1¢ Four Freedoms
Issue Date: February 12, 1943
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10.5
Color: Bright blue green
President Franklin Roosevelt personally selected the image for U.S. #908. He believed that the stamp should convey to the world the reasons the U.S. had joined the war – the Four Freedoms outlined in his 1941 State of the Union address.
For the stamp design, President Roosevelt selected Paul Manship’s painting, Liberty Holding the Lighted Torch of Freedom and Enlightenment. Unlike the previous World War II issues, the Four Freedoms stamp was positively received by stamp collectors and the public, who felt the stamp perfectly embodied the ideas it presented.
The Four Freedoms
By January 1941, World War II had wreaked havoc across the world. Germany had invaded Poland, Belgium, and Holland. Additionally, France had been defeated by a German blitz, leaving England the lone nation against Germany. The Soviet Union had invaded Finland and Japan was ruthlessly battling China.
In America, President Franklin Roosevelt was just elected to an unprecedented third term. Across the nation, Americans did not want to get involved in the war, although the President earnestly tried to convince them that completely ignoring the war was dangerous to other nations as well as America. He knew America would eventually be forced into the war and more than anything, worried the nation would not be ready.
When President Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union address on January 6, 1941, he stressed the serious nature of the situation and that “at no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today.” He continued to explain that the U.S. must assist the Allied nations in defeating the Axis powers from taking over all of Europe.
President Roosevelt continued with perhaps one of his most famous speeches, saying, “In these future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.” Those freedoms are the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in one’s own way, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. He concluded his speech stating that, “Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”
FDR – The Stamp-Collecting President
President Franklin Roosevelt was instrumental in the design and issuance of U.S. #908. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother introduced the future President to stamp collecting at a young age. Throughout his life, he turned to his collection to relax and unwind.
Roosevelt was elected President four times, serving in the nation’s highest office longer than any other chief executive – 12 years. During those 12 years, Roosevelt promoted the importance of stamps by personally approving each of more than 200 stamp designs. This included suggesting topics, rejecting others, and even designing some of the stamps himself. He used U.S. postage stamps to educate Americans about their heritage, to buoy war-weary spirits during World War II, and to send a message of peace and hope as Europe faced the overwhelming task of rebuilding.