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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (April 5, 1901)
oral; his wealth, considerable for that day, might
naturally have mado him partial to the rich, hut
ho oast his lot with the common people. Many
with less education havo from a fooling of supe
riority hold aloof from their follows, but ho em
ployed his knowledge of history, of law, of
science and of art for the defense and protection
of the masses.
lie believed in the right of the people to gov
ern thomselvcs and in their capacity for self-gov-crnmont.
When near the end of life, fortified
by an experience and observation such as few men
have had, ho wrote: "I am not among those who
fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our
dopondonce for continued freedom."
Only four years before his doalhho said: "In
dependence can bo trusted nowhere but with the
people in mass. They are inherently independ
ent of all but moral law." At another time ho
said: "No other depositaries of power than the
people themselves havo ever been found, which
did not end in converting to their own profit the
earnings of those committed to their charge."
' And, to add still another extract from his
writings: "The people are the only sure reliance
for the preservation of our liberty."
Ho not only believed in the people, but he
understood the people and recognized the distinc
tions which everywhere exist, however much con
cealed or denied. Read tho analysis which ho
gave of parties and see how completely it has
been born out by tho history of the last hundred
Men, by their constitutions, are naturally divided
into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust tho
people, and wish to draw -all powers from them into
tho hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who iden
tify themselves with the people, have confidence in
them, cherish them and consider them as the most
honest and safo, although not the most wise deposit
ary of the public interest. In every country these '
two parties exist, and in every one where they are
free to think, speak and write, they will declare
themselves. Call them, therefore, liberals and ser
vilcs, Jacobins and ultras, whigs and tones, republi
cans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats, or by
whatever name you pleaso, they are the same parties
still, and pursue the same object. The last appella
tion of aristocrats and democrats is the true one ex
pressing the C3sence of all.
Jefferson not only announced groat funda
mental principles, but he applied them to so many
different questions that he can be read as an author
ity on all questions of today.- Ho was opposed to
imperialism and believed in self-government;' ho
was for a republio composed of equal and self
governing states and entirely opposed to tho colo
He was opposed to a largo army and believed
that a government was stronger when resting
upon tho lovo of tho people than when tolerated
only because of fear.
Ho was so opposed to tho principle of monop
oly that he only excepted copy rights and patents.
Hero is tho amendment which ho suggested to the
Constitution: "Monopolies may bo allowed to
persons for thoir own productions in literature,
and thoir own inventions in" tho arts, for a term
not exceeding years, but for no longer torm,
and for no other purpose." At another time ho
suggested fourteen years as the limit for patents.
His hostility to monopoly was exemplified in
1787, in a communication to John Jay, in which
he said: "A company had silently and by unfair
means obtained a monopoly for the making and
selling of spermaceti candles (in France). As '
soon as wo (Lafayette assisted him) discovered it
wo solicited its suppression which is effected by a
clause in the Arret."
He denounced as a fatal fallacy the doctrine
that a national debt is a blessing.
Ho was tho relentless enemy of banks of issue.
At one time he declared that banks of issue were
more dangerous than standing armies. At an
other time he said: "I hope we shall crush in its
birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations,
which dare already to challenge our government
to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws
of our country."
In 1819 he said, "Interdict forever to both the
state and national government the power of es
tablishing any paper bank; for without this inter
diction we shall have the same ebbs and flows of
medium, and the same revolution of property to
go through every twenty or thirty years."
He was a believer in bimotalism, and no one
who understands his principles can for a moment
conceive of him yielding to the financial influences
which controlled Mr. Cleveland's administration
and the republican administrations which preceded
and followed it.
He warned his countrymen against the dangers
of an appointive judiciary holding office for life.
Of the freedom of speech he said: " The lib
erty of speaking and writing guards our other lib
erties." Of the freedom of the press he wrote, "Our
liberty depends on the freedom of tho press and
that cannot bo limited without being lost."
