Democratic Party Principles: From Four Freedoms Park

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held the first major event of her 2016 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Roosevelt Island at Four Freedoms Park. 

It is wonderful to be here with all of you.[…]

To be here in this beautiful park dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt’s enduring vision of America, the nation we want to be.

And in a place… with absolutely no ceilings. (Cheers, applause.)

You know, President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms are a testament to our nation’s unmatched aspirations and a reminder of our unfinished work at home and abroad. His legacy lifted up a nation and inspired presidents who followed.

Transcript via Vox: Hillary Clinton’s official campaign launch speech

The Four Freedoms speech in January 1941 warned the world that America was watching the rise of dictators and would stand with our allies when necessary. But President Roosevelt also reminded people about the foundations of a strong democracy, Democratic Party principles, goals that are still unmet 74 years later:

FDR: [There] is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

– Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.
– Jobs for those who can work.
– Security for those who need it.
– The ending of special privilege for the few.
– The preservation of civil liberties for all.
– The enjoyment . . . the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.

These are the simple, the basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.

NPR: Dreams From My Mother: Clinton To Look To Mom In Campaign Kickoff

Hillary Clinton’s campaign kickoff will draw inspiration from her late mother as she seeks to lay out her vision for America.

By detailing the struggles her mother, Dorothy Rodham, went through, the Democratic presidential hopeful will detail Saturday in New York why she’s seeking out reforms and priorities for families, telling everyday Americans, “It is your time.” […]

Clinton will outline her priorities for the campaign Saturday, emphasizing that America’s success shouldn’t be defined by the top income earners, but instead by families and how they are recovering from the economic crisis. Now, she says, it’s their time to be rewarded, arguing that prosperity shouldn’t just be for the CEOs and the hedge-fund managers, but is for everyday Americans.

Clinton will also trace her own personal history, noting she was heavily influenced by lessons she learned from her mother, Dorothy, who died in 2011, but was a fixture on the campaign trail with her daughter in 2008.

As Clinton detailed in her 2014 memoir Hard Choices, her mother’s “own childhood was marked by trauma and abandonment.” With parents unable to care for them, Dorothy and her sister were sent to California to live with their grandparents. But trapped in a “severe and unloving” household, Dorothy moved out at 14 to work as a nanny and housekeeper. It was there that one of her employers encouraged her to finally graduate from high school. […]

Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said that while the former first lady is certainly no stranger to voters or the public, it’s still important for her to lay out her personal values and vision.

“She is a well-known figure, but when you’re asking the American people to support you as president, even if it is for the second time, there is no skipping of steps,” Palmieri said. “If you want to understand Hillary Clinton, and what has motivated her career of fighting for kids and families, her mother is a big part of the story. The example she learned from her mother’s story is critical to knowing what motivated Hillary Clinton to first get involved in public service, and why people can count on her to fight for them and their families now.”


  1. Reviews …

    NPR: Clinton Sketches Populist Message In First Major Speech Of Campaign

    Hillary Clinton, in the first campaign speech for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, sounded a message of support for working families, calling for a new era of prosperity and pledging to support a constitutional amendment to overhaul campaign finance rules.

    At a rally on New York’s Roosevelt Island, she invoked the memory of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, saying FDR brought “a wider and constantly rising standard of living” to all Americans, a promise, Clinton said, “that still sounds good to me.”

    The former First Lady, senator and secretary of state attacked the “trickle-down” economics that began with President Ronald Reagan and remains a mainstay of the Republican philosophy, calling it a failed policy.

    “Democracy can’t be just for billionaires and corporations,” she said. “Prosperity and democracy are part of your basic bargain, too. You brought our country back. Now it’s time, your time, to secure the gains and move ahead. And you know what? America can’t succeed unless you succeed.”

    Al Jazeera America: Hillary Clinton touts herself as populist champion in announcement speech:

    Hillary Rodham Clinton called for a new era of shared prosperity in America and told thousands at a presidential campaign rally Saturday that workers can trust her to fight for them.

    “It’s America’s basic bargain,” Clinton said at the rally in New York City. “If you do your part, you ought to be able to get ahead, and when everybody does their part, America gets ahead too.”

    In the first major speech of her second campaign for president, Clinton portrayed herself as a fierce advocate for those left behind after the recession.

    She cited President Barack Obama, and former Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bill Clinton, her husband, and said they embraced the idea that “real and lasting prosperity must be built by all and shared by all.”

