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The Four Freedoms

Thanksgiving Day 2008

American artist and illustrator Norman Rockwell painted The Four Freedoms, 1943, in response to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1940 State of the Union speech.

Rockwell's Four Freedoms (Memory): American Treasures of the Library of Congress
Rockwell's Four Freedoms (Memory):
American Treasures of the Library of Congress

Here, the pertinent section of the speech, which is its conclusion:

.... 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 neighbor anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
To that new order we oppose the greater conception the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.
Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change in a perpetual peaceful revolution a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.
This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.

(As a contemporary political aside, can you imagine the furor that would arise were President George W. Bush to issue a speech invoking "the moral order... under the guidance of God"?)

And here is The Four Freedoms Prayer by Arthur Szyk, a Polish Jew who emigrated to the USA.

Four Freedoms Prayer, 1949.
Four Freedoms Prayer, 1949.

It includes a "Prayer for Our Country" that Roosevelt had used in his 1940 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation:

I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-first day of November, 1940, to be observed nationally as a day of thanksgiving.
In a year which has seen calamity and sorrow fall upon many peoples elsewhere in the world may we give thanks for our preservation. On the same day, in the same hour, let us pray:
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; Amen.

The prayer is the traditional Prayer for Our Country from the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer.

(As a contemporary political aside, can you imagine the furor that would arise were President George W. Bush to issue a proclamation quoting a Christian prayer at length?)

In the past, I have already blogged official historic Thanksgiving Proclamations:

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Thu. 11/27/08 07:59:12 AM
Categorized as Historical & Social/Cultural.

   
         
         

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