5¢ FDR and Four Freedoms
Issue Date: January 30, 1946
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10.5
Color: Bright blue
U.S. #933 was issued as part of a series of four memorial stamps issued just a few months after President Franklin Roosevelt’s unexpected death in April 1945. This stamp commemorates President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech that he delivered to Congress on January 6, 1941.
When President Roosevelt delivered that speech, 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, 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.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt –
America’s Only Four-Term President
Elected President four times, Franklin Delano Roosevelt served in the nation’s highest office longer than any other chief executive – 12 years. He was born on January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York, the only child of a wealthy family. Roosevelt graduated from Harvard in 1904, and then studied at Columbia Law School.
In 1910, Roosevelt was elected to the New York state senate. He was appointed assistant secretary of the navy in 1913. Roosevelt was stricken with polio in 1921. Although permanently disabled, he remained active in politics. In 1928, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York, and was re-elected in 1930. As the Great Depression ravaged America in 1932, he was elected President over Herbert Hoover.
Roosevelt took office at a time of great economic turmoil in the United States. By 1933, the four-year-old Depression was taking a large toll on the country. Unemployed workers lost their homes. Thousands more were forced to stand in bread lines because they could not afford to pay for food.
As the Depression progressed, anxious investors rushed to get their money from the banks. Many banks were unable to meet this demand and were run out of business. This, in turn, caused more investors to pull out of banks, causing more banks to fail. On March 6, 1933, just two days after taking office, President Roosevelt imposed a “bank holiday” and closed all the banks in the United States. When each bank was inspected by the Department of the Treasury and determined to be sound, it was re-opened. This increased the public’s confidence, because of the belief that if a bank was re-opened, it was safe.
On March 9, 1933, President Roosevelt called a special session of Congress in an attempt to help ease the Depression. During this session, called the “Hundred Days,” Roosevelt introduced an aggressive package of reforms aimed at getting the economy back on track. “The New Deal” contained such important programs as the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the National Industry Recovery Act, the Works Projects Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. In addition, Congress passed the Social Security Act of 1935 and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.
As the election of 1940 approached, Europe was in the midst of a great war. Americans felt that the same President who was leading them out of the Depression should lead them through this time of international turmoil. President Roosevelt was elected for an unprecedented third term in office. Roosevelt intended to give the allied forces all aid short of joining in the war. However, on December 7, 1941, Japan bombed the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The following day the United States declared war on Japan. Three days after that, Germany and Italy, Japanese allies, declared war on the United States. World War II would become the most costly war in American history up to that time.
Although Roosevelt did not want to run for President a fourth time, he felt it was his duty to run, thereby avoiding a wartime change in leadership. He was re-elected easily. However, Roosevelt would not live out his fourth term. On April 12, 1945, while sitting for a portrait at his retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia, the President complained of a terrible headache. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage a few hours later. Roosevelt is buried in the rose garden of his home in Hyde Park, New York.