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Morgan, W. Scott. History of the Wheel and Alliance and the Impending Revolution . Ft. Scott, KS: J.H. Rice & Sons, 1891. [format: book], [genre: history; narrative; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
The progress of the human mind, and of human society, is seldom marked by regular and successive steps. At some periods, civilization appears to be stationary; at others even to retrograde; at others again, to spring for-ward with rapid, gigantic, and almost convulsive strides. This irregularity of advance is, doubtless, ostensible rather than actual. Preparations are gradually made, ideas slowly matured, and the foundations of the future superstructure laid with secret and patient industry. But these subterranean workings are for the most part unnoticed, till in the fullness of time, a rich harvest of consequences is developed with apparent suddenness, from causes which have been accumulating in silence for many years. The fall of the Roman empire constituted one of these great eras. It was the demarkation between the old world and the new. From that period, society and nations alike assumed a new aspect, and the world commenced a new career. It was the moral deluge, upon the abatement of which a new condition of society, new systems of government, and new methods of thought sprang up. The reformation effected another mighty change. It introduced pure religion into the realm of almost pagan superstition, civil liberty into the empire of tyranny, and science into the depths of national ignorance. One of its immediate and most momentous consequences was the struggle for constitutional rights, in England, in the seventeenth
century a struggle in which civil liberty and religious freedom and tolerance won their most substantial victory. The great rebellion against feudal and mental oppression in France which broke forth publicly in 1789, and resulted in the overthrow of the French throne, is among these memorable transitions, and is deeply interesting to the present generation, being nearest to our own time, more in harmony with the present condition of our people, besides being most extraordinary in character, and far reaching in its consequences. No period in history is more fertile in attractions than that of the French nation from the out-break of the revolution in 1789, to the downfall of Napoleon III in 1871; certainly none presents more scenes of thrilling interest, more subtle problems of character, more intricate intrigues, more truths of political philosophy, or more lessons of profound wisdom. No period is richer in materials for the contemplation of the statesman, the moralist or the Christian; none presents more warnings against profligacy in high places and an utter disregard of the rights, liberties and condition of the masses. The fall of the empires of the ancient world, exhibiting scenes of extensive suffering in their progress, and melancholy calamity in their consummation, bore a somewhat different character. The foreign sword helped to strike the diadem from the brows of tyrannical rulers already sinking under the weight of sovereignty, and the remains of empires mouldered away by the course of nature.
But the French monarchy was unassailed by any external violence. In the midst of what seemed to the eyes of Europe the full vigor of life, it perished in rapid agonies, for which the public experience had no remedy, and human annals scarcely a name. Like a body whose flesh and blood would turn into fire, it consumed with internal combustion, and at length, after an inter of indescribable torture, without a parallel in the history of
the world, sunk in ashes, and was no more. The circumstances which made this result appear more miraculous and cause the powers of Europe to tremble for their own safety was the agency of a new power by which it was consummated a power which must inevitably prove stronger than the fortresses or armed legions of despots the power of Opinion!
In the trials of the older empires, the motives of action were mainly confined to the higher ranks. Wars were undertaken by ambitious princes to extend their conquests, or they were occasioned by the rivalry of aspirants to sovereignty. The French revolution was of a different character. It was a warfare between the people and the sovereign a rebellion against privilege and for equality. It was not a conflict to decide who should be recognized as the oppressor of the people, but it was a warfare against oppression itself. We call the attention of our readers to these facts because there is a closer analogy between the French nation in 1789 and the present condition of our country than many would suppose. It is true, that like the phantasmagoric effect of a magic lantern, the scene has been changed, and in place of a ruler we have adopted systems which, under the magic hands of a master produce the same effect, without, however, revealing the cause.
These systems are not new, but old under a new disguise, and, equally oppressive in the burdens which they impose and diabolical in the effects of their consummation.
