FDR’s Second Bill of Rights: An Unrealized Dream

Sixty-eight years ago today, Franklin Delano Roosevelt laid out what he referred to as a “Second Bill of Rights” in his State of the Union address to Congress. Those of us who’ve been part of the MMT movement for well over a decade have worked tirelessly to advance an understanding of the way modern monetary systems operate so that we might one day replace suffering with opportunity and a minimum standard of economic security for all.

Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights

“This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its presentstrength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—amongthem the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedomfrom unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life andliberty.

As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as ourindustrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assureus equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that trueindividual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.”Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out ofa job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted asself-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights underwhich a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for allregardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in theindustries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food andclothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell hisproducts at a return, which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, totrade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and dominationby monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and theopportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economicfears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war iswon we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights,to new goals of human happiness and well-being. ”

About Stephanie Kelton 24 Articles

Affiliation: University of Missouri

Stephanie Kelton, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Research Scholar at The Levy Economics Institute and Director of Graduate Student Research at the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability.

Her research expertise is in: Federal Reserve operations, fiscal policy, social security, health care, international finance and employment policy.

Visit: Economic Perspectives

1 Comment on FDR’s Second Bill of Rights: An Unrealized Dream

  1. Lord how we need this second bill of right’s now.
    Tom
    American Patriot for president 2016
    for the people
    Let’s make FDR’s dream come true

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