For my Intro to American Civilization Mid-Term assignment I decided to visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Museum located in New York City. The Four Freedoms Park was built in honor of President Roosevelt and his famous “Four Freedoms” speech that he addressed. The park has so much to offer on President Roosevelt and the freedoms that he has believed in since the very beginning. I felt that the Four Freedoms Park has a lot to do with the First Amendment being that President Roosevelt believed in the freedom of so many different things. Thus, I picked a place that had a lot in common with what we are learning in Intro to American Civilization.
Franklin Roosevelt was elected president for an unprecedented third term in 1940 because at the time the world faced unprecedented danger, instability, and uncertainty. Much of Europe had fallen to the advancing German Army and Great Britain was barely holding its own. A great number of Americans remained committed to isolationism and the belief that the United States should continue to stay out of the war, but President Roosevelt understood Britain’s need for American support and attempted to convince the American people of the severity of the situation.
In his State of the Union Address on January 6th, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt presented his reasons for American involvement, making the case for continued aid to Great Britain and greater production of war industries at home. In helping Britain, President Roosevelt stated, the United States was fighting for the universal freedoms that all people possessed.
As America entered the war these “four freedoms” which consisted of the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. These four freedoms symbolized America’s war aims and gave hope in the following years to a war-wearied people because they knew they were fighting for freedom.
Roosevelt’s preparation of the Four Freedoms Speech was typical of the process that he went through on major policy addresses. To assist President Roosevelt, he charged his close advisers Harry L. Hopkins, Samuel I. Rosenman, and Robert Sherwood with preparing initial drafts to start off. Adolf A. Berle, Jr., and Benjamin V. Cohen of the State Department also provided their helpful input. But as with all of his speeches, President Roosevelt edited, rearranged, and added things quite extensively until the speech was to become his own creation. In the end, the speech went through seven drafts before it was ready for final delivery.
What I found interesting at the Four Freedoms Park was that the paragraphs from the Four Freedoms Speech did not appear in the speech until the fourth draft. I was told that one night Hopkins, Rosenman, and Sherwood met with the President in his White House study. President Roosevelt announced that he had an idea for a peroration (which happens to be a closing section of a speech).
The ideas enunciated in the Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms were...