In every age of the world it has been, on the part of the great masses of the people, a constant struggle for liberty, and, although there are periods when it seemed that every vestige of freedom and civilization had been blotted from the face of the earth, and rapine, plunder and vice in all its worst forms reigned supreme, the candle of liberty still burned with a feeble flame that
was destined to break forth with renewed splendor, and shed its light abroad over the nations of the earth. Such a period was that following the fall of the Roman empire. "During this period the most extraordinary and baneful changes took place in the condition of the world. Population dwindled and commerce, arts, wealth and freedom all disappeared. The people were reduced to poverty and misery and the most degraded condition of serfdom and slavery. The disintegration of society was almost complete. The conditions of life were so hard that individual selfishness was the only thing consistent with the instinct of self-preservation. All public spirit, all generous emotions, all the noble aspirations shriveled and disappeared as the volume of money shrunk and prices fell. History records no such disastrous transition as that from the Roman Empire to the Dark Ages."
The condition of the French people prior to the Revolution was scarcely less deplorable than that following the fall of the Roman Empire. The State was rotten in every department. The utmost licentiousness prevailed among the nobility; the king spread the contagion of his own example by riding in open carriage with his chosen mistress. The utmost extravagance was indulged in the expenditure of the revenues. The people were only regarded as things to be taxed; the life of a peasant was worth less than that of a wild boar. In the judicial department justice was bartered for money. Through the influence of the nobility, and for a price, men and women were thrown into the vilest dungeons on the slightest pretext and often without even the semblance of trial. The Bastile was crowded with victims of private animosity; these numbered 15,000 in the reign of Louis XV. The nobility, regardless of the social relations, debauched with impunity, the lower classes. The clergy shared in the general corruption; their salaries were excessive and their
wealth became enormous; they abandoned all pretensions to superior sanctity; many of them abandoned themselves to the utmost licentiousness; the few feeble sermons that were preached, were, as it is to-day in our own country, directed against the beggar on the street and the petty sins common among them. The Legislature was composed of infidels, who availed themselves of the abuses of the church and attacked its doctrines in open debate. Everything was demoralization, and it became a festering sore upon the body politic. Beneath all was the bulk of the population, of whom it might truthfully be said, possessed no rights except that of paying taxes. All the burdens of the State fell on the industrious and productive classes. The nobility and clergy were exempt from taxation. The most oppressive mode of collecting prevailed. Two-thirds of all the lands in the country were in the possession of the nobility and clergy, who, not content with their fiscal exemption, imposed upon the cultivators feudal dues and services of the most onerous and harassing description.
It was impossible that agriculture could flourish under such circumstances. Instead of being protected and encouraged in his indispensable calling, the husbandman was regarded as a species of drudge, appointed by nature to toil for the benefit of superiors. The king, the nobility, and the clergy, all considered him in this light, and contended which should wring from him the most in the various shapes of taxes, rents, dues, and tithes. Travelers, who visited France at this period, concur in representing abject poverty and wretchedness as the universal lot of the peasantry.
Nor was it any better in the domain of commerce. Industry was fettered by a thousand shackles. Rulers have, in every age and country, with strange perversity, marked trade for their legitimate prey. The right to monopolize a business was a matter of purchase; afterwards the price
of the business was charged to its customers. Everywhere and in every department corruption was apparent. Thus the French labored under a despotism to which the horrors of Hindoo servitude were comparative freedom. A volume would scarcely suffice to describe all the oppression to which the French subject was exposed. Debauchery and blasphemy, selfishness and disregard of right, in the high places, had done their worst. Nothing short of miraculous interposition could have saved France from the legitimate consequences of her own infamy. Revolution was sure to follow. And such a revolution! It is, perhaps, without a parallel in the annals of history. That it failed of its purpose, is not the fault of the revolution, but in the preparation of the public mind to receive it. The festering sores of corruption in high places had permeated the whole social structure of the people.
