Norman Rockwell was inspired to create images representing the four freedoms declared by Roosevelt in his speech in January 1941. These images were one of a number of publications on the topic of freedom in the 1930s as the idea of freedom became central to the branding of America. The speech and the images were a means of gaining support for America’s war effort in World War Two, they sought to depict the war as noble and in protection of every individual’s right to these ‘four freedoms’. Thus the image depicting ‘freedom from fear’ appeals to the ordinary citizen, depicting the home not the battleground. The home is an important location and echoes America’s modern commitment to ‘family values’ a slogan frequently repeated by politicians. Furthermore the image situates the Father figure standing tall in the foreground whilst the mother figure, who is painted in darker colours, is less prominent bending down behind. This is particularly significant as it directly appeals to the contemporary American man’s sense of patriarchal duty. The need to protect ones family was a central tenet of contemporary masculinity, particularly in the South, where society was still heavily patriarchal.
It is however poignant that the subjects of the image are white. America’s commitment to ‘freedom of fear’ failed to reach its black citizens as the recently reformed KKK continued to target black men and women and lynching’s prevailed across the South. Foner in The Story of American Freedom highlights how southern politicians succeeded in preventing the passage of a federal anti –lynching law, and claims there was no correlation between the apparent liberalism of the period with Black activism. For Black’s in America support for World War Two would not enable them to live with ‘freedom from fear’. The imagery of freedom that America propelled with these images was not an accurate depiction of life for many Americans, it was the dream that they aspired too.