State of the union address the Four Freedoms Franklin D Roosevelt delivered 6 January 1941
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd United States of America president and in the year 1941, to be specific on 6th January he addressed the nation in what was called the ‘four freedom speech’. This is because in his speech he had addressed four types of freedom that human beings should enjoy. The president talked about the freedom of speech and freedom of worship which are protected in the constitution after the first amendment. There is also freedom from want and the freedom from fear protected by the United States bill of rights.
The president’s other part of the speech emphasized on democracy and its benefits. He said that when a country has democracy there are a lot of economic opportunities and hence people will have economic understanding and make sure that their future in terms of the economy is secure. Democracy also leads to social security and the fears of civil wars are eliminated. It also leads to better health care ensuring the nation is working because they are all in good health care. The president in his speech said that there was a danger to democracy caused by the Axis powers. He said that their democracy and that of other countries was been attacked by an enemy and that had to stop because unity among peaceful nations was also at a risk. They had to protect their healthy and strong democracy.
The speech also was sure to show why the United States would defeat the enemy which was now called the new order of tyranny. Roosevelt said that the United States had a moral and just characteristic which was seen on how they respected other people’s rights and dignity in and outside their country. He explained because of these values they possess they could not just sit and watch an enemy dominating others. Roosevelt said that the moral united nation would defeat the immoral enemy.
This speech main concern was the United States security as there was an ongoing war, the world war 11.There are those who viewed the speech as a go ahead to intervene in the war and this may have been right but Roosevelt did not say it directly. The reason why the United States needed a go ahead was because they had declared after the World War 1 they would not intervene in any other wars. They went ahead to adopt the policy of non-interventionism and isolationism. The president in his speech said that the United States was faced with a threat that would affect its future and emphasized that they had never been in such a situation before. He continued by saying that their enemy wanted to take control of all nations including the United States. He later exposed the enemy and said that it was the Axis dictators and their armies. This created tension among the people and they knew they had to go to war. The speech was analyzed in certain ways to show that it meant going to war, the president had emphasized on the Axis power being an immoral enemy, there was the point of democracy as a symbolic victim and that the United States was a moral agent. The four freedoms also analyzed that. After 11 months the United States declared war with Japan.
The president justified going to war by saying that they needed to protect the four freedoms that he gave. He said that they needed to fight the villains to protect this four freedoms and that way they would also be protecting their democracy. Franklin Roosevelt however emphasized that it was not only about defeating the villain but also about building a better world where people enjoyed the four freedoms. Those four freedoms even after the war were seen as values that were close and important to American life.
Democracy and Reasoning
Democracy has been defined as the form of government in which all of a country’s citizens are eligible to have an equal right in the say about decisions that are always affecting their lives (Flynn 12). Democracy allows citizens to take part in law making, a process which involves proposing and creation of the laws that govern the state. On the other hand human reasoning is a term used to refer to the capacity of human beings to make judgments using logic and judgments that are related to knowledge. It is further defined as the ability of human beings to think in a way that is reasonable. It is identified as the ability to self-consciously change traditions and beliefs and with the capacity for self-determination and freedom (Flynn 32).
There is a great relationship which emerges when democracy and human reasoning are linked. Democracy can be thought of as a political system that elects its leaders through fair and free elections. Having that in mind, citizens of the state should act reasonably and exercise their duty to vote. It is the right of every eligible citizen to exercise his/her democratic right in voting in a free and fair election (Flynn 21). It happens that good leaders that can uphold democracy are voted by citizens themselves. In so doing, it is obvious that democracy will definitely uphold in the state. In states that citizens who are eligible for voting do not vote, it means that they are acting unreasonably since a saying goes that bad leaders are elected by good citizens who do not vote. It is simple logic that people should participate in elections so as to realize democracy (Flynn 32).
The active participation of the people in politics and civic life is also another proof of existence of democracy in a state. Human reasoning largely comes into play in this. The government, if at all is a democratic government, should allow its citizens to participate in giving opinions in the leadership issues that affect the state. It is common knowledge and every leader who is in the right mind should understand that the decisions that are made the central government are a direct influence to the citizen and therefore the citizen should be accorded the right to voice their concerns in the issues that are of a concern to them (Flynn 77). Leaderships that values human reasoning would definitely allow the citizens to voice their concerns on leadership so as to deal with the issues that affect their citizens (Flynn 81).
A democracy should ensure that the rights of its citizens are protected. The government should act consciously to ensure that every individual who enjoys the privilege of being a citizen of a country enjoys equal rights and justice (Flynn 47-8). Reason has its big role to play in the ensuring that rights of the citizens are protected. The leadership should ensure that the citizens are cushioned from any violation of their rights by either single or groups of individuals either inside or outside the government. The people should enjoy the privileges in the state in the sense that they feel that they are protected by the government. Nevertheless, it should be observed that the citizens should be reasoning enough to recognize the fact that in enjoyment of one’s right should not tamper with another person’s space in which another individual is harmed in the name of freedom and rights (Flynn 79).
A democracy is a system that I governed by a set of laws and not individuals. A democracy provides that all citizens have equal rights under the rule of law and no one should be discriminated in the basis of their ethnicity, race, race, religion or gender. It provides that the citizen should not be arrested or exiled arbitrary. It is only leaders that act reasonably that can grant these provisions of the government. Unreasonable leaders that are the dictators may direct imprisonment or exile of people who may seem to oppose their undemocratic leadership (Flynn 61). In a case where a citizen is detained, he/she possess the right to be informed of the charges that he/she faces. Under such democratic rights, no one is guilty or convicted of an offense until proven otherwise; hence the law of innocent prevails. Any person who is charged with a crime in a democracy has the right/freedom to speedy and fair a trial by a court of law. Unreasonable leaders treat suspects of crime like people who don’t have a right and therefore impeding on their rights by giving unfair and delayed justices to the expense of the suspect (Flynn 78). That is unreasonable.
The rule of law of law has some certain limits that it sets on the powers of the government. There is no government official who should violate these limits that are set to control the subjectivity of the government. It is common sense that the law is supreme to all the citizens including those in leadership positions. This means that all citizens are equally punishable by the law regardless of their background or social class. It is established that in a democracy the constitution acts a tool for guidance in the rule of law and every individual possess the right to be heard equally (Flynn 67). The citizens should also use common sense and reason to advocate for their right.
If at all democracy is to work in a country, human reasoning is key to its success. Citizens should not only participate but also exercise their rights. Rules, principles, and democratic conducts must be observed (Flynn 98). The citizens must respect the rule of law and reject violence. It takes reasoning to realize that nothing justifies violence against your opponents just because they oppose you. The dignity of humanity must be respected and people should respect the rights of fellow citizens. Reasonable citizens should just make an inquiry on the key federal government decisions and policies but should not reject them (Flynn 71). It has been well established that in order for a democracy to work, human reasoning should be in the frontline to ensure that the ruling class and the citizens are in harmony so as to ensure that all citizens feel that have an equal say in the governance of the country.
Flynn, Ian. Deliberative democracy and divided societies. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006. Print.
The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt New York: Random House and
Harper and Brothers, 1940, 633-44