The Unity Project

Artist: Norman Rockwell

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Year: 1943

Freedom of Speech painting by Norman Rockwell Freedom of Worship painting by Norman Rockwell Freedom from Want painting by Norman Rockwell Freedom from Fear painting by Norman Rockwell

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Worship

Freedom from Want

Freedom from Fear

The four freedoms refer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's January 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union address in which he identified essential human rights that should be universally protected. The theme was incorporated into the Atlantic Charter, and became part of the charter of the United Nations. To put it another way, FDR's speech was known for "identifying the objectives of the war and revealing his hopeful view of the postwar world".

The speech helped to awaken Congress and the nation to the dire war calling, articulate ideological aims of the necessary armed conflict and appeal to the universal American belief of freedom. Domestically, the Four Freedoms were not something Roosevelt was able to achieve through simple legislation, although they provided a theme for American military participation in the war.

"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." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

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The Unity Project

The Unity Project is an art and civics initiative of the Norman Rockwell Museum and contemporary illustrators that is dedicated to an inclusive America in which all voices are heard.

Inspired by the rich and continuing tradition of American illustration, this project inspires us to consider the integral role that published imagery plays in creating cultural narratives which connect us to our times.

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