Constitution 201

“FDR’s New Bill of Rights”


Thoroughly educated in Progressive principles, Franklin D. Roosevelt believed that the task of statesmanship is to redefine our rights “in the terms of a changing and growing social order.” While the Founders thought the truths they celebrated in the Declaration of Independence were self-evident and so also timeless and unchanging, FDR argued for a new self-evident economic truth. His proposed “Economic Bill of Rights” lays out the means by which our new economic rights are to be secured, thereby achieving social equality and social justice.



Note: all readings link to Hillsdale's online Constitution Reader, also available at


  1. Commonwealth Club Address - Excerpt 1
  2. Commonwealth Club Address - Excerpt 2
  3. Commonwealth Club Address - Excerpt 3
  4. Democratic Convention Address - Excerpt 1
  5. Democratic Convention Address - Excerpt 2
  6. Annual Message to Congress


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Will Morrisey is professor emeritus of politics at Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Kenyon College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the New School.