The Reagan Freedom Speech
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
President Ronald Reagan Oct. 27, 1964
Reagan delivered the address while the country was grappling with the threat of Communism and other foreign adversaries, all while civil rights and other domestic issues were taking center stage at home. With his Freedom Speech, Reagan sought to unify the American people around the shared common goal of pursuing freedom, which he emphasized wasn’t a guarantee. He aimed to motivate listeners out of complacency, to inspire them to keep fighting for the freedom that he knew could be at risk if they weren’t vigilant. That idea has survived for generations and serves as a clarion call to not lose sight of the value of freedom—and the risks of it dissipating from American society.