I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.
Forty years ago yesterday
a voice from the rustbelt, “wild greed”:
As a senator from Missouri in 1937 Harry Truman railed against the Wall Street, and ‘gentleman’ lawyer greed that was behind the re-organisation of the railroads. The following excerpt was from his second speech on the topic. In the first speech, in June, he contrasted the $3,000 that Jesse James stole from the Rock Island Line to the $70,000,000 financial artists got away with.
“…We worship money instead of honor. A billionaire, in our estimation is much greater in these days in the eyes of the people than the public servant who works for public interest. It makes no difference if the billionaire rode to wealth on the sweat of little children and the blood of underpaid labor. No one ever considered Carnegie libraries steeped in the blood of Homestead steelworkers, but they are. We do not remember that the Rockefeller Foundation is founded on the dead miners of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company and a dozen other similar performances. We worship Mammon; and until we go back to ancient fundamentals and return to the Giver of the Tables of Law and His teachings, these conditions are going to remain with us.
It is a pity that Wall Street, with it’s ability to control all the wealth of the nation and to hire the best law brains in the country, has not produced some statesmen, some men who could see the dangers of bigness and of the concentration of the control of wealth. Instead of working to meet the situation, they are still employing the best law brains to serve greed and self interest. People can only stand so much and one of these days there will be a settlement….”
—Senator Harry Truman, December 20, 1937
Congressional Record, seventy-fifth Congress, second session, volume 82, part 2, December 20, 1937. pp. 2482-95.
From The Bedford Citizen:
On Saturday morning, April 12, 2014, several hundred American Revolutionary War re-enactors from all over Eastern Massachusetts will muster on our Bedford Common. At the stroke of ten-thirty, the troops will step off onto the Great Road, playing fifes and beating drums, flourishing their ancient colors, and firing a few deafening rounds from their muskets. At the end of a short march, minutemen and spectators will mass around Wilson Park to watch Bedford’s historic Polecapping…
[Historically, Wilson Park is the site where] Bedford Minutemen and Militia met at dawn on April 19, 1775 to march off to Concord. Now, it holds the memorial to their Captain, Jonathan Wilson, who was killed on that day. And it also holds a stark, bare Liberty Pole…
[In] the years before the American Revolution… patriots would protest [taxation without representation] below their liberty trees and, when the British Regulars cut those down, the patriots erected liberty poles. At that time, a red cap was widely recognized to be a liberty cap, and to flaunt one atop a 20 or 30 foot pole was a deliberate slap in the face to King George and the English Parliament.
Liberty poles were ubiquitous in the 1760s and 1770s, but now, Bedford’s ceremony is unique in Massachusetts.
See also the Bedford Minuteman Company’s website.
If satire isn’t your cup of tea then take a pass on this but it’s very well done:
(I hadn’t heard of Judah P. Benjamin before. Grim to think how things might have turned out if he’d been successful in his efforts on behalf of the Confederacy.)