Historical Reprints Money - Economics Conflict Between Private Monopoly and Good Citizenship

Conflict Between Private Monopoly and Good Citizenship

Conflict Between Private Monopoly and Good Citizenship
Catalog # SKU3786
Publisher TGS Publishing


The Conflict
Between Private Monopoly
and Good Citizenship

John Graham Brooks

I make no use here of theory. I am thinking of definite large business interests in which the evil will remain as common as it is inevitable so long as the business is unregulated and its shady practices concealed from public authorities and public opinion.

Print size, 13 point font



For a special purpose, I have had occasion to examine with care the comments upon American life and institutions made by foreign critics during the period that extends from the later part of the eighteenth century up to the present time. If one puts aside the frivolous and ill-tempered studies and considers alone the fairer and more competent observers, the least pleasant of all the criticisms is that we are essentially a lawless people.

If the critic, like de Tocqueville and Miss Martineau, had sympathy and admiration for us, the revealed lawlessness came as an astonishment, because it seemed to upset all sorts of pretty theories about democracy. The doctrinaires had worked out to perfection the idea that a people who could freely make and unmake their own laws would, for that plain reason, respect the laws. Of course, a people who had laws thrust upon them from above would hate them and disobey them. But a democracy would escape this temptation.

It was apparently an amusement of many of these writers to collect, as did the jaunty author of "Peter Simple" in his Diary, interminable pages from our own press to illustrate the general contempt for those laws which really interfered with pleasures or economic interests. Harriet Martineau drove through Boston on the day when Garrison was being dragged through the streets. The flame of her indignation burned high; but it burned with new heat when she found that the very best of Boston culture and respectability would not lift a finger or pay a copper to have the law enforced in Mr. Garrison's favor. Beacon Street and Harvard professors told her that the victim was a disreputable agitator, richly deserving what he got.

They seemed to think this English lady very cranky and unreasonable. The mob had the entire sympathy of the best people in the community, and that should satisfy her. De Tocqueville had an awakening at a polling-booth in Pennsylvania that in the same way disturbed all his presuppositions about us.

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