not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically
acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in
his path and gave him triumphal processions and laughed delightedly at his
licentiousness and thought it very superior of him to acquire vast amounts of
gold illicitly. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the
Forum of the "new, wonderful good society" which shall now be Rome's,
interpreted to mean "more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly
at the expense of the industrious." Julius was always an ambitious
villain, but he is only one man.
are taxed in our bread and our wine, in our incomes and our investments, on
our land and on our property, not only for base creatures who do not deserve
the name of man, but for foreign nations, for complacent nations who will bow
to us and accept our largesse and promise us to assist in the keeping of the
peace — these mendicant nations who will destroy us when we show a moment of
weakness or our treasury is bare. We are taxed to maintain legions on
their soil, in the name of law and order... We keep them in precarious
balance only with our gold. Is the heart-blood of our nation worth
these?.. Were they bound to us with ties of love, they would not ask our
gold. They would ask only our laws. They take our very flesh, and
they hate and despise us. And who shall say we are worthy of more?
ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better
than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask
not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which
feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget
that you were our countrymen.
Samuel Adams (1722–1803), 4-th Governor of Massachusetts (1794–1797)
name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must
always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived
from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have
the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles.
may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that
every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a
proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense
the distribution of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong,
let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution
designates. But let there be no change by usurpation: for though this,
in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by
which free governments are destroyed.
alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit
of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries
has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful
despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent
despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the
minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an
individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more
able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the
purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? A wise and
frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which
shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and
improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has
rulers will become corrupt, our people careless... the time for
fixing every essential right on a legal basis is [now] while our rulers are
honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall
be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment
to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their
rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty
of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for
their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at
the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and
heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.
the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their
currency, first by inflation, and then by deflation, the banks and
corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all
property, until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers
conquered. The issuing power of money should be taken from banks and
restored to Congress and the people to whom it belongs. I sincerely
believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money, are more
dangerous to liberty than standing armies.
hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations
which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid
defiance to the laws of our country.
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), 3-rd President (1801–1809), 3-rd President (1801–1809) Letter to George Logan, 1816
selfish spirit of commerce... knows no country, and feels no passion
or principle but that of gain.
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), 3-rd President (1801–1809), 3-rd President (1801–1809) Letter to Larkin Smith, 1809
have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not
constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gain.
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), 3-rd President (1801–1809), 3-rd President (1801–1809) Letter to Horatio G. Spafford, 1814
know too that it is a maxim with us, and I think it a wise one, not to
entangle ourselves with the affairs of Europe.
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), 3-rd President (1801–1809) Letter, December 21, 1787
Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by Power. In
America... charters of power are granted by Liberty.
James Madison (1751–1836), 4-th President (1809–1817) "Charters", January 8, 1792
is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite
accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by
corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this
respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source
intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of
authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made
to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are
men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They
promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
this point of the case the question is distinctly presented whether the
people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by
their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great
corporations are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and
control their decisions.
am more than ever convinced of the dangers to which the free and unbiased
exercise of political opinion — the only sure foundation and safeguard of
republican government — would be exposed by any further increase of the
already overgrown influence of corporate authorities.
safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the
United States as our fathers made it, inviolable. The people of the
United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to
overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the
us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man, this race
and that race and the other race being inferior and therefore they must be
placed in an inferior position. Let us discard all these things, and
unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up
declaring that all men are created equal.
Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), 16-th President (1861–1865) Address to Chicago Abolitionists (10 July 1858)
may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It
has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood... It has indeed been a
trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis
approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my
a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption
in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor
to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all
wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever
before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove
we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence
of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far
in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations,
which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants
of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters.
the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in
good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be
treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to
discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or
origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet
an American, and nothing but an American... There can be no divided
allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else
also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the
American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the
English language... And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that
is a loyalty to the American people.
first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and
the fictitious person called a corporation. They differ in the purpose
for which they are created, in the strength which they possess, and in the
restraints under which they act.
corporation has no rights except those given it by law. It can
exercise no power except that conferred upon it by the people through
legislation, and the people should be as free to withhold as to give, public
interest and not private advantage being the end in view.
out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new
dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over
material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities,
new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital — all
undreamed of by the Fathers — the whole structure of modern life was impressed
into this royal service.
was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new
economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over
government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the
robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to
regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result
the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.
royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was
the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery
was nobody's business. They granted that the government could protect
the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do
anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to
we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half
affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the
polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.
economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions
of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away
their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the
overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the
flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag
and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for
democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a
dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.
maintains that government is established for the benefit of the
individual, and is charged with the responsibility of protecting the
individual, and is charged with the responsibility of protecting the rights of
the individual and his freedom in the exercise of his abilities.
Democracy is based on the conviction that man has the moral and intellectual
capacity, as well as the inalienable right, to govern himself with reason and
the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial
complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists
and will persist.
must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or
democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an
alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge
industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and
goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or
government has a monopoly on the truth, but that every individual life is
infinitely precious, that every one of us put in this world has been put there
for a reason and has something to offer.