PEACETOPIAN MILESTONES

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January 6 , 1941 - The Four Freedoms

The State of the Union address that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered before the US Congress on January 6, 1941 is famously remembered as the Four Freedoms speech. In this speech, President Roosevelt outlined four basic freedoms that everyone in the world should enjoy: freedom of speech; freedom of worship; freedom from want; and freedom from fear. A century and a half before, the US Bill of Rights had outlined basic human rights guaranteed to all US citizens. The first two of Roosevelt's 'four freedoms' were covered by the First Amendment, but in his proposal, President Roosevelt significantly presented the idea that other basic rights were equally important, and should be shared not just by Americans, but by the citizens of every nation.

'Freedom from want' addressed the idea that every person had a basic human right to economic security. Access to food, water, shelter and health care were all basic human rights. This concept would later become known as 'human security' in social science and economic development theory and policy.

'Freedom from fear' suggested that peace was also a human right. Society has an obligation to protect individuals from violence in their communities, and the global community has an obligation to protect individual nations from violent aggression by other nations. This issue was particularly relevant as at the time Europe was embroiled in the devastating Second World War after Germany and Japan's aggressive invasions of neighboring nations. It would be 11 months before the United States would enter World War II, and Roosevelt's intention in including this fourth fundamental freedom was to inspire a national moral conviction to help our allies. It was also to promote the idea of creating institutions that would help to maintain a peaceful global community when that current global crisis was resolved. The formation of the United Nations at the end of the war would be a manifestation of this idealistic vision.

Although many in the world at the time were living without any of these freedoms because of World War II, President Roosevelt saw the achievement of a world where all shared these four freedoms as a reasonable goal. "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."

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's passion for the ideals her husband expressed in The Four Freedoms speech was clearly reflected in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights she spearheaded; the four freedoms are included in the preamble, and the Declaration itself expanded and more clearly defined the basic rights to which all people are entitled.

President Roosevelt's speech inspired many cultural manifestations of the ideals he presented. Iconic illustrator Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms paintings were seen by millions in The Saturday Evening Post in 1943 and raised 130 million dollars in war bond sales when the US Treasury Department toured them around the nation. Murals, monuments and parks were created, such as Michael Lenson's mural at the Fourteenth Street School in Newark, New Jersey, and New York City's Four Freedoms Monument in Madison Square Garden and Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. The Four Freedoms Award is presented each year to individuals who have dedicated their lives to these ideals.


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MILESTONES

c.380 BC
"Republic"

1215
Magna Carta

1516
"Utopia"

1528
"On Civil Power"

1625
"On The Law
of War and Peace"

1648
Peace of Westphalia

1650-1799
Enlightenment

1689
"Two Treatises of Government"

1762
"Social Contract"

July 4, 1776
US Declaration of Independence

September 17, 1787
US Constitution

August 26, 1789
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

September 25, 1789
US Bill of Rights

1793
Department of Peace

1795
"Perpetual Peace"

May 18, 1899
Hague Peace Conference

1901
Nobel Peace Prize

January 8, 1918
14 Points

June 28, 1919
League of Nations

1933
The New Deal

January 6, 1941
The Four Freedoms

October 24, 1945
The United Nations

August, 1947
World Federalist Movement

December 10, 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

1955
"Let There Be
Peace On Earth"

1956
The Beloved Community

1960-1963
The New Frontier

1963-1969
The Great Society

1970
Earth Day

October 11, 1971
"Imagine"

1981
International Day of Peace

1985
77 Theses on the Care of the Earth

1988
Global Cooperation for a Better World

1991
Earth Constitution

1992
UNESCO
Culture of Peace Programme

1992
"4000 Ideas & Dreams for a Better World"

1995
Earth Magna Charta

1995
"When Corporations Rule The World"

1996
"Peace On Earth Millennium"

1997
Appeal of the Nobel Laureates

1998
"Conscious Evolution"

May 11-15, 1999
Hague Appeal for Peace

January 1, 2000
One Day In Peace

June 29, 2000
The Earth Charter

September, 2000
Millennium Development Goals

January 25-30, 2001
World Social Forum

October, 2001
"Better World Handbook"

2005
Clinton Global Initiative

July 18, 2007
The Elders

September 17, 2011
Occupy Wall Street