Eleanor Roosevelt became a formidable figure in the postwar Democratic Party. She shrewdly used her status as the widow of a revered leader to maximize her influence. Harry Truman courted her support, appointing her to America's first U.N. delegation and soliciting her opinion on many issues. In 1948, she backed Truman for president after he adopted a strong civil rights platform. During the 1950s, she battled Southern Dixiecrats and campaigned for numerous candidates whose stances she embraced. A tough political insider, she helped Adlai Stevenson secure the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1952 and 1956.
In 1960, ER again favored Stevenson for president and spoke on his behalf at the Democratic Convention. After John F. Kennedy won the nomination he journeyed to Val-Kill to secure ER's endorsement - a measure of her power. When he spoke out against racial discrimination, she campaigned for him.