1941 January 6

FDR Delivers Four Freedoms Speech


In a section of his State of the Union Address on this day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered what has become famous as his Four Freedoms speech. The Four Freedoms are Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. The freedoms from want and fear, of course, are not part of the Bill of Rights. But Roosevelt’s reference to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Worship were the most important statements by a sitting president on these two parts of the Bill of Rights.

The Norman Rockwell illustrations of the Four Freedoms were originally published in the Saturday Evening Post, beginning on February 20, 1943. The illustrations were later widely circulated as posters, and have become American cultural icons.

FDR: “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.”

Read FDR’s Speech:

Watch the speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnrZUHcpoNA

Visit Four Freedoms Park in New York City:

Learn more: Stuart Murray, Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms (1993)

Also Visit the Four Freedoms Monument in the Trimont Neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio (and encourage Cleveland officials to publicize the monument)

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