Posted 5 years ago on May 18, 2014, 3:48 p.m. EST by LeoYo
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"This has been the course of England, and her examples have fearful influence on us. In copying her we do not seem to consider that like premises induce like consequences. The bank mania is one of the most threatening of these imitations. It is raising up a moneyed aristocracy in our country which has already set the government at defiance, and although forced at length to yield a little on this first essay of their strength, their principles are unyielded and unyielding. These have taken deep root in the hearts of that class from which our legislators are drawn, and the sop to Cerberus from fable has become history. Their principles lay hold of the good, their pelf of the bad, and thus those whom the Constitution had placed as guards to its portals, are sophisticated or suborned from their duties."
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Josephus B. Stuart dated May 10, 1817
"We 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 country. As 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. I 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 groundless."
Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Col. William F. Elkins dated November 21, 1864
"A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men... We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men."
Woodrow Wilson in 1916 as quoted by former Senator Robert L. Owen (the Father of the Federal Reserve Act) in "National Economy and the Banking System," Senate Documents No. 23, p. 100, 76th Congress, 1st Session, 1939. http://ia700500.us.archive.org/11/items/NationalEconomyAndTheBankingSystemOfTheUnitedStates/NationalEconomyAndTheBankingSystem.pdf
"In July 1913, Hon. Carter Glass joined me in presenting to the Senate and to the House the so-called Federal Reserve Bill which had been prepared by me the previous March, but which had been expanded, and contained provisions with which I was not entirely content. My Committee was immediately called together to take testimony on this Senate Bill, and after 3,000 pages of printed testimony had been taken, my colleagues in the Senate authorized me to write another Bill. I thereupon had the Senate strike out the Bill that had been prepared in the House and substitute the Bill which I had originally prepared. The Senate adopted the Bill written by me without a change of word. In the Bill introduced in July, in which the Hon. Carter Glass joined me, I had inserted a provision requiring that the powers of the Reserve System be employed in the service of commerce and to promote a stable price level. The meaning of this, of course, was to establish and maintain the stable value of money under mandate. This mandatory provision was stricken out in the House under the leadership of Hon. Carter Glass. I was unable to keep this mandatory provision in the Bill because of the secret hostilities developed against it, the origin of which at that time I did not fully understand."
"Under the administrations of Wilson, Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, this Act was diverted from its proper purpose on the advice of some who controlled the policies of a number of the largest banks."
"In the campaign of 1920, under the pretext of lowering the cost of living, those in charge of some of the largest banks demanded the contraction of credit and currency. This was done in spite of nine protests I had made on the floor of the Senate between January and June of 1920. Policies pursued by those in charge of the Central Federal Reserve Banks resulted in raising the value of money 80%, from an index of 60 in May 1920 to an index of 107 in June 1921."
"Again, under President Hoover, the contraction of credit took place on such a colossal scale as to force the dollar index (purchasing power) to 166. The consequence was universal bankruptcy, every bank in the United States being forced to suspend operations at the close of Hoover's services."
Robert L. Owen,
New York City,
October 29, 1934.
From the forward of "Money Creators" by Gertrude Coogan
Beginning in 1878, millions of American farmers began banding together to break the post-Civil War, small-farmer enslaving crop-lien system with co-operative economics. When they were bested by corrupt and abusive practices of the national financial sector, they attempted to improve their circumstances by forming the People's Party and engaging in populist politics. Again they were bested, this time by the country's mainstream two-party system. However, the Progressive Era had just begun. Before it ended, it would become one of the greatest democracy movements in recorded history.
Fired by the efforts of millions of farmers, exposes written by investigative journalists (the famous muckrakers), and correlations between special interests' abuses of farmers and special interests' abuses of urban workers, Progressives formed nationally connected citizen organizations to extend this democracy movement. From 1898 to 1918, the Progressives, supported by tens of millions of citizens, forced direct democracy petition components into the constitutions of twenty-six states.
The constitutional placement of direct democracy petition components was seen by those citizen majorities as necessary. Given the obvious corruption in state governments, the lack of sovereign public control over the output of state legislatures was seen as "the fundamental defect" in the nation's legislative machinery. Advocates insisted that the only way to make the founding fathers' vision work was to take the "misrepresentation" out of representative government with the sovereign people's direct legislation (Special Committee of the National Economic League, 1912 https://archive.org/stream/initiativerefere00nati#page/n0/mode/2up ). Nebraska adopted the referendum for municipal governments within its boundaries in 1897. South Dakota was the first state to adopt the referendum, in 1898, patterning its system after that of Switzerland. However, it was not all successful. Most notably, residents of Texas rejected the referendum because the version put on the ballot by the legislature required 20% of the vote. Other states where the constitutional amendments to place direct democracy failed include Mississippi, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. By 1918 enthusiasm waned and the next state to adopt the referendum was Florida 50 years later.
Initiative and referendum (I&R) citizen lawmaking spread across the United States because state legislatures were unresponsive in creating laws that the people needed to protect themselves from lobby groups, laissez-faire economics, and the era's robber barons. Additionally, while legislatures were quick to pass laws benefitting special interests, both legislatures and the courts were inflexible in their refusals to amend, repeal or adjudicate those laws in ways that would eliminate special interest advantages and end abuses of the majority.
Now Make Me Do It: The Mythical Apathy of the Electorate
"Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens" http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf
"Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. Our results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism."
"When a majority – even a very large majority – of the public favors change, it is not likely to get what it wants. In our 1,779 policy cases, narrow pro-change majorities of the public got the policy changes they wanted only about 30% of the time. More strikingly, even overwhelmingly large pro-change majorities, with 80% of the public favoring a policy change, got that change only about 43% of the time."
"When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it."
"If, then, control of the people over the organs of their government be the measure of their republicanism, and I confess I know no other measure, it must be agreed that our governments have much less of republicanism than ought to have been expected; in other words, that the people have less regular control over their agents, than their rights and their interests require."
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Taylor dated May 28, 1816.
National Democratic Congress