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Monday, July 16, 2007

The Bill of Rights and Roosevelt

I came across this great image on the Library of Congress website and it inspired a little research.

What happened in 1791? The Bill of Rights was introduced into the Constitution.

What happened in 1941? Theodore Roosevelt was elected for a third term as President. (please, oh great and wondrous Flying Spaghetti Monster, tell me Bush can't do the same thing?) In his State of the Union address he articulated the "Four Freedoms." The entire text is worth reading. He talks about the current threat of "aggressor nations," and asks the American people to sacrifice in order to support other nations in fighting those aggressor nations and changing the US manufacturing function and mindset into war production. It's hawkish, yes. But there's a difference...the bad guys were invading other countries. So these efforts of which he speaks were dedicated to defense, not peremptory offense.

Here are some interesting quotes:

"Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
...
Let us say to the democracies: "We Americans are vitally concerned in your defense of freedom. We are putting forth our energies, our resources and our organizing powers to give you the strength to regain and maintain a free world. We shall send you, in ever-increasing numbers, ships, planes, tanks, guns. This is our purpose and our pledge."
...

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.



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