FDR’s Second Bill of Rights
We have come to a clear realization of the fact, however, 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 certain economic truths have been accepted as self-evident, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity will be established for all – regardless of station or 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 business man, 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, to 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 our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.
From Franklin Delano Roosevelt
State of the Union
January 11, 1944