Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” and Obama’s “Welcoming Remarks”

Topic: Political Communication
Words: 351 Pages: 1


Roosevelt and Obama discuss the importance of fundamental human rights in their speeches. They particularly emphasize freedom from fear as the necessary condition for world peace and economic development. It implies that people should feel safe from acts of violence, war, terrorism, and oppression. However, President Obama added that economic crises and political turmoil might be the reasons for fear as well, and it is essential to unite to mitigate these problems. Ultimately, the context of the two speeches differs, and the idea of freedom from fear has changed over time.

Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”

Roosevelt discussed four primary freedoms in his famous 1941 speech and emphasized freedom from fear as critical for American citizens. He defined it as the “world-wide reduction of armaments” that would have effectively eliminated global violence (Roosevelt, 1941). Since Roosevelt addressed Congress in the year when the United States joined World War II, he focused on the military aspect of fear. As a result, the context of the speech specified freedom from fear as freedom from global wars.

Obama’s “Welcoming Remarks”

Obama expanded Roosevelt’s concept of freedoms, adding the notion of economic and political problems. The comparable part was that Obama emphasized the fundamental human right, “our citizens should be able to live free from fear” (“PM and President Obama,” 2012). He stated that it was essential to protect people and unite against terrorism threats. However, Obama discussed other economic problems, such as global unemployment as well, as the consequence of terrorism that invokes fear in people.


As seen from the presidents’ speeches, the meaning of freedom from fear has slightly changed over time. The address by Roosevelt focused on global wars as the dangers of World War II affected virtually every person on Earth. On the other hand, Obama organized his speech around various economic, political, and military factors that invoke fear in people. Ultimately, while the two speeches generally concern the same idea, the freedom from fear focused on the war in 1941 and on global economic problems and terrorism in 2012. Therefore, the meaning of freedom from fear has changed over time.


PM and President Obama remarks at White House arrival ceremony. (2012)., Web.

Roosevelt, F. D. (1941). Annual message to Congress. National Archives, Web.

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