The Roosevelt family was raised under the theory of Muscular Christianity beginning with Thee. Muscular Christians believe that the best way to honor and glorify God is through competition in sports and being active as well as being physically fit. Pictured here we see Teddy Roosevelt playing with his children as well as other family member’s children, teaching them to play football as football was considered to be a more manly sport in this era. Eleanor would have been raised under this philosophy while joining in on the “boisterous” family games. She also would have become well versed in politics during her days at Oyster Bay as she was the “favorite niece of Theodore Roosevelt, the president of the United States.” Citation: Maurine Hoffman Beasley. Eleanor Roosevelt: Transformative First Lady, pg. 8. Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of Kansas, 2010.
Pictured above are Eleanor Roosevelt (as a child) and her father Elliot Roosevelt. Elliot and Eleanor had a complex relationship in that Elliot was, by most standards, far from a perfect father. Elliot Roosevelt had a drinking problem and was an unfaithful husband to Eleanor’s mother Anna Hall Roosevelt. Elliot was said to one night have left Eleanor to hold “Elliot’s dogs on a leash […] for six hours outside the Knickerbocker Club in Manhattan while he drank himself into a stupor.” Eleanor, however, seems to have buried those memories deep in her brain as she remembers her father as “‘the love of my life for many years after he died.’” Elliot often sent Eleanor letters expressing his love for her contributing to the positive memories Eleanor had of her father. The suicide of Eleanor’s father allowed Eleanor to spend more time with her Uncle Teddy at Oyster Bay allowing him to become “the role model she had missed in her own father.” Citation: Maurine Hoffman Beasley. Eleanor Roosevelt: Transformative First Lady. pg. 14.
Above Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt are pictured walking together. Franklin was the fifth cousin to Theodore Roosevelt and they we’re raised under similar circumstances with similar values. Franklin went to Groton, following the many Roosevelts who attended the prep school. Groton taught the Roosevelt’s the values of Muscular Christian’s and therefore FDR and TR would have had similar views on their specific roles in the world. FDR and TR also had similar ideas regarding the Preparedness theory of the navy. The two presidents had a relationship during the childhood of FDR and later in life with TR writing to FDR after his engagement to Eleanor telling him of his deep love for Eleanor as if “she were my daughter.” FDR did campaign for William Jennings Bryan in opposition to TR as the Hyde Park Roosevelts generally were Democrats and the Oyster Bay Roosevelts were generally Republicans. Citation: Maurine Hoffman Beasley. Eleanor Roosevelt: Transformative First Lady, pg. 8.