States of the Union past - President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a pre-recorded State of the Union Address owing to a bout with the flu, on January 11, 1944.
January 24, 2011

President Roosevelt - In 1944, a second Bill of Rights.

Continuing our survey of States of the Union past, here is President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivering a pre-recorded State of the Union address on January 11, 1944, owing to a bout with the flu that prevented him from delivering it in person to Congress.

Since we were right in the middle of World War 2, concerns were naturally on how the progress of the war was going and how it was affecting life in this country during that time. There was optimism it would be over soon, as the tide on several fronts were changing in the Allies favor. Still, it was optimism with caution.

This address has also been known as FDR's "Second Bill Of Rights Speech", since he outlines the aims of the Roosevelt administration for a post-war era.

President Roosevelt: "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."

In these particular times, it's good to remember as our basic needs haven't changed.

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