on the gritty "sidewalks of New York," whereas the Roosevelt family was part of the Knickerbocker elite that had run city and state institutions for generations. Burns and Dunn both hail from Williams College: Burns, political scientist emeritus, won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom; Dunn, professor of literature and the history of ideas, is author of Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light [BKL O 15 99]. What fascinates both is the emotional and intellectual journey that transformed Theodore Roosevelt, niece Eleanor, and distant cousin Franklin from pampered upper-class snobs into practical but creative champions of democracy and the common man. The narrative traces their intertwined lives and ideas through four eras the authors label "Passion" (1876^-1929), "Action" (1929^-1936), "Conflict" (1936^-1945), and "Change" (1945^-1962). Drawing inspiration from one another and from leaders--like Abraham Lincoln--they all admired, the Roosevelts forged a notable legacy of twentieth-century leadership. The final stage of Roosevelt family leadership is the subject of Harvard Law School professor Glendon's study of what may have been Eleanor Roosevelt's most notable accomplishment after her husband's death: the drafting and 1948 acceptance by the international community of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was an intense, sometimes fractious negotiation, and Roosevelt was not the only major player. Glendon also focuses major attention on three others: Peng-chun Chang, Chinese philosopher, diplomat, and playwright; ReneCassin, the "legal genius of the Free French" and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate; and Lebanon's Charles Malik, an existentialist philosopher and master diplomat. A nuanced analysis of the roots of an essential international agreement; the texts of six drafts and the final declaration are appended. --Mary Carroll

Library Journal Review

When it was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first formal statement of what the phrase human rights actually entailed. Glendon (law, Harvard) has written a legislative history of the Declaration covering both the negotiation process and the ratification debates and process during the years 1946-52. The book is based on extensive access to the diaries and unpublished memoirs of many of the participants as they worked with the horrors of World War II fresh in their minds and against the backdrop of the rapidly chilling Cold War. While the content and phrasing of the Declaration are the product of the many fine minds and strong personalities who worked on it, Eleanor Roosevelt is here given full credit for facilitating the process and steering the group to a final agreement that incorporated the best from many cultural and religious traditions. Recommended for academic libraries and broad Roosevelt collections.DMarcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Politics, it has been said, is "the arena where conscience and power meet, and will be meeting until the end of time."1 Conscience so often fares poorly in such encounters that we celebrate the occasions when Power gives her more than a tip of the hat. In April 1945, as delegates from fifty lands gathered in San Francisco for the United Nations founding conference, Power was much on display. Battleships leaving the Pacific harbor with men and matériel were a grim reminder that the war with Japan was still raging. The tides of war in Europe, however, had turned in favor of the Allies, and the "Big Three" (Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States) had begun jockeying for the positions they would hold in the new world order. As part of their planning for the postwar era, the Allies invited to the San Francisco conclave all states that had declared war on Germany and Japan by March 1, 1945. The Allied leaders had agreed in principle on the need for an international organization to prevent future aggression, assure the stability of frontiers, and provide a means for resolving disputes among nations, but the most vigorous supporter of the idea was Franklin Roosevelt. The American president was mindful that the failure of the first such organization, the League of Nations, was due in no small measure to President Woodrow Wilson's inability to convince the Senate to ratify the treaty establishing it. A driving force behind the League's formation after World War I, Wilson had been bitterly disappointed. To prevent a repetition of that debacle, Roosevelt had begun speaking to the American people about his hopes for a new world organization during the war. "Nations will learn to work together," he insisted, "only by actually working together." In a radio address on Christmas Eve 1943, he emphasized that the main purpose of such an organization would be to keep the peace. The United States had no interest, he said, in Allied domination over other nations: "The doctrine that the strong shall dominate the weak is the doctrine of our enemies-and we reject it."3 