FDR's Second Bill of Rights
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was delivering his January 11, 1944 State of the Union speech, he said it was time for America to implement a Second Bill of Rights.
(Here's another link.)
FDR said our political rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” Roosevelt's solution was an “economic bill of rights.” And he said America's security would depend on how well these rights had been put into practice. Here are some excerpts from FDR's SOTU speech of 1/11/44:
As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.Pretty radical, huh? Today most Democrats wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole. Republicans would probably have a mass coronary. How far we've devolved.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
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 are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
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.
For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.