FDR proposed a 2nd Bill of Rights

In 1944, President Roosevelt (just about a year before his death), the war having taken its toll, addressed Congress in his 11th State of the Union message. At one point, FDR proposed a 2nd Bill of Rights,  so to speak, that would cover American’s rights where the The Bill of Rights had left off, or covered insufficiently. Of course, he did not intend for a change in the US Constitution, but rather these implementations would be enacted “politically” through legislative change.

Here is perhaps the most poignant message of the speech, as an introduction to his proposed bill of rights “addendum”…

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

Here are the rights that would compose this new proposition (The one’s that I feel most important, I have highlighted)

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.


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