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Voices of Democracy
The hope expressed by many voices of democracy through centuries
of time was effectively summarized by the President of the United States in January 1941:
"We Go Forward" " if the spirit of America were killed, even though the Nation's body and mind, constricted in an alien world, lived on, the America we know would have perished.
That spirit—that faith-speaks to us in our daily lives in ways often unnoticed, because they seem so obvious. It speaks to us here in the Capital of the Nation. It speaks to us through the processes of governing in the sovereignties of 48 States. It speaks to us in our counties, in our cities, in our towns, and in our villages. It speaks to us from the other nations of the hemisphere, and from those across the seas—the enslaved, as well as the free. Sometimes we fail to hear or heed these Voices of Freedom because to us the privilege of our freedom is such an old, old story.
If we lose that sacred fire-if we let it be smothered with doubt and fear—then we shall reject the destiny which George Washington strove so valiantly and so triumphantly to establish.
In the face of great perils never before encountered, our strong purpose is to protect and to perpetuate the integrity of democracy.
We do not retreat. We are not content to stand still. As Americans, we go forward, in the service of our country, by the will of God-Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Third Inaugural Address, January 20, 1941.
... 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 conditionswithout the concentration camp or the quicklime 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 leads 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 in our unity of purpose.
To that high concept there can be no end save victory.-Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Message to the Congress, January 6, 1941.