Four Freedoms

We are delighted to welcome back our resident historian and stalwart friend today, Mr. Paul Washington. Please take a few moments to enjoy this timely reflection, and to appreciate all those who have sacrificed on our behalf.

In January of 1941, the United States was just beginning to emerge from the throes of the decade-long Great Depression. We were aware of the burgeoning war that had begun across the Atlantic, but our young men would not be called into full-fledged battle until that terrible attack on Pearl Harbor some 11 months later.

It was against this historical backdrop that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress and, via radio broadcast, to the citizens of the United States. He closed his speech with the now-famous “Four Freedoms Discourse,” in which he espoused the four freedoms essential to all of humanity: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
President Roosevelt's speech inspired four paintings by Norman Rockwell.  Clockwise from upper-left: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

President Roosevelt’s speech inspired four paintings by Norman Rockwell. Clockwise from upper-left: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

In light of today being a day set aside to honor our Veterans, we here at The Mighty F would like to take this opportunity to dedicate our little corner of the world wide web to honor those who have fought on our behalf to secure President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.  The text of the Four Freedoms Discourse is below:

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.”

“The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.  The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.  The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.”

“That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called “new order” of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb. To that new order we oppose the greater conception — the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear. Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society. This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”

*Paul is a proud son of Madison County, Florida, home of WWII hero Capt. Colin P. Kelly, Jr., and location of the Four Freedoms Monument, which was commissioned by President Roosevelt.

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Filed under F Commentary, F History, Fighting, Foreign Policy Fixes

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