Hope Lewis

Document Type



Economic and social rights (including rights to food, adequate housing, public education, the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, fair wages, decent labor conditions, and social security) still occupy a second-class, outsider status in official United States domestic and foreign policy. This is no accident. The full recognition and implementation of such rights pose a direct threat. But that threat is not primarily to democracy or American values as some believe. Rather, because they demonstrate our system's failures to achieve equality, they threaten the deeply held belief that our country has already achieved a truly representative, human rights-based society.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Social rights - United States, Civil rights - United States, Race discrimination - United States, economic rights, socioeconomic rights, four freedoms, Dulles compromise, Franklin D. Roosevelt, FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Truman, Cold War, Soviet Union, developing countries, Bricker Amendment, International Bill of Rights, post-World War II, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR, UN Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights Council, Charter of the United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, ICESCR, CESCR, Limburg principles, Maastricht Guidelines, African Americans, W.E.B. Du Bois, Human Rights Law

Original Citation

Originally published in Bringing Human Rights Home : a History of Human Rights in the United States, Cynthia Soohoo, Catherine Albisa, & Martha Davis, eds., Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2008, pp.103-144.