France was in turmoil. Her morals were no better than her government. She was able to tear down because to do so only required courage and physical strength; but to build required unity, wisdom, and a due regard for the rights and opinions of others. But the people were not properly educated. Every faction hated the king, but every faction despised every other faction, and the revolution failed because the people were not prepared to accept its results. Revolution itself is horrible; no great revolution can be accomplished without excesses and miseries at which humanity revolts. This is eminently true of the French revolution. It was a destruction of great abuses, executed with much inhumanity, violence and injustice. But notwithstanding the crimes of the revolution and the sufferings it caused, it effected a beneficial change. A revolution, at its best, is a painful and perilous remedy; at is worst, it is the severest trial a nation can undergo. It is well that such trials seldom occur. They are only justifiable in
cases where hopeless slavery and irreparable decay are the only alternatives.
Revolution is the natural outgrowth of oppression and is sure to follow when oppression reaches its maximum. The best remedy is to remove the cause that is oppression. We have seen that revolution was the legitimate result of oppression, and were we to study the causes which have at all times, and in all ages, precipitated the people from a condition of comparative freedom and happiness, to one of abject poverty, degradation and despair, we would, undoubtedly, in a majority of cases trace them to the same source. Every period of distress and political disaster that has not been the immediate result of foreign invasion, continued famine or malignant pestilence, has, no doubt, been precipitated by a system of burdensome laws and unjust exaction of "the powers that be." That history will repeat itself is an axiom proven by the experience of the ages; and, "like causes will produce like effects," is a philosophical truth.
The condition of the laboring classes of the American people is not new; neither are the causes which have produced it. It would seem that all the abundant resources of a country endowed by Nature's God with extraordinary facilities of commerce, and replete in all the concomitants of wealth, that the American people should, not only be the most intelligent, the most prosperous, and the happiest on the face of the earth, but should present to the eyes of the world a government granting larger liberties in its constitution, more equitable justice in the administration of its laws, and greater protection to the weak in the application of its power, than any other in existence. If we are asked why, we answer: that from its very inception, nay, from the time the pilgrims first conceived the idea of braving the dangers of the mighty deep to take refuge in an isolated land, they breathed the inspiration of liberty.
It was engraven by nature on the rocks of New England's shore, and the wind whispered its sweet requiems among the boughs of the trees. It was inculcated in the hearts of the patriots of '76, consummated in their blood upon the batte fields of the Revolution, and consecrated in the self-denial, daring courage, manly endurance and long sufferings of the best, the bravest, and most heroic people of any age or time. Because we have the light of the experience of all ages to guide us in the administration of justice, and possess a country peculiarly fitted for defense against outward attack, and a people who are at once magnanimous, brave, intelligent and powerful.
Yet, with all these advantages there is in existence to-day, a deep-seated feeling of discontent, that, like some contagious disease, is becoming wide-spread throughout the Union, and to such an alarming extent that we may well pause to consider whether it is predicated on a real or imaginary foundation. If from the latter, if it be a fact that there exists no real cause for this growing dissatisfaction on the part of the masses, it would long ago have vanished for want of a foundation.
When, however, we examine the complaints that are constantly coming from all quarters, from among our laboring classes, we are inclined to believe, as we have already intimated, that there is some analogy existing between the condition of our people and that of the French nation prior to the Revolution of 1789. We have corruption in high places. Our trade and commerce is fettered and competition is strangled. We have extortion in transportation and communication and the most unjust exactions on all classes of producers. Crime is on the increase and suicides becoming more numerous. Our prisons are filled with criminals, and our alms-houses with paupers. Our houses, barns and fences are decaying, and our churches and school houses remain unrepaired. Every
productive industry languishes; tramps and idlers are becoming more abundant and our children are clothed in rags. Labor is oppressed on every hand, debts increasing with fearful rapidity, notes maturing, mortgages being closed and the people rendered homeless. From every quarter comes the cry of distress, and hope has almost gone down in the depths of despair.
