Economic Bill of Rights (1944)
. . . an equally basic essential to peace is a decent standard
of living for all individual men and women and children in all
nations. Freedom from fear is eternally linked with freedom from
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 freemen." People
who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships
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
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.
One of the great American industrialists of our day-a man
who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently
emphasized the grave dangers of rightist reaction in this Nation.
All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such
reaction should develop-if history were to repeat itself and we
were to return to the so-called normalcy of the 1920s - then it
is certain that, even though we shall have conquered our enemies
on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit
of fascism here at home.
I ask the Congress to explore the means for implementing this
economic bill of rights-for it is definitely the responsibility
of the Congress to do so....