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                               PAPER XXXIV

"We covenant with each other before all the world, that having taken up 
arms in the defense of liberty, we will not lay them down before liberty 
is once again secure in the world we live in." 

Address over the radio on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of 
   the adoption of the American Bill of Rights, December 15, 1941 

No date in the long history of freedom means more to liberty-loving men 
in all liberty-loving countries than the 15th day of December 1791. On 
that day, 150 years ago, a new Nation, through an elected Congress, 
adopted a declaration of human rights which has influenced the thinking 
of all mankind from one end of the world to the other. 

There is not a single Republic of this hemisphere which has not adopted 
in its fundamental law the basic principles of freedom of man and 
freedom of mind enacted in the American Bill of Rights. 

There is not a country, large or small, on this continent which has not 
felt the influence of that document, directly or indirectly. 

Indeed, prior to the year 1933, the essential validity of the American 
Bill of Rights was accepted at least in principle. Even today, with the 
exception of Germany, Italy, and Japan, the peoples of the world-in all 
probability four-fifths of them-support its principles, its teachings, 
and its glorious results. 

But, in the year 1933, there came to power in Germany, a political 
clique which did not accept the declarations of the American bill of 
human rights as valid; a small clique of ambitious and unscrupulous 
politicians whose announced and admitted platform was precisely the 
destruction of the rights that instrument declared. Indeed the entire 
program and goal of these political and moral tigers was nothing more 
than the overthrow, throughout the earth, of the great revolution of 
human liberty of which our American Bill of Rights is the mother 

The truths which were self-evident to Thomas Jefferson-which have been 
self-evident to the six generations of Americans who followed him-were 
to these men hateful. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness which seemed to Jefferson, and which seem to us, inalienable, 
were, to Hitler and his fellows, empty words which they proposed to 
cancel forever. 

The propositions they advanced to take the place of Jefferson's 
inalienable rights were these: 

That the individual human being has no rights whatever in himself and by 
virtue of his humanity; 

That the individual human being has no right to a soul of his own, or a 
mind of his own, or a tongue of his own, or a trade of his own; or even 
to live where he pleases or to marry the woman he loves; 

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That his only duty is the duty of obedience, not to his God, and not to 
his conscience, but to Adolf Hitler; and that his only value is his 
value, not as a man, but as a unit of the Nazi state. 

To Hitler the ideal of the people, as we conceive it-the free, self-
governing, and responsible people-is incomprehensible. The people, to 
Hitler, are "the masses," and the highest human idealism is, in his own 
words, that a man should wish to become "a dust particle" of the order 
"of force" which is to shape the universe. 

To Hitler, the government, as we conceive it, is an impossible 
conception. The government to him is not the servant and the instrument 
of the people, but their absolute master and the dictator of their every 

To Hitler, the church, as we conceive it, is a monstrosity to be 
destroyed by every means at his command. The Nazi church is to be the 
national church, absolutely and exclusively in the service of but one 
doctrine, race, and nation. 

To Hitler, the freedom of men to think as they please and speak as they 
please and worship as they please is, of all things imaginable, most 
hateful and most desperately to be feared. 

The issue of our time, the issue of the war in which we are engaged, is 
the issue forced upon the decent, self-respecting peoples of the earth 
by the aggressive dogmas of this attempted revival of barbarism, this 
proposed return to tyranny, this effort to impose again upon the peoples 
of the world doctrines of absolute obedience, and of dictatorial rule, 
and of the suppression of truth, and of the oppression of conscience, 
which the free nations of the earth have long ago rejected. 

What we face is nothing more nor less than an attempt to overthrow and 
to cancel out the great upsurge of human liberty of which the American 
Bill of Rights is the fundamental document; to force the peoples of the 
earth, and among them the peoples of this continent, to accept again the 
absolute authority and despotic rule from which the courage and the 
resolution and the sacrifices of their ancestors liberated them many, 
many years ago. 

It is an attempt which could succeed only if those who have inherited 
the gift of liberty had lost the manhood to preserve it. But we 
Americans know that the determination of this generation of our people 
to preserve liberty is as fixed and certain as the determination of that 
earlier generation of Americans to win it. 

We will not, under any threat, or in the face of any danger, surrender 
the guaranties of liberty our forefathers framed for us in our Bill of 

We hold with all the passion of our hearts and minds to those 
commitments of the human spirit. 

We are solemnly determined that no power or combination of powers of 
this earth shall shake our hold upon them. 

We covenant with each other before all the world, that having taken up 
arms in the defense of liberty, we will not lay them down before liberty 
is once again secure in the world we live in. For that security we pray; 
for that security we act-now and evermore.