Originally delivered during a time whilst Russia and Germany were already at war and the USA was still at peace. Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress on January 6, 1941, with a visionary State of the Union speech, where he identified four universal and essential human freedoms.
FDR’s Four Essential Human Freedoms
Freedom of Speech & Expression
Freedom of Worship
Freedom from Want
Freedom from Fear
“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 quick-lime 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 or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.
To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”
From Congressional Record, 1941, Vol. 87, Pt. I.
Listen to the speech via youtube video:
The words from this speech are preserved in stone at Four Freedoms Park. The park is a memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Four Freedoms, located at the southernmost point of Roosevelt Island, in the East River between Manhattan Island and Queens in New York City. The Four Freedoms Park was designed by the architect Louis Kahn and was officially opened October 12, 2012. Park hours: April – October, 7 AM – 8 PM otherwise 7 AM – 5 PM.
Update February 2016:
Has anyone else noticed that Bernie Sander’s might be starting to channel the spirit of FDR in his bid to become the next President of the United States?
EV of the Year Judge, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+, Linked in or website