Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms
"In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms."
- Franklin Roosevelt, Annual Message to Congress, January 6, 1941
In the early days of World War II, FDR began to frame the conflict in universal terms - as a struggle to defend freedom everywhere in the world. His most enduring expression of this concept came in a January 6, 1941 speech to Congress in which he envisioned "a world founded upon four essential human freedoms." These were: "freedom of speech and expression," "freedom of every person to worship God in his own way," "freedom from want," and "freedom from fear."
Roosevelt's Four Freedoms became a powerful statement of Allied war aims. Artist Norman Rockwell later depicted them in a famous series of paintings. When America entered the war the paintings were featured on posters promoting war bonds that helped finance the fighting.