dramatic image of Franklin D Roosevelt bust


The Four Freedoms

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 freedoms of every person to worship god in his own way – everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want…everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear…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.

- President Franklin D. Roosevelt

About the Park

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Digital Park is the first online memorial dedicated to the former President. The Park celebrates the Four Freedoms, as pronounced in President Roosevelt's famous January 6, 1941 State of the Union speech: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Freedom of Speech

The first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world.

Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition -- this set of guarantees, protected by the First Amendment, comprises what we refer to as freedom of expression. The Supreme Court has written that this freedom is "the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom." After WW2, the Commission on Human Rights, chaired by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, drafted the Universal Decleration of Human Rights. It was adopted on December 10, 1948 and is one of the most widely translated documents in the world. The Declaration calls for all governments and people to secure basic human rights and to take measures to ensure these rights are upheld, expecially the freedom of speech.

Freedom to Worship

The second is freedoms of every person to worship god in his own way – everywhere in the world.

The best kinds of freedoms are the ones that endure when they’re tested. And we have repeatedly tested the four freedoms identified by FDR in this country. It’s important to remain clear-eyed and reflect on what these freedoms mean -- to our country and to each of us individually. These freedoms have evolved over time, but they are still a fundamental piece of the fabric that makes up our democracy. This is what makes America great, even though it can be complicated and messy. Freedom of religion, tolerance for differences, and diverse perspectives are key reasons that our country works.

Freedom From Want

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 New Deal was a series of programs and projects instituted during the Great Depression by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that aimed to restore prosperity to Americans. When Roosevelt took office in 1933, he acted swiftly to stabilize the economy and provide jobs and relief to those who were suffering. Over the next eight years, the government instituted a series of experimental New Deal projects and programs, such as the CCC, the WPA, the TVA, the SEC and others. Roosevelt’s New Deal fundamentally and permanently changed the U.S. federal government by expanding its size and scope—especially its role in the economy.

The Three R's of The New Deal

Relief was aimed at providing temporary help to suffering and unemployed Americans. FDR set up the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to provide jobs to millions of unemployed Americans and "stimulate" the economy. The WPA built more than 650,000 miles of roads as well as 150,000 schools, airports, hospitals, parks, dams, and other public projects, many of which are still in use today.




black and white image from The New Deal work program. Workers in a field.

Freedom From Fear

The fourth is freedom from fear -- which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world.

This speech was intended to rally the American people against the Axis threat and to shift favor in support of assisting British and Allied troops. Roosevelt's words came at a time of extreme American isolationism; since World War I, many Americans sought to distance themselves from foreign entanglements, including foreign wars. The speech was a rallying cry for Americans at home to support the War Effort as best they could. This included entering women into the work force to perform jobs that were otherwise restricted to men. This included manual labor jobs such as the welding team below.