Now, with the confidence born of approaching victory, Roosevelt believed the time had come to make up for the mistakes of the last peace. Shortly after his inauguration in January 1945, he told Congress of his hopes to replace the old international system of "exclusive alliances and spheres of influence" with a "universal organization in which all peace-loving nations will finally have a chance to join."4 Eleanor Roosevelt had long shared those hopes. When her husband asked her to accompany him to the opening session of the UN founding conference in April, and on a trip to England and the continent in May, she was delighted-not least because his enthusiasm allayed her growing anxiety about his health. Labor Secretary Frances Perkins had objected that a trip to the war zone would be too dangerous, but the president replied that he expected the war to be over by then. He had long looked forward, he told Perkins, to a victory tour with the First Lady at his side: "Eleanor's visit [to England] in wartime was a great success. I mean a success for her and for me so that we understood more about their problems. . . . I told Eleanor to order her clothes and get some fine things so that she will make a really handsome appearance."5 With spring flowers in bloom and war's end at last in sight, an exuberant president began to prepare for the San Francisco conference. The features of the future UN that were of most interest to the Great Powers had been settled already at two much more exclusive meetings. In the summer and fall of 1944, representatives of Britain, China, the United States, and the USSR had met at Dumbarton Oaks to do preparatory work on what would become the UN Charter. One month earlier, at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, the Allies had established the main institutions of the postwar economic order-the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank). Determined to avoid Wilson's main error, Roosevelt actively courted Republican support for the United Nations. When the time came to choose representatives for San Francisco, he made a point to include prominent GOP leaders: former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, future Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and Senator Arthur Vandenberg, the ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Soviets went along with the project, but without much enthusiasm. Their chief concern for the immediate postwar period was to protect the frontiers of the motherland from renewed aggression. On the eve of the Normandy invasion, according to former Yugoslav Communist Party official Milovan Djilas, Stalin told Djilas: "Perhaps you think that just because we are the allies of the English we have forgotten who they are and who Churchill is. They find nothing sweeter than to trick their allies. . . . Churchill is the kind who, if you don't watch him, will slip a kopeck out of your pocket. . . . Roosevelt is not like that. He dips in his hand only for bigger coins."6 George F. Kennan, a shrewd observer then serving in the U.S. embassy in Moscow, sized up Russia's position this way: "Insofar as Stalin attached importance to the concept of a future international organization, he did so in the expectation that the organization would serve as the instrument for maintenance of a US-UK-Soviet hegemony in international affairs."7 That arrangement could be satisfactory to the Soviets only if Britain and America accepted the sphere of influence the USSR was establishing in Central and Eastern Europe in the summer of 1944. Churchill and the British Foreign Office were skeptical of the Soviet Union's value as a partner in promoting future peace and wary of Stalin's expansionist aims. Anthony Eden, Churchill's foreign minister, viewed Soviet policy as "amoral" and the American attitude as "exaggeratedly moral, at least where non-American interests are concerned."8 Excerpted from A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Mary Ann Glendon All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Chapter 1 The Longing for Freedomp. 3
Chapter 2 Madam Chairmanp. 21
Chapter 3 A Rocky Startp. 35
Chapter 4 Every Conceivable Rightp. 53
Chapter 5 A Philosophical Investigationp. 73
Chapter 6 Late Nights in Genevap. 79
Chapter 7 In the Eye of the Hurricanep. 99
Chapter 8 Autumn in Parisp. 123
Chapter 9 The Nations Have Their Sayp. 143
Chapter 10 The Declaration of Interdependencep. 173
Chapter 11 The Deep Freezep. 193
Chapter 12 Universality Under Siegep. 221
Epilogue: The Declaration Todayp. 235
Notesp. 243
1. The Secretariat's June 1947 Draft (Humphrey Draft)p. 271
2. The June 1947 Draft Revised by Cassin (Cassin Draft)p. 275
3. The June 1947 Draft Revised by the Full Commissionp. 281
4. The Commission's December 1947 Draft (Geneva Draft)p. 289
5. The Commission's June 1948 Draft (Lake Success Draft)p. 294
6. The December 1948 Third Committee Draftp. 300
7. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 10, 1948p. 310
Indexp. 315
Photo and Illustration Creditsp. 335