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Topic: President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Four Freedoms: More relevant than ever in a time of war, a quest for peace

Freedom from want

As we enter this Thanksgiving Day, we are drawn to thoughts of hearth, home , family and family of the heart.

Though the faces, the hairstyles, the clothing may seem old-fashioned, the Norman Rockwell painting, Freedom from Want (at left) exemplifies what most of us see as the perfect Thanksgiving: a table laden with food, our families intact, disagreements set aside, and our dreams and despair shunted aside for a brief hours of well-nourished peace and companionship.

The painting is classic, and rooted in a yesterday that too soon become a grim reality. It is the height of irony that as we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinners today, the Four Freedoms articulated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt have resurfaced as the very issues for which wars are being fought. The Four Freedoms were first spoken by Roosevelt on January 6, 1941, in a State of the Union address to Congress just eleven months prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — our “Day of Infamy.”

In what has become known as the Four Freedoms speech, Roosevelt designated four benchmarks of fundamental human freedoms everyone “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy:

1. Freedom of speech and expression
2. Freedom of every person to worship in his own way
3. Freedom from want
4. Freedom from fear

He took his belief beyond the Constitution and its first amendment protections, extending this ideal as a model for humanity. This endorsement of rights to economic security, this international perspective on foreign policy are now central tenets of American liberalism. «Read the rest of this article»

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