Not long after her husband's death, Eleanor Roosevelt told a reporter: "The story is over." But no one who cared so much for so many causes and who was so effective a leader could long remain on the sidelines. Over the next decade and a half, she continued to be the most effective woman in American politics. In long letters to President Harry S. Truman, she implored the administration to
push forward with civil rights;
maintain the Fair Employment Practices Commission;
develop a foreign policy able to cope with the needs of other nations; and
work toward a world system where atom bombs would cease to be a negotiating chip in international relations.
President Truman nominated Eleanor Roosevelt as a United States delegate to the United Nations. There she argued, debated, and lobbied for the creation of a document on human rights that would embody standards that civilized humankind would accept as sacred and inalienable. Finally on Dec. 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, fundamentally shaped by her, passed the General Assembly. Delegates rose in a standing ovation to the woman who more than anyone else had come to symbolize the cause of human rights. She was a national heroine during the New Deal years_she was without a doubt the most popular woman in America during the postwar years.