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The Four Freedoms Speech was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union Address for 1941. Two major themes of this speech were the idea that isolationism was impossible and the idea that all Americans were pulling together (and needed to continue to do so) to face a moment of crisis.
FDR began the speech by discussing what he saw as the folly of thinking that the US could remain isolated. He said that it was not possible to “behind an ancient Chinese wall” and let the rest of the world do whatever it wanted. He said that any attempt to do so would lead to a situation where the dictatorships would dominate the world and imperil the United States. Therefore, Roosevelt said, it was his duty to tell Congress and the people that the
future and the safety of our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders.
Because the US was in such grave danger from outside forces, all Americans needed to work together. He said that this was already happening. He repeated three times that Americans were committed to defending themselves and the other democracies of the world through an
impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship.
He said that there was no disagreement between the two major political parties on the issue. He then called for everyone to be prepared to make sacrifices and for all groups to give their full cooperation to the effort to defend democracy in the US and in the rest of the world.
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