Prof. Harvey J. Kaye (Democracy and Justice Studies), author of The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, talked with Bill Moyer about how FDR’s speech was a rallying cry to build the kind of progressive society that Roosevelt hoped for but did not live to see at war’s end. His most recent book is FDR on Democracy: The Greatest Speeches and Writings of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In his conversation with Bill Moyers, Kaye says the president was able to mobilize Americans who created “the strongest and most prosperous country in human history.” How did they do it? By working toward the Four Freedoms and making America “freer, more equal and more democratic.”
He believes Americans have not forgotten the Four Freedoms as goals, but have “forgotten what it takes to realize them, that we must defend, sustain and secure democracy by enhancing it. That’s what Roosevelt knew. That’s what Jefferson knew. And no one seems to remember that today. That’s what we have to remind people of.”