75 years ago today, FDR gave his Jan. 11, 1944, “Fireside Chat” to the American people (among Presidential Speeches at Miller Center, UVa).
The speech still resonates eerily, including the insights that nations must not work not against each other but together and “how interdependent upon each other are all groups and sections of the whole population of America.”
The speech is most famed for enunciating what became known as an “economic bill of rights.” Here those rights are in context:
…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, people who are 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, or 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 farmers to raise and sell their products at a return which will give them and their families a decent living;
The right of every business man, 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, and sickness, and accident and unemployment;
And finally, 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 all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.…
read the full speech at Miller Center, UVa