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The Four Freedoms of Business

Jennifer Williams

The Fourth of July, “America’s Birthday,” is celebrated across the nation filled with fireworks, barbecues and (maybe a few cold ones!). For many of us, it’s just a holiday that we have become accustomed to and look forward to celebrating every summer decked out in our red, white and blue.

Historically, America’s birthday is a lot more than just that.  It’s the day America declared their independence from Great Britain.  In declaring America’s independence, freedoms and rights were established for ALL AMERICANS.  As FDR recalled in his January 1941, State of the Union address, Americans are entitled to four basic freedoms: 

  • Freedom of Speech
  • Freedom of Worship
  • Freedom from Want
  • Freedom from Fear

These are fundamental rights to all Americans and the basis of our country.  These Four Freedoms are best depicted in Norman Rockwell’s famous painting.  But, did you ever think about how these four freedoms impact business?  They play a MAJOR role!  Without these, many of our businesses would not exist. 

Let’s start with Freedom of Speech…. 

There was once a time and it still exists today in some countries, where one could not simply express themselves through speech freely.  Censorship was dominant and if disobeyed, punishments were immense.  Imagine, not being able to print your message or mission statement or a simple tweet without the fear of punishment from censorship.  Imagine not being able to host a seminar on politics because the government did not “approve.”  For many of us, creativity in speech and expression is what drives our business and without it, we would not be able to exist.

Secondly, Freedom of Worship…. 

Yes, just as it sounds, we have the freedom to worship any religion we may choose.  Yes, during Christmas time you can hang a Christmas banner in your storefront or a menorah for Hanukkah.  You have the freedom to do this, no matter what your religion is and the prominent religion in your region.

Following next, is the Freedom from Want….. 

In simpler terms, it is the freedom to have an adequate standard of living and well being.  Having the access to food, good health, shelter and clothing—basic living standards to ensure a standard quality of life.  Every American is entitled to an adequate standard of living, and in business, we know how work affects our quality of life.  Many of us are very fortunate  in terms of the lifestyle we can afford or better yet choose to have. America is filled with different social classes, but ultimately, we all are guaranteed the same adequate standard of well being—no matter how much or little money one may have.

Lastly, the Freedom from Fear…. 

The freedom that you know you are protected.  Protected by your state, your government and having no fear that you aren’t protected.  This last freedom, simply conceals all of our freedoms.  Knowing that your business, your life, your family and friends are protected is a settling feeling. 

This year, as we put on our “Fourth of July” t-shirt let’s remember these four freedoms and recall why we are proud to be Americans! 

Happy Birthday America!