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"Quatre libertés" de Franklin Delano (document en anglais).

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Four Freedoms


This text is a speech called “Four Freedoms”, written by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1941, for the occasion of the Annual Message to the Congress. Franklin Roosevelt was born on January 30th, 1882 in Hyde Park, New York, and died in 1945 in War Springs, Georgia. He was an American lawyer who served as the 32nd president of the United States of America from March 1933 to his death, preceded by President Hoover and followed by President Truman. He was the only president elected four consecutive times.

This speech is about the four main freedoms that everybody deserved all around the world, according to Roosevelt. He recommended to the Congress to alloy the borrowing of weapons for the allies.

This speech was pronounced on January 6th 1941, in the middle of the 2nd World War, and was destined to the members of the 77th Congress and the people of America.

Firstly, we will talk about the History context, which Roosevelt was talking in the speech. Then, we’ll see the objectives and the risks of the Four Freedoms. And finally, we will discuss and propose a critical part about this speech.

I) History Context:

1) Distant Past

At the beginning of the speech, Roosevelt is making lots of references of American history and worldwide conflicts.

At first, he mentions “formation of our government under the Constitution in 1789 (March 4th)”. At this time, United States has known the first president election with George Washington as the first president.

Then, he speaks about the Civil War in United States, when all Americans were separated in two groups with divergent ideas. And, he also talks about the French Revolution with “That determination of ours, extending over all these years, was proved, for example, in the early days during the quarter century of wars following the French Revolution.”, and about Napoleon with “While the Napoleonic struggles did threaten interests of the United States because of the French foothold in the West Indies and in Louisiana, and while we engaged in the War of 1812 to vindicate our right to peaceful trade.” It shows the struggle of America to make trade peacefully.

2) World Wars

During the 1st World War, America was also implicated, “engaged in two wars with European nations and in a number of undeclared wars in the West Indies, in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific, for the maintenance of American rights and for the principles of peaceful commerce”. In 1918, at the end of the 1st World War, America has been destroyed with human lost but economically and politically is going very well, comparing to other Europeans countries.

All these references show the influence and importance that America had had around the world. But in 1941, the war is wide spreading and Roosevelt needs to make all Americans agree to stay strong.

At the time of the speech, the war has begun for 2 years already and America wasn’t implicated into it. Roosevelt is asking to the American people to understand the emergency of the situation and the needed of America to go to war. “American security has been as seriously threatened from without as it is today.” It’s why Roosevelt said: “this annual message to the Congress is unique in our history.”

II) Objectives and risks of the Four Freedoms

1) Four Freedoms

Roosevelt in his speech exposes his main ideas for American future, which he called the “Four Freedom”. “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 neighbour -- anywhere in the world.”

The two first ones recall the ideas of the 1st amendment of the American Constitution, and the two last ones with the right of the economic security and the internationalist and stranger policy’s point of view of America, became the bases and the foundation of American liberal’s policy.

The Four Freedom inspired a flag, which represented the UNO (United Nations Organization) at its beginning in an non-official way. Each band represents a freedom, told by Roosevelt.

It also inspired a painting by Norman Rockwell, where every pictures represented also a Freedom of the “Four Freedom”.

2) Objectives

Trough this text, Roosevelt exposed his main objectives for American policy and the big emergency in Europe. In fact, Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy are struggling for two years and the war is starting to reach United States.

“Our national policy in internal affairs has been based upon a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all our fellow men within our gates, so our national policy in foreign affairs has been based on a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all nations, large and small.”

For Roosevelt, America needs to take its responsibilities: “Every member of the executive branch of the government and every member of the Congress face great responsibility”.

Firstly, the main objective is to help the European allies by giving them weapons and ways to defend themselves. “We are committed to all-inclusive national


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