At the beginning of the nineteenth century America began seriously to seek European markets. Theretofore trading had been on a small scale but at the close of the eighteenth century the prosperous merchants of New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore began to send their representatives abroad in larger numbers for the purpose of building up the growing international trade. Their families, descendants of pioneering folk, were, for the most part, unaccustomed to European manners and especially to the sophistications of the French élite.
Apart from those whose professional or business interests took them abroad, the wealthy members of society's more exclusive circles along the Atlantic seaboard probably accounted for the largest number of Americans visiting Europe. William Tudor, founder of the North American Review and a European traveler himself, was to boast in 1820 that there was a large group of both sexes in his native Boston who had not only seen London and Paris, but also Rome and Naples. A few years later Francis Lieber, the German-American editor of the Encyclopedia Americana, expressed his amazement that ladies of fashion in New York thought no more of a trip to Paris than those of London. Society already had an international flavor; the ambitious had discovered the prestige of having been in Europe. The course set by the William Binghams in the 1780's was being followed forty years later by the elite of Boston and New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Among them was one group, with all the advantages of inherited wealth and a cultured background, who went abroad not in any spirit of ostentation, not from social ambition, but as the most natural thing in the world. Both branches of the Roosevelt family---Oyster Bay and Hyde Park---were representative of this conservative well-to-do class, and it is hardly surprising to find that both Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt were taken abroad as children, and then in turn embarked on European honeymoons