The Four Freedoms

How can we most effectively live as fully functional human beings who not merely exist?  This question may have been in the mind of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at least a few times.  Judging him by his aspirations and legislative mission, FDR possessed a positive motivation to see his nation and the world become more humane places.

On today’s date in 1941, President Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union AddressFDR_congress to a joint session of Congress. Historians have since named the address, “The Four Freedoms Speech”.  The ideals are timeless and were brought to new life during the harsh realities of the day and age.  It was the end of the Great Depression.  The Axis of dictatorships was in the process of subjugating much of the world, as well.  World War Two was in full swing.

“…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….–FDR January 6, 1941

All four of the objectives stood in stark contrast to the oppressive regimes of communism and especially fascism.  The suppression of free speech, the imposition of theocratic/plutocratic  tyranny, the widespread hunger and poverty, and the iron-fisted propaganda and rule were all too present in much of the world at that time.

The presidential goal included the ultimate defeat of tyrannical dictatorships and thereby eliminate oppression of people everywhere.  Then to ensure that basic humane treatment of the people become universal realities.  When a person no longer must scramble for subsistance and is free of oppression, he or she is free to consider higher thoughts and actions.

A positive, charitable way of thinking is more likely to come about when that person’s existance is not in question.  This state of being leads to us acting less like beasts and more like compassionate, caring beings. This state of being is what meshes with our inate social inclinations.

The speech planted the goals of realizing universal human rights by the United States and many other nations.  In fact, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt worked to see that the ideals of the Four Freedoms become implemented.  These ideals did form the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Resolution was approved by the United Nations’ General Assembly.

We still have a long road ahead to reach the destination of a world that enjoys universal freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.  I have hopes that the freedoms will be attained sooner rather than later.


The Blue Jay of Happiness knows that security in these basics will promote happiness and joy everywhere.

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in History, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.