The Law School Forum closed its fifteenth season quietly last night as the first lady of American politics, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, addressed a small group assembled at Sanders Theatre.
The audience had not come to hear a controversial speech by Mrs. Roosevelt; the topic of her address was not even printed on the program. Almost reverently the crowd greeted the former President's wife with a standing ovation; not even a cough broke the respectful silence which lasted throughout her informal remarks.
Mrs. Roosevelt chose as her topic for the evening "Unrest Within the Democratic Party." The Forum committee brought in three experts on Massachusetts politics, including the President of the Boston City Council, to discuss this problem as it pertained to the local scene.
Mrs. Roosevelt's address, however, was more of a general over-view of political philosophy than a discussion of the current struggles for control of the Democratic Party.
Asks Party Realignment
Speaking of the similarity between America's two parties Mrs. Roosevelt called for a "re-alignment based on principles" in the American party system. She maintained that Republicans and Democrats each have conservative and progressive wings in their organizations, although the Republicans, as a whole, were "possibly a bit less progressive than the Democrats."
Traditionally, Democrats have been aligned with the working classes in the big cities, she declared. Today, however, the constituency of the party is changing. She noted that now Democrats are becoming more representative of intellectual and middle-class "suburbia" groups.
In addition to this switch in constituency, a feeling of disenchantment on the part of the workers is another prime cause of "unrest" in the party. Mrs. Roosevelt claimed that many city-dwellers are beginning to feel that there are certain problems which neither party is facing.
She did not, however, view this unrest as an evil. If such unrest led to a realignment of parties, it could be a great good for American society. "We could then move forward with more sense of unity," she declared.