These evils are not mitigated by the constant efforts of a subsidized press and dishonest politicians to make them appear imaginary or to conceal the real cause. To apply a false theory as to their real nature or the cause of their existence is but to aggravate the trouble by delaying the remedy.
Our condition, like that of the French, has become a festering sore upon the body politic and is preying upon the vitals of our whole social structure and undermining the foundations of constitutional liberty. It can not be explained away. It is here; and it has come to stay until the proper remedy is applied. It makes no difference how the people may differ as to the causes, they all agree that the condition the effect, is real. To those who have suffered and toiled under the conditions which we have described it would be useless to add any further testimony than a mere recital of their wrongs. They realize the truth of their existence by coming in daily contact with their baneful effects. But there is a certain class who, from the peculiar position they occupy and surrounded by circumstances adverse to a clear comprehension of the actual condition of the poorer classes of our people and the real causes thereof, whose attention we desire to enlist on the side of suffering humanity. We refer to all those who, though not engaged in productive industries, are following vocations so directly and intimately connected with the success of these enterprises that their own weal or woe depends upon their rise or fall.
Aside from questions of humanity it is only surprising that these persons are not among the first to sound the alarm, and enlist their efforts in lifting the burdens from the shoulders of the producing classes.
Is it possible that these people "have been persuaded," (to use the mild expression of Thad. Stevens), to help rivet the chains of bondage on their fellow men? In order that we may not be thought to have overdrawn the picture in describing the present condition of our Republic, and our tendency toward that state of society which is the sure precursor of revolution, we present the following statements from eminent authorities:
"The labor movement in our politics grew out of a feeling among intelligent voters, by no means confined to the working people, that the government is being perverted from its real objects and that neither of the old parties is making such a stand as is needed against the dangerous tendencies of the times. If there were not some reason for such a feeling, it could not have become so general and so strong within so brief a period. This government was founded upon the principle of the equality of its citizens. Democracy is equality and equality is democracy. But things are no longer equal in a republic when a poor man cannot be elected to high offices. They are not equal when a constituency elects "John Doe" to Congress, and, through the influence of a great corporation's money, "Richard Roe" so "explains things" to the representative that he favors the corporation against the people. Thomas Carlyle explained Anglo-Saxon government as due to "respect for the constable," this official symbolizing the law. The foundation of good government is disturbed when citizens lose their respect for the law. And they are losing their respect for it in this country, owing to the prevalent belief, for which there is, unhappily, too many supports, that law-makers are corruptly
influenced, that even executives and judges are not free from partisan, from corporation or from money control. A money-bags Senate of the United States, with railroad presidents and attorneys and Standard Oil servants among its members, is not calculated to inspire confidence among the people. In the domain of business the perversion is equally plain. Under the forms of law corporations or combinations fix the production, and regulate the prices of coal, of iron, of oil and many other necessaries of life or essentials of industry. They have rendered it impossible for individuals to undertake many kinds of business that were formerly open to all. Combination has killed competition, and the conspiracy laws operate to punish men for striking against starvation wages. It was plainly time that an earnest protest should be made against this condition and the tendencies. As one party had no disposition to do it, and the other seemed to lack the courage or ability, the labor movement started." New York World.
"The great American agricultural industries, which give employment to more than one-half the workers for wages, whose welfare is held up (properly so) as the highest aim of legislation, and whose products constitute at least 80 per cent. of our exports, receive no real consideration here, and are not even ranked among the industries of the country over which Congress is asked or expected to throw its protecting arm. * * * It seems as though it was thought to be the duty of Congress to see to it that the rich be made richer by making the poor poorer." Senator Beck in his speech in the United States Senate, December 25th, 1885.
