One reason—perhaps the chief—of the virility of the Roosevelts is [their] very democratic spirit. They have never felt that because they were born in a good position they could put their hands in their pockets and succeed. They have felt, rather, that being born in a good position, there is no excuse for them if they did not do their duty by the community.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), U.S. president. From FDR's sophomore honor's thesis at Harvard. Nathan Miller, F.D.R.: An Intimate History, p. 33, Doubleday & Co. (1983).
The Roosevelts on both the Republican and Democratic side of the family were raised in the tradition of noblesse oblige and FDR firmly believed in the concept of obligation to society. Eleanor Roosevelt explained her husband's break with James Farley had less to do with politics than Farley's fascination with the moneyed people he came to know and admire. "Jim and Betsy (Mrs. Farley) became more and more interested in social position while Franklin and I were concerned with social issues" (interview with Eleanor Roosevelt at Hyde Park, New York, Summer 1959).