“The division between the worthy and the unworthy citizen must be drawn on conduct and character and not on wealth or poverty.”
Roosevelt was raised by a father who stressed that wealth provided opportunity to help others but the quality of your character was the reason to do so. In college, “Teddy” met many people of privilege who were living off of family trusts with no desire to do anything but relax once out of college – and he loathed them. Later, he would meet poor but able people who chose not to subscribe to hard work and he felt the same about them. What he determined is what his father had preached: that character drives the success of a person, and success was not money, but contribution to society.
TR believed in the Strenuous life, a life of toil and work worth doing. To him, character was the ultimate measure of a person and he considered his own demonstration of it to others as his hallmark. There were many people who politically he disagreed, but considered close friends because of their commitment to others and society as a whole. Many of his actions went against the Republican party of the time, because he believed strongly that decisions were not just to appease the country for that moment, but to build a country for “your children and your children’s children”.