"The rapid growth of corporate power and the malign influence which it exerts by combination on the National and State Legislatures, is a well grounded cause of alarm. A struggle is pending in the near future between this overgrown
grown power, with its vast ramifications all over the Union, and a hard grip on much of the political machinery on the one hand, and the people in an unorganized condition on the other, for control of the government. It will be watched by every patriot with intense anxiety. Great corporations and consolidated monopolies are fast seizing the avenues of power that lead to the control of the government. It is an open secret that they rule States through procured Legislatures and corrupted courts; they are strong in Congress, and that they are unscrupulous in the use of means to conquer prejudice and acquire influence. This condition of things is truly alarming, for unless it be changed quickly and thoroughly, free institutions are doomed to be subverted by an oligarchy resting upon a basis of money and of corporate power." Hon. David Davis, formerly Judge of the Supreme Court of the U. S.
"In my judgment the Republic cannot live long in the atmosphere which now surrounds the ballot box. Moneyed corporations, to secure favorable legislation for themselves are taking part in elections by furnishing large sums of money to corrupt the voter and purchase special privileges from the government. If money can control the decision at the ballot box it will not be long until it can control its existence." Governor Gray, of Indiana, in his message to the Legislature.
"Amazed now at the power that corporations seem to have to embarrass necessary legal proceedings taken against them; that the increase of the influence of corporations in this country, and their ability to thwart the supervisory proceedings taken against them by the public authorities to prevent great monopolies or to subject them to proper restraints, are among the most alarming characteristics of the time, and constitute a danger to which all the people
must be aroused before, long if we would preserve our free institutions." Attorney General of the State of New York.
At the request of the New York Chamber of Commerce, ex-Judge Black of Pennsylvania, than whom no other perhaps is better authority, has prepared a paper on railroads and their legal relation to governments. After reciting some of the abuses to which these corporations subjected the people, Judge Black continues:
"To perpetuate these abuses they seek political power. In many places elections in the face of this influence have become the emptiest forms. The railroads send their agents to the Senates and Assemblies of the States. Laws are passed or resisted as they dictate, and Governors approve or veto legislation at their bidding. In the House of Representatives they have their attorneys and in the Senate of the United States their confidential allies. The President can not ignore them and the politicians who nominate presidents curry their favor. They control thousands of votes in this and neighboring States, and order them to be delivered as if the suffrage were pork or pig-iron. * * * This, as we have said, so far from being in any sense a wild statement, is but a partial epitome of uncontradicted evidence laid before the public as the result of official investigations.
"The cheerful persons who keep on believing that things are running beautifully, though indeed they be running with all the feet they have in the worst possible direction, may still, as some do, persist in believing that there is no immediate danger, and by and by, if any evil does accrue, the people, in some way not specified, will find a perfect remedy; but those less given to consulting hope than their common sense, are not likely to remain idle much longer. There is a pretty general feeling that
the Continent of America was not discovered by Columbus, and civil liberty established by the Fathers of the Republic, to the end that fifty millions of people might be made tributary to a band of railroad magnates, or that farmers, artisans and merchants might, by hard work and keen competition, raise up a dozen Vanderbilts, with each several hundreds of millions of dollars.
"Those who entertain this feeling have become persuaded that the time has arrived for the industrious masses of this country to protect themselves, if they ever intend to do so. It will certainly not be easier after the adversary has grown stronger. In this contest every delay is to the disadvantage of the people. Let the issue be deferred for a few years, and nothing but a miracle or a revolution as violent as that of France will overthrow the oppression. Of all misleading delusions, there is none more mischievous than the notion that popular suffrage and popular power are synonymous. Given the means of bribing multitudes, of intimidating others, of wrecking opponents, coupled with actual possession of the government, and adverse sentiment must be paralyzed. In the face of such influences the right to vote is the veriest snare. Will the workman vote himself into the poor-house? Will the favored merchant vote against the capitalist to whom he owes his fortune? Does anyone expect the average politician to be so fired with patriotism as to oppose that which gives him office?
