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Few Americans know that FDR proposed a Second American Bill of Rights.  Even fewer know exactly what that Second Bill of Rights included.  A close look at the quality of life that Europeans enjoy and that Americans wonder why they are denied, reveals that the Marshall Plan required that European nations were required to provide many of the rights that FDR thought that Americans should enjoy.

In today's economy and with today's political situation, America's Progressives need to look at an Economic Bill of Rights to present to America's Voters for the 2012 Election.

On January 11, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his next to last State of the Union Message to the United States Congress.  In that Message, FDR proposed a Second American Bill of Rights

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.
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
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.
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.

FDR faced a World War.  The year was 1944.  Hitler was still in power in Germany.  The Allies had yet to invade Normandy.  Japan still controlled the Pacific.  But, Franklin Roosevelt was secure enough to speak of a Second American Bill of Rights.

The Rights of Every American to a good education, the right to adequate protection from economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment, the right to adequate medical care and good health, the right of every family to a decent home, the right of businessmen to be free from unfair competition, the right to useful remunerative compensation for workers and farmers.

Last night, Rachel Maddow presented a recent poll showing what Americans support:  81% support higher taxes on millionaires; 74% support reducing tax incentives to oil and gas companies.  Why not provide an option for Americans?


If I had a chance to Vote for a Second American Economic Bill of Rights, the most important right I think would be the right to:

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| 29 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Thanks for writing this. We need to re-learn (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the lessons we learned in the 20's and 30's. WWII interrupted our societal evolution and we just forgot where we were headed before the trauma.

      This topic should be on the front page every month or two as a reminder of what America is supposed to be.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 01:53:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was seven years old when those words were spoken (4+ / 0-)

    and very few Americans enjoyed the Rights that FDR spoke of but within a few years they began to materialize and they grew greater over time.

    And things continued to improve from that point on for the next 30 years.

    And then a man came along who was as eloquent as FDR but who had no heart and no soul.

    They call him Saint Ronnie now and he began the slow undoing of all those basic human rights that we thought we had won so long ago.

    And now today we stand once again facing the starkest poverty since the depression and everyone of our leaders in both parties think that they have not yet bled us enough.

    They think that somehow we will stand quietly by as they gouge even more from the miserable existence that they have left us with.

    And they believe this even while  "Whirlwinds of rebellion" have begun to shake the shores of the world secure in their certain knowledge that such an uprising cannot happen here.

    I believe they are sadly mistaken.

  •  By far, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    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;

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

    by James Allen on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 12:17:17 PM PST

  •  In FDR own words... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, Mary Mike

  •  What would this actually mean, what would change? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just to pick one:

    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
    We have a right to free speech so no gov't effort to obstruct or punish speech can be legal. But so many of us remain invisible, ignored, silent, etc.

    I wonder what a right to make a decent living would mean practically?

    Today at the Obama/Calderon presser it was said that NAFTA has created "hundreds of thousands, millions of jobs" in both countries. It seems that by now they'dbe able to give a more precise number of jobs, certainly more precise that a range from hundreds of thousands to millions. That smacked to me of exceedingly disrespectful to Americans and Mexicans.

    But besides the BS, if such a Bill of Rights existed, NAFTA, for example, could have, probably still would have, been created.  I suspect most Americans already believe they have a right to a decent living, just no guarantee or entitlement protected by the gov't.

    It's the actual gov't role and tangible actions that  get people's attention - positive and negative.  

    Great diary thought. Thanks.

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