What was the Second Bill of Rights and did it become law?

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In 1944, just after the Great Depression and just one year before the end of World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed the Economic Bill of Rights, also called the Second Bill of Rights, in his State of the Union address. Looking at the causes of World War II, such as severe depression in Germany, President Roosevelt declared society has "come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence"; he further proclaims that the "people who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made" ("State of the Union Message to Congress," Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum). That being the case, President Roosevelt laid out 10 knew rights to secure the original rights of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. In Roosevelt's view, freedom and the pursuit of happiness cannot be preserved without the right to jobs; the right to living wages; the right for farmers to sell at a decent profit; the right for businessmen to sell without having to face "unfair competition"; the right to have a "decent home"; the right to medical care and good health; the right to "protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment"; and the "right to good education" ("State of the Union").

Though President Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights was never added to the Constitution, Roosevelt, well before giving this address, had already initiated programs under the New Deal to uphold the rights to security he expressed in his address. For example, as part of the New Deal, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act of 1935 to provide financial security to the elderly and disabled. He also signed the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in which he established the national minimum wage, set the national maximum workweek at 44, and enacted other labor-related laws.

President Barack Obama has also taken steps to uphold Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights. One step he took was creating the Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare, to uphold the right to medical care and good health. He also expanded the earned income tax credit and adjusted unemployment insurance to help the working poor and those who are unemployed. He also initiated the Race to the Top Program to help eliminate some education disparities (Sunstein, C., "Obama, FDR and the Second Bill of Rights," Bloomberg).

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