He was the author of the statute of Virginia
guaranteeing religious liberty and was also the
father of tho University of Virginia. He favored
a free school system which would bring to every
child an opportunity to secure an education.
He was an advocate of the jury system; and
ho argued in favor of freeing the slaves three-quarters
of a century before Lincoln issued his eman
His writings fill many volumes and cover
almost every conceivable subject, but through all
that ho said there runs the evidence of a great
heart as well as a great intellect.
There is need today of a revival of Jeffcrson
ian principles. He was not an enemy of honestly
acquired wealth, but he believed that the govern
ment had no right to exaggerate by favoritism the
differences between individuals. He believed
that all should stand equal before the law and
that every department of government, executive,
legislative and judicial, should recognize and pro
tect the rights of the humblest citizen as carefully
as it would the rights of the greatest and most
Jefferson's principles, applied to the problems
of tho twentieth century, would restore the
republio to its old foundations and make it the
supremo moral factor in the world's progress
The application of his principles today would re
store industrial independence and annihilate trusts
lho application of his principles today would
drive tho money changers out of tho temple in
sure to the people a stable currency and harmon
ize labor and capital by compelling justice to both.
Society today has its aristocratic and its dem
ocratic elements; whether Jefferson's principles
are applied depends upon which element controls
Scant Honor to Harrison.
The Boston Globe calls attention to a fact
which would indicate that some of tho citizens of
tho "Hub" have more interest in things happen
ing abroad than they have in similar events in
the United States. It says:
When Queen Victoria died Boston ians were very
prompt in displaying their flags at half mast to do
honor to her memory. It was quite noticeable yes
terday to many people that the national colors were
hung out very scantily, considering that an American
ex-president had just died. Is an English monarch
more worthy the homage of the flag than an American
president who helped to defend it? Is sentiment fad
ing out in this mammon-hunting country, or shall we
confess that republics are becoming more and more
uugrateful with the growth of material allurements?
No wonder the anti-imperialists of Massa
chusetts are in earnest. They evidently see that
European ideas are being transplanted upon
American soil as well as in the Philippines.
Lincoln and the Silver Republicans.
The San Francisco Call, speaking of the action
of Senator Dubois and other silver republicans
in joining the democratic party, takes oc6asion
to misrepresent the position of Abraham Lincoln
on the silver question. It says: "The messages
and writings of Mr. Lincoln prove him to have
been the predecessor of Mr. Cleveland in declar
ing the principles of sound money, which Mr.
Cleveland made the pole star of his administra
tion. Both Lincoln and Cleveland stood exactly
in line with Jefferson and Jackson on the issue
of sound money."
It also denies the right of the Bilver republi
can to claim any kinship with Lincoln or his
principles. It is not strange that tho gold stan
dard papers attempt to distort history, for they
are compelled to do so in order to find any sup
port for their financial theories.
Jefferson believed that the money unit should
rest on the two metals, gold and silver; while
Mr. Cleveland believes that the money unit
should rest on one metal, gold. Jackson affixed
his signature to the bill which provided for the
free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver at
the legal nitto of sixteen to one, without waiting
for the aid or consent of any other nation, and
in changing the ratio from fifteen to one, to six
teen to one ho reduced the size of the gold dollar.
Mr. Cleveland is tho leader of those democrats
who are opposed to the coinage of silver into
legal tender money at any ratio or under any cir
cumstances. Raymond's Life of Lincoln, published ' soon
after the death of President Lincoln and before
the republican party began its crusade againt sil
ver, reproduces a message which Lincoln sent to
the miners of the west. The following is an ex
tract from it:
Mr. Colfax, I want you to take a message from me to
the miners whom yon visit. I have very large ideas
of the mineral wealth of our nation. I believe it
practically inexhaustible. It abounds all over the
western country, from the Rocky Mountains to the
pacific, and its development has scarcely commenced.'
iJunng the war, when we were adding a couple
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