    Her campaign said her “tenacious fighter” message will form the foundation of the 2016 White House race. She also gave a nod at the start of her address to the prospect she would be the first woman elected to the White House.

    Clinton told the thousands at the outdoor rally on New York’s Roosevelt Island that she was glad to be with them “in a place with absolutely no ceilings.”

  2. Thanks very much for this. Wish I could have been there to show my support. Only women as old as I know what it means and how it feels to see a member of the Second Sex running for the most powerful office in the world.

    So strongly do I identify with Hillary that when people make gratuitous jabs at her I feel as if they’re doing it to me; as if I should “know better” than to aspire to something more than being a homemaker; know better than to think I have anything of value to contribute to future generations. Yes, to me the political is highly personal.

    Hope she bloody well wins.

    • So much of her speech resonated with me. Not so much for the policy, they are solid Democratic Party principles and good ones, but for what it means. This:

      Well, I may not be the youngest candidate in this race. But I will be the youngest woman President in the history of the United States! (Cheers, applause.)

      Yikes! That really is a BHD, isn’t it?

  3. Her warmth, confidence, and strength is reassuring to me. I have to hope her message will resonate with voters, especially given the negative and mean spirited tone of the R’s message.

    • I think she’s ready for the Rs:

      I think you know by now that I’ve been called many things by many people (laughter) — “quitter” is not one of them.  (Cheers, applause)

      She talked about how her mother taught her to stand up to bullies. She will see plenty of them: in the press, in the RNC, in the speeches of Ted Cruz and Scott Walker and Chris Christie and Jeb (! ) Bush.

  4. Roosevelt Island has an interesting history

    Emma Goldman, who was imprisoned there for a public demonstration at an unemployment rally in New York’s Union Square. Found guilty of fomenting an unlawful assembly, Goldman was sentenced to a year in Blackwell in 1894—the same year that Goldman’s friend and idol Eugene Debs led the famous Pullman Railroad strike.

    Read more:

    At one point there was an insane asylum … staffed by inmates from the prison. Yikes!

    • I volunteered for years at a hospital on that island teaching drawing to children who were severely handicapped. I know it well.

      • From the sounds of it, there was a lot of pain there … I suspect there is a feeling of sadness that is now part of the land.

        It is a beautiful spot, though.

        • Yes, it used to be called Welfare Island and there are still remnants of that sad past there.
          NYC is very beautiful which may surprise some. We have one of the greatest natural harbors in the world and we are, believe it or not. part of an archipelago. Manhattan is not the only island! We are many. I am out in the harbor a lot so I know them all!

  5. That bit about Emma Goldman reminded me of a feminist song I heard many years ago that mentioned her. I didn’t know who she was and became curious after hearing this Kay Weaver song:


  6. Jonathan Allen, at VOX……

    How Hillary Clinton nailed the vision thing

    Clinton articulated her own vision by contrasting with Republicans, and she did it without the kind of clever rhetorical flourish that usually wins praise from political analysts.

    “Fundamentally, they reject what it takes to build an inclusive economy. It takes an inclusive society. What I once called ‘a village’ that has a place for everyone.

    Now, my values and a lifetime of experiences have given me a different vision for America.I believe that success isn’t measured by how much the wealthiest Americans have, but by how many children climb out of poverty; how many start-ups and small businesses open and thrive; how many young people go to college without drowning in debt; how many people find a good job; how many families get ahead and stay ahead.”

    It isn’t what her husband would call rhetorical “poetry,” but Clinton’s not a gifted enough orator to pull off one of his riffs. Her style of talking about her vision reflects the way she says she would implement it: more workhorse than show horse.

    • She uses simple and easy to understand phrases. I am not sure you need soaring rhetoric if you have the strength of your ideas. We have been spoiled, you know, by President Obama. He has a gift and his speeches are magnificent. Someone once said that the worse job in the Republican Party was having to do the reply to the SOTU during the Obama years. No one wants to follow him … it looks like Hillary has developed her own style.

  7. Hillary isn’t flamboyant like Bill is. She’s not the kind of speaker either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama are. She never has been. But she’s always been a workhorse for people. What’s more, she’s a lawyer and knows how to present her case. For much of her adult life it’s been as if she’s been the second person on a tandem bicycle – she’s been there pedaling along as much as the lead man (mostly Bill with 4 years as Barack Obama’s SoS) but not doing the steering. If she wins we shall see what kind of navigator she is. I know where I think she’ll take us and it’s a good place for America to be.

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