Bill of Rights Day–1941

As part of my research on FDR and the Bill of Rights, I came across a Proclamation that he issued on the 150th Anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments (about two weeks before Pearl Harbor).  Here are some excerpts:

“It is fitting that the anniversary of its adoption should be remembered by the Nation which, for one hundred and fifty years, has enjoyed the immeasurable privileges which that charter guaranteed:  the privileges of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition the Government for redress of grievances.” [Note that FDR only quoted from the First Amendment]

“It is especially fitting that this anniversary should be remembered and observed by those institutions of a democratic people which owe their very existence to the guarantees of the Bill of Rights:  the free schools, the free churches, the labor unions, the religious and educational and civic organizations of all kinds, which, without the guarantee of the Bill of Rights, could never have existed; which sicken and disappear whenever, in any country, these rights are curtailed or withdrawn.”

. . .

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men died to win them. They come in time to take these rights for granted and to assume their protection is assured.  We, however, who have seen these privileges lost in other continents and other countries can now appreciate their meaning to those people who enjoyed them once and now no longer can. We understand in some measure what their loss can mean.  And by that realization we have come to a clearer conception of their worth to us, and to a stronger and more unalterable determination that here in our land they shall not be lost or weakened or curtailed.”

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