The Four Freedoms – Freedom From Fear

Freedom from Fear, Norman Rockwell.1943. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. ,


What Are the Four Freedoms?

The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Monday, January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech (technically the 1941 State of the Union address), he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy:

  1. Freedom of speech
  2. Freedom of worship
  3. Freedom from want
  4. Freedom from fear

Roosevelt Defines the Fourth Freedom

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.— Roosevelt, January 6, 1941

Freedom From Fear:  Benét‘s Answer

In 1943, the Saturday Evening Post commissioned novelist and poet Stephen Vincent Benét to write his ‘Freedom From Fear’ essay to accompany Norman Rockwell’s painting, ‘Freedom from Fear.’ The following short passage, originally published as part of Benet’s essay on March 13, 1943,  is particularly applicable to our twenty-first century world:

“We who are alive today did not make our free institutions. We got them from the men of the past, and we hold them in trust for the future. Should we put ease and selfishness above them, that trust will fail and we shall lose all, not a portion or a degree of liberty, but all that has been built for us and all that we hope to build.

Real peace will not be won with one victory. It can be won only by long determination, firm resolve, and a wish to share and work with other men, no matter what their race or creed or condition. And yet, we do have the choice. We can have freedom from fear.”

Read entire essay online at The Saturday Evening Post, Dec. 21, 2017.


Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:”Freedom from Fear” – NARA – 513538.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed October 29, 2018).

Wikisource contributors, “The Four Freedoms speech,” Wikisource , (accessed October 30, 2018).

Wikipedia contributors, “Four Freedoms,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed October 29, 2018).

Wikipedia contributors, “Four Freedoms Award,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed October 29, 2018).

Thanks for Reading! 🙂


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