United Nations Delegate
In December 1945, seeking to signal America's commitment to the new United Nations organization - and cement his ties to a powerful Democratic party figure - President Harry Truman appointed Eleanor Roosevelt to America's first delegation to the General Assembly.
ER quickly became a major force on refugee and human rights issues. From 1946 to 1951 she chaired the U.N. Human Rights Commission leading the effort to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. An able and determined negotiator, she clashed frequently with Soviet delegates over the definition of human liberties. In the process, she pushed the State Department to recognize that human rights are not only civil and political rights, but social and economic rights too. The Declaration was ER's proudest achievement at the U.N. It created the modern definition of human rights. Today it is the standard for establishing norms governing international behavior regarding the rights of individuals.