It was quite an experience watching The Roosevelts on PBS for 14 hours two weeks ago.
They all had to overcome enormous personal and/or physical problems.
Theodore Roosevelt was a sickly child and suffered from severe asthma. He wasn't suppose to live. When he grew up, his wife and mother died on the same. To forget about these deaths, he became a cattle rancher in North Dakota. During a severe winter, Theodore lost his huge herd to freezing temperates. This cost him much of his inheritance. Unfazed by this set back, he became a war hero during the Spanish American War and later became U.S. President where he fought against many monolopies.
Franklin Roosevelt lived in Theodore's shadow for many years. He was shy and definitely not an adventurer like his older cousin. He didn't play team sports and his fellow students rejected him. He managed to get into politics because of his Roosevelt name, but there was nothing about him that would make him look like a world beater. Franklin developed polio in 1921 and it looked like his political career was over. He tried everything he could to rehabilitate himself. Finally, he bought "Warm Springs Georgia" and turned it into a polio rehabilitation centre. The secret to rehabilitating himself wasn't dwelling in self pity, but in helping others. He would do that during "The Great Depression" and "The Second World War".
There are various theories as to what made FDR tick, but I think he was deeply influenced by teachers who were socially active Christians.
Eleanor Roosevelt was called granny by her mother who thought of her as an ugly child. Despite that, she carved out a life for herself that included feminine, social, and racial activism. Probably, her crowning achievement was pushing through the United Nations' "Bill of Rights".
The 20th century was a struggle between good and evil on many fronts. The Roosevelts exemplify what is good and noble about mankind in any age.