Quote of the Day: FDR’s Four Freedoms

January 24, 2007

Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered the State of the Union speech for 1941 on January 6.  Eleven months and one day later, Japan attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. I have been fascinated by Roosevelt’s clear statement of the freedoms he thought worth fighting for, especially considering that most Americans at that moment did not consider it desirable or probable that the U.S. would get involved in the war that raged across the Pacific and Atlantic.

FDR and Churchill, August 9, 1941, aboard U.S.S. Augusta

Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, August 9, 1941; aboard the U.S.S. Augusta, in the Atlantic. Library of Congress.

Here is an excerpt of the speech, the final few paragraphs:

I have called for personal sacrifice, and I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call. A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. In my budget message I will recommend that a greater portion of this great defense program be paid for from taxation than we are paying for today. No person should try, or be allowed to get rich out of the program, and the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation.

If the Congress maintains these principles the voters, putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks, will give you their applause. Read the rest of this entry »

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