Wednesday, January 12, 2011

FDR: The Second Bill of Rights

Jan. 11 marks the 67th anniversary of FDR's historic 1944 State of the Union address which lays out a Second Bill of Rights:

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all -- regardless of station, race, or creed.
"Among these rights" -- Roosevelt did not pretend to be comprehensive -- were:
  • The right to a useful and remunerative job...
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens.

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