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Proclamation 4022—Bill of Rights Day, Human Rights Day

December 07, 1970

By the President of the United States Of America

A Proclamation

From the beginnings of our country, Americans have believed in certain self-evident truths concerning the dignity of the individual human being. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence about the inalienable right of every man to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The reason that governments are instituted among men, he went on, is "to secure these rights."

The effort "to secure these rights" has been the principal object of the United States government ever since that time. A more explicit and detailed commitment to that end was spelled out in the Bill of Rights in 1791. The Bill of Rights, in turn, has been applied in still more specific ways in the 179 years since its adoption so that the legal expression of individual rights has become a very complex matter. Yet, all of these rights flow from the central precept of our founding fathers that "all men are created equal."

The same precept found a further expression in 1948 when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted—without a single dissenting vote—the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This statement of principles provides a common standard toward which all governments in all parts of the world can strive. During this year in which we observe the twenty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, it is particularly appropriate that we recall the words of that document and that we rededicate ourselves to its principles.

Now, Therefore, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 10, 1970, as Human Rights Day and December 15, 1970, as Bill of Rights Day. I call upon the people of the United States of America to observe the week beginning December 10, 1970, as Human Rights Week. These are fitting times to renew our commitment to the goal of a just society in which every person enjoys equality of opportunity.

I also call upon every American to note that the United Nations General Assembly has designated the year 1971 as the International Year for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. It is my hope that all Americans will join in observing this year, through deeds and words which promote a spirit of brotherhood and of mutual respect among all people.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of December, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-fifth.

Signature of Richard Nixon


Richard Nixon, Proclamation 4022—Bill of Rights Day, Human Rights Day Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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