President Harry S. Truman, Annual Message (State of the Union), January 5, 1949
On January 5, 1949, President Truman used his State of the Union address to recommend measures including national health insurance, raising the minimum wage, strengthening the position of organized labor, and guaranteeing the civil rights of all Americans.
Referencing the popular “New Deal” programs of his predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Truman styled his reform package the “Fair Deal.” (Source: Library of Congress)
During the last 16 years, our people have been creating a society which offers new opportunities for every man to enjoy his share of the good things of life.
In this society, we are conservative about the values and principles which we cherish; but we are forward-looking in protecting those values and principles and in extending their benefits. We have rejected the discredited theory that the fortunes of the Nation should be in the hands of a privileged few. We have abandoned the “trickledown” concept of national prosperity. Instead, we believe that our economic system should rest on a democratic foundation and that wealth should be created for the benefit of all.
The recent election shows that the people of the United States are in favor of this kind of society and want to go on improving it.
The American people have decided that poverty is just as wasteful and just as unnecessary as preventable disease. We have pledged our common resources to help one another in the hazards and struggles of individual life. We believe that no unfair prejudice or artificial distinction should bar any citizen of the United States of America from an education, or from good health, or from a job that he is capable of performing.
-Source and complete text: Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum
Read more about Truman’s “Fair Deal” speech at the Library of Congress.