Explore History ›

The Remarkable Eleanor Roosevelt

Getty Images / Universal History Archive

The Remarkable Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the most-admired first ladies of all time. And in the 50 years since her death, she has been endlessly quoted.

No surprise, considering how very quotable many of her wise words were. Anyone with more than a few friends on Facebook has probably seen this much-loved Rooseveltism crop up:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

It’s just one example of a perfect aphorism from a remarkable woman – one who used her enormous influence to help form the United Nations, advance human rights, launch second-wave feminism, and much more. Eleanor Roosevelt was deeply respected during her lifetime, and her stature hasn’t diminished since her death – a Gallup poll placed her at No. 9 among the most respected people of the 20th century.

From her intelligence to her outspokenness to her compassion, there’s much to love about Eleanor Roosevelt. But perhaps our favorite thing about her is her skill with coining a phrase. So today, on the 50th anniversary of her death, we’re sharing a few of our favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quotes.

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”




“Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.”

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”




It’s hard not to take inspiration from Roosevelt’s bold and fearless words. Which do you find most inspiring? Share your favorite quotation from the remarkable Eleanor Roosevelt in the comments section below.