"The ballot is like a sword, utterly useless to the arm that cannot wield it. If the suffrage is to be our salvation, it must be applied sharply while there are still odds on the side of unbought and unterrorized manhood. * * * Into the general bearing and legal philosophy of all this, it is not necessary to go further at present. The subject is now fairly before the American people, and there is every reason for believing that they will not lose sight of it
until it has been settled in a proper manner. The era of sentimental politics is over. The right to earn a living and enjoy the fruits of industry is now up. We look with reasonable confidence to a solution which will be less favorable than the existing laws are to the accumulation by railroad owners, in the course of a few years, of fortunes as large as the Rothchilds point to as the result of generations of scheming and exertion."
The following is from the report of the investigating committee appointed by the New York Legislature to examine into the management of the Erie railroad. Testimony of Mr. Jay Gould:
"I do not know how much I paid toward helping friendly men. We had four States to look after, and we had to suit our politics to circumstances. In a Democratic district I was a Democrat; In a Republican district I was a Republican, and in a doubtful district I was doubtful; but in every district and at all times I have always been an Erie man."
The report of the committee says: "It is further in evidence that it has been the custom of the managers of the Erie Railway, from year to year, in the past, to spend large sums to control elections and to influence legislation. In the year 1868 more than one million dollars ($1,000,000) was disbursed from the treasury for extra and legal services.
"Mr. Gould, when last on the stand, and examined in relation to various vouchers shown him, admitted the payment, during the three years prior to 1872, of large sums to Barber, Tweed and others, and to influence legislation or elections; these amounts were charged in the India-rubber account. The memory of this witness was very defective as to details, and he could only remember large transactions; but could distinctly recall that he had been in the habit of sending money into the numerous districts
all over the State, either to control nominations or elections for Senators and members of Assembly. Considered that, as a rule, such investments paid better than to wait till the men got to Albany, and added the significant remark, when asked a question, that it would be as impossible to specify the numerous instances as it would to recall to mind the numerous freight cars sent over the Erie road from day to day."
The committee conclude their report as follows:
"It is not reasonable to suppose that the Erie railway has been alone in the corrupt use of money for the purposes named; but the sudden revelation in the direction of this company has laid bare a chapter in the secret history of railroad management such as has not been permitted before. It exposes the reckless and prodigal use of money, wrung from the people to purchase the election of the people's representatives, and to bribe them when in office. According to Mr. Gould, his operations extended into four different States. It was his custom to contribute money to influence both nominations and elections."
The following letters were brought to light in a trial in which General Colton's widow sued the Central Pacific railroad for services rendered by her husband:
NEW YORK, May 1, 1875.
* * * I notice what you say of Luttrell; he is a wild hog; don't let him come back to Washington; but as the house is to be largely Democratic, and if he was to be defeated likely it would be charged to us, hence, I think it would be best to beat him with a Democrat; but I would defeat him anyway, and if he got the nomination, put up another Democrat and run against him, and in that way elect a Republican. Beat him. * * *
NEW YORK, Jan. 14, 1876.
Yours of December 30, and the 1st inst., Nos. 120 and 121; also your telegram that William B. Carr has had for his services $60,000 S. P. bonds; then asking how much more I think his services are worth for the future? That is a very difficult question to answer, as I do not know how many years Mr. Carr has been in our employ, or how far in the future we want him. In view of the many things we have now before Congress and also in this sinking fund that we wish to establish, in which we propose to put all the company's lands in Utah and Nevada. It is very important that his friends in Washington should be with us, and if that could be brought about by paying Carr say $10,000 to $20,000 a year, I think we could afford to do it, but, of course, not until he controlled his friends. They could hurt us very much on this land matter, although I would not propose to put the land in for any more than it is worth, say $2.50 per acre. I would like to have you get a written proposition from Carr, in which he would agree to control his friends for a fixed sum, then send it to me. Between the business here and in Washington, I am worked to my capacity.
NEW YORK, May 2, 1876.
