Friday, July 27, 2012

FDR's 'Second Bill Of Rights'

Again from l'Enfant de la Haute Mer, a good example of how a real president exhibits concern for his or her people. The link is to Enfant's trilingual presentation of FDR's 1944 State of the Union address, translated when necessary by Enfant herself. For convenience I'm taking the original English version posted at The American Presidency Project at UCSB, so there may be minor differences here and there. The following excerpt is FDR's list of a "second Bill of Rights" which he believed Americans, indeed all free peoples, should accept and act to bring to fruition. Without further ado, here's FDR:
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 our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.


  1. Democrats Support Multiple Tax Cuts for the Wealthy:

  2. Enfant, if you aren't wealthy when you go to Congress (for either major party), you get wealthy during your term or terms of office. Members of Congress... effectively all of them... are wealthy, and their interests are the interests of the wealthy. That's one of several reasons why I stopped contributing to the Democratic Party.

  3. "People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made."

    I'm sure we'll be just fine when the 1% get even more tax cuts and the DoD budget is increased under El Presidente Romney whilst SNAP and TANF and UI and SSI and Medicaid are gutted...

  4. ntodd, if Rmoney becomes president, by election or Court selection or voter suppression (lots of possibilities, eh?), I am ready to write an end to the Republic. For some reason, in all ages and in many societies, the exceedingly wealthy seem to be unable to judge the degree to which their imposition on the peasants inches over the line from barely tolerable to provocative of revolution. Rmoney hasn't a clue, and today's House Republicans, especially the Tea Party, aren't doing much better. If there were to be a second American revolution, I fear it would be more like the French revolution than the first one was. That process is not what I had hoped to see as I live out the last of my life. But neither am I willing to tolerate unlimited incremental imposition on me and others of my class.



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