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Eleanor Roosevelt Liveblogs World War II: July 4, 1940

Eleanor Roosevelt:

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 4, 1940: Our forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and on that Declaration our Constitution was based. We fought as a young nation for the ideas that were expressed by the men who wrote this document. Though sometimes it seems as though, during the intervening years, we had forgotten all that document implies, the events of the last few months have made many of us think over carefully what are the things which really matter to us as individuals in the United States of America.

We will have to be very sure what we want for ourselves and our fellow citizens in order really to organize our strength and live or die for the things in which we believe.

I personally want to continue to live in a country where I can think as I please, go to any church I please, or to none if that is my desire; say what I please, and within the limits of any free society, do what I please.

Long ago we decided here that if we held views opposing those of other people, it was against the interests of our country to try to persuade those others by force to agree with us. We could go on talking about our own ideas in the hope of eventually winning a majority, and it seems to me that this is the essence of democracy.

I am willing to be asked to sacrifice time and money for the good of the country as a whole. I am willing to be asked to share what I am able to earn with other less fortunate people, and I am willing to consider any curtailment of personal liberty which I can be persuaded is for the good of the majority, but I want to be able to discuss it.

I want the right to work, and I want that opportunity to be extended to all my fellow citizens. I want them to have an equal opportunity for educational development, for health and for recreation, which is all part of the building of a human being capable of coping with the modern world.

I want to have within my own hands the choice of my leaders, and if the majority opinion is against me at any time, I want the right to differ, while recognizing the necessity of cooperation on my part in order to prove fairly whether the majority opinion is right or not.

On this Fourth of July morning I hope each and every one of us will dedicate ourselves to the service of our country and the service of our fellow citizens, never forgetting that we hope through our example to strengthen the ultimate brotherhood of man throughout the world.