Freedom House is the oldest American organization devoted to the support and defense of democracy around the world. It was formally established in New York in 1941 to promote American involvement in World War II and the fight against fascism.
From the beginning, Freedom House was notable for its bipartisan support. Freedom House's founders were prominent and influential leaders from the fields of business and labor, journalism, academia, and government. A central figure among its early leaders was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Wendell Willkie, the Republican presidential nominee who ran against President Roosevelt in 1940, was also an ardent supporter and served as honorary co-chair along with Mrs. Roosevelt.
Initially, the mission of Freedom House was to counter isolationism, a powerful force promoted by the America First Committee. At the time, ninety percent of American citizens were opposed to involvement in the European war, even as Nazi tanks rolled across the continent and concentration camps began to fill with people. The leaders of Freedom House argued that Hitler posed a grave threat to American security and values.
Freedom House believed that American leadership was crucial if the post-war world were to evolve into a place where democracy was the normal state of affairs, and not an exception. After the war, Freedom House supported the creation of the institutions that were critical to the promotion of peace, human rights, and cooperation between nations. Freedom House supported the Marshall Plan, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Atlantic Alliance.
Freedom House works to defend human rights and promote democratic change, with a focus on political rights and civil liberties. We act as a catalyst for freedom through a combination of analysis, advocacy, and action. Our analysis, focused on 12 central issues, is underpinned by our international program work. Browse our work and analysis by issue below.
Freedom House convenes events in Washington DC and internationally to inspire global engagement and garner support for democracy promotion. Whether through small, focused events or larger public gatherings, our events offer a platform to activists, policy experts, academics, and civil society leaders interested in fostering informed debate about the challenges facing democracy today.
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Freedom House Washington, DC office address:
1850 M Street NW, 11th Floor
Washington D.C. 20036