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Institute for Policy Studies

Report Info

  • Released October 13, 2008
Paths for Reconstruction in the 21st Century » Report

Four Freedoms Under Siege: 2008 Epilogue

This powerful indictment of the U.S. security state now features an updated epilogue.

four freedomsFDR's Four Freedoms — Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear — were presented to the American people in his 1941 State of the Union address, and they became the inspiration for a second bill of rights, extending the New Deal and guaranteeing work, housing, medical care, and education. Although the bill never was adopted in a legal sense in this country, its principles pervaded the political landscape for an entire generation, including the War on Poverty and the Great Society reforms of the 1960s. Furthermore, the ideas expressed in the Four Freedoms speech inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But since the late 1970s and early 1980s, these freedoms have been under assault, from presidential administrations of both parties, economic pressures, and finally, the alleged requirements of national security. After 9/11, this process accelerated even more rapidly.

The new epilogue to the book discusses what needs to be done to lift the siege on the four freedoms and repair the damages incurred by the Bush administration.