Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York on January 30, 1882. He was the only child of wealthy, influential parents. He grew up in a tightly-knit family, full of values, and was always taught right from wrong, something that served him well while dealing with politics in his later life. His father, James Roosevelt, graduated from Union College and Harvard Law School in 1847 and married an aristocratic woman from Hudson Valley. He took over his family's coal and transportation business, and despite occasional losses, became quite wealthy. Then, in 1876, his first wife died, and, though appropriately grieved, he married Sara Delano, a sixth cousin and also a member of the Hudson River aristocracy, four years later. It was a happy marriage, despite the great difference in age, for Sara was roughly twenty-six years of age compared to her husband's fifty-two. Being thus married, Sara and James Roosevelt settled on the Hudson and had a good life until James's death in 1900.

Young Franklin had a happy life, being an only child, for his stepbrother was then an adult. Thus he had no rivals for his parents' love, which prompted them to shower him with lavish attentions, ranging from private tutors until he was fourteen to trips with them to Europe, and yes, even to sailing lessons with them, hereby developing in young Roosevelt a love for sailing and the sea which would become apparent to the public as he vacationed more and more during his presidency. But despite all the attention showered upon him, the young boy understood that, as an aristocrat, there were duties, responsibilities as it were, to society that he must fullfill. This belief was hammered into his head at Groton School in Massachusetts, which he attended between 1896 and 1900.

Groton School was naturally a reputable school. However, young Franklin was not very academically inclined, nor did he excel at sports. For one so privileged, he was, even at that early age, clearly aware of what he owed to the world, a most refreshing attitude. Yet he had a high and lofty manner which dubbed him the nickname "feather-duster". But despite this, he was not lacking in popularity, which showed him to be easily adaptable to any circumstances, a quality that would come in handy during his presidency. His most memorable academic experience yet, the school first introduced him to the notion that everyone, even aristocrats, were responsible for their actions, as well as gave him his first sample of the world outside of his parents' protective wings.