We give the above as a sample of the letters written to Gen. Colton. The reader should bear in mind that Mr. Huntington was the principal manager of the Southern Pacific and Central Pacific railroads; and that Gen. Colton was his Western manager. Below we make short extracts from letters running from November 8, 1874, to September 30, 1878:
"Cannot you have Safford call the Legislature together and grant such charters as we want, at a cost, say of $25,000?
"I believe the Legislature could be called together by the people for $5,000 and such a charter granted."
"I had a talk with Bristow, secretary of the treasury. He will be likely to help us fix up our matter with the government on a fair basis."
"It cost money to fix things so that I would know that his bill would not pass. I believe that with $200,000 I can pass our bill, but I take it that it is not worth that much to us."
"The railroad committee of the House was set up for Scott, and it has been a very difficult matter, to switch a majority of the committee away from him, but I think it has been done."
"I notice what you say of Wigginton, Luttrell and Piper. The latter should be defeated at almost any cost."
"I told Senator Gordon of Georgia, if he would get up a party of the best men of the South, we would pay all their expenses, which, I suppose, would not be less, than $10,000, and I think it would be money well expended."
"I stayed in Washington to fix up the railroad committee in the Senate. Scott was there working for the same thing; but I beat him for once, certain, as the committee is just as we want it."
"Jay Gould went to Washington about two weeks since, and I know saw Mitchell, Senator from Oregon, since which time, money has been used very freely in Washington."
"The T. and P. folks * * * offered one member of Congress $1,000, cash down; $5,000 when the bill passed; and $10,000 of the bonds when they got them, if he would vote for the bill."
Note also the following:
"President Cleveland has filled out three-fourths of the presidential term, and the social extravagance and display in official circles at Washington are increasing ten-fold. The fashionable gorgeousness of Central Pacific railroad money and Standard Oil wealth has well nigh paralyzed the nation. The costly feasts that are reported in every daily paper would beggar a small principality. China plates valued at $100 each, with a gold table service, the price of a king's ransom, wines by the dozen kinds, and delicacies the most rare and expensive that money can buy, nightly spread for guests and officials to bewilder the silly minded legislator and tempt the greedy officeholder." Atlanta Constitution.
The report of the railroad commissioners of the State of Georgia, says:
"The moral and social consequences of these corruptions are even worse than the political; they are simply appalling. We contemplate them with anxiety and dismay.
The demoralization is worse than that of war as fraud is meaner than force, and trickery than violence. Aside from their own corruptions, the operators aim directly at the corruption of the press and the government. Worse even than a purifying storm is this malaria in the air, which poisons all the body politic, and corrupts the youth of the country by presenting the highest prizes of society to its most unscrupulous and unworthy members."
Were it necessary, volumes could be filled with the evidences everywhere manifested of the political, financial and social extravagance which pervades our body politic. Its permeations and deadly influences have reached, and are demoralizing the structure of our whole social system. A premium is placed upon dishonesty. While we have no crowned potentates or hereditary princes, clothed with regal power, we have a long list of money kings, railroad kings, Standard Oil kings, coal kings, and manipulators on 'Change that prey upon the people, levy taxes on transportation, on trade and commerce and exchange, with the same relentless and remorseless greed that characterized the kings and princes and feudal lords of Europe. It shall be our endeavor in the succeeding pages of this volume to examine into and unmask the systems by which it is accomplished. In the discussion of the subjects relative to the causes which have given rise to a general discontent among the producing classes throughout the country, we shall attempt to treat of the leading features of the demands of labor. For convenience and perspicuity we shall, as far as practical, arrange them under four distinct heads and discuss them in their regular order.
1st. Monopoly of Exchange.
2d. Monopoly of Transportation.
3d. Monopoly of Trade.
4th. Monopoly of Land.
Morgan, W. Scott. History of the Wheel and Alliance and the Impending Revolution . Ft. Scott, KS: J.H. Rice & Sons, 1891. [format: book], [genre: history; narrative; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
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