President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940: The American Flag Is the Symbol of Freedom

With World War II raging, and America’s entry inevitable, he states that “the national emblem will be a token… of that spirit of democracy and free institutions which it has symbolized ever since our beginnings as a nation.”.

Purchase $9,500

Just before the turn of the 20th century, international rivalries between Britain, Germany and the United States were settled by the Tripartite Convention that partitioned the Samoan Islands into two parts: the eastern island group became a territory of the United States today known as American Samoa; the western islands became known...

Read More

President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940: The American Flag Is the Symbol of Freedom

With World War II raging, and America’s entry inevitable, he states that “the national emblem will be a token… of that spirit of democracy and free institutions which it has symbolized ever since our beginnings as a nation.”.

Just before the turn of the 20th century, international rivalries between Britain, Germany and the United States were settled by the Tripartite Convention that partitioned the Samoan Islands into two parts: the eastern island group became a territory of the United States today known as American Samoa; the western islands became known as German Samoa (they are now the nation of Samoa). In return, Germany gave up claims it had in Africa to Britain. On April 17, 1900, the Treaty of Cession of Tutuila was signed between several chiefs of the island of Tutuila and the United States, whereby the chiefs on that island swore allegiance to, and ceded the island of Tutuila to, the United States. Now American Samoa was essentially complete and became a Protectorate of the United States. In 1940, it would celebrate its 40th anniversary under the American flag. Navy Capt. Edward W. Hanson was the 28th Governor of American Samoa, serving from 1938 to 1940. He believed that the native Samoans had a good way of life, and did little to interfere with established practices on the islands.

“Hearty congratulations on the happy occasion of the 40th anniversary of hoisting the American flag over Tutuila. I hope through all the years ahead that the national emblem will be a token in this far-flung possession of that spirit of democracy and free institutions which it has symbolized ever since our beginnings as a nation.”

By April of 1940, the world was at war and the international situation was deteriorating. On March 30, the Japanese set up a puppet government in China. On April 10 the Germans occupied Denmark and invaded Norway, setting up a puppet government in the latter place. British troops landed to battle them, but had no success. Germany was preparing to imminently invade Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and the Neville Chamberlain government in Britain was barely hanging on by a thread. In a matter of weeks, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands would fall, France would be invaded, and Winston Churchill would be called upon to assume the office of Prime Minister in a dark hour. President Roosevelt was acutely aware of the dangers all of this posed to the national security of the United States, and to the entire American way of life. He thought deeply about freedom, its symbolism and meaning, and the American role in protecting it, even as he watched it get snuffed out overseas.

FDR used the occasion of the 40th Samoan anniversary as an American protectorate to express his emotional feeling about the American flag, and the freedom it brought to those living under its waving stars and stripes.

Typed telegram signed “FDR”, on official White House telegram paper, Washington, April 16, 1940, to Hanson, commenting not merely on the anniversary, but on the meaning he attached to the American flag. “Hearty congratulations on the happy occasion of the 40th anniversary of hoisting the American flag over Tutuila. I hope through all the years ahead that the national emblem will be a token in this far-flung possession of that spirit of democracy and free institutions which it has symbolized ever since our beginnings as a nation.” This is the first time we have seen this White House telegraph paper signed by a president.

This important quotation, which appears to be unpublished, brings back the moment, and communicates everything that the American should stand for.

On July 30, 1940, Hanson’s term ended. During World War II he served as commander of cruisers and battleships, ending the war as Commander, Battleship Division 9 in the Pacific theater.

Purchase Now $9,500

Frame, Display, Preserve

Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.

Learn more about our Framing Services