The Four Freedoms is a work for a cappella men’s chorus on a text (reprinted below) adapted from the section of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address that articulates Four Freedoms which he believed were universal human rights and the core of America’s commitment to the world. Uttered less than a year before the United States’ entry into World War II, already being fought at the time of the speech in Europe and Asia, The Four Freedoms proposed a vision for a postwar world worthy of the war’s desperate struggle and terrible sacrifice. They remain worthwhile goals today.
This is what FDR said:
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.