A Lesson From History:

Private Enterprise Regained

I am indebted to Betty Knowles Hunt for sending me a column she contributed to The New Hampshire Morning Union quoting from Governor Bradford’s own history of the Plymouth Bay colony over which he presided. It is a story that deserves to be far better known, particularly in an age that has acquired a mania for socialism and Communism, regards them as peculiarly "progressive" and entirely new, and is sure that they represent "the wave of the future"

Most of us have forgotten that when the Pilgrim Fathers landed on the shores of Massachusetts they established a Communist system. Out of their common product and storehouse they set up a system of rationing, though it came to "but a quarter of a pound of bread a day to each person." Even when harvest came, "it arose to but a little." A vicious circle seemed to set in. The people complained that they were too weak from want of food to tend the crops, as they should. Deeply religious though they were, they took to stealing from each other. "So as it well appeared," writes Governor Bradford, "that famine must still insue the next year allso, if not some way prevented."

So the colonists, he continues, "begane to thinke how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a beter crope than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in miserie. At length (in 1623) after much debate of things, the Gov. (with the advise of the cheefest amongest them) gave way that they should set corne every man for his owne perticuler, and in that regard trust to them selves…And so assigned to every family a parcell of land…

"This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted than other waise would have bene by any means the Gov. or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente.

"The women now wente willingly into the field, and tooke their litle-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledg weakness, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and oppression."

"The experience that was had in this comone course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; - that the taking away of propertie, and bringing in communitie into a comone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this communities ( so farr as it was ) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte.

"For the yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and service did repine that they should spend their time and streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in devission of victails and cloaths, than he that was weake and not able to doe a quarter the other could; this was thought as injuestice…

"And for men’s wives to be commanded to doe servise for other men, as dressing their meate, washing their cloaths, etc., they deemd it a kind of slaverie, neither could many husbands well brooke it.

By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plentie, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoysing of the harts of many for which they blessed God. And the effect of their particuler (private) planting was well seene, for all had one way and other pretty well to bring the year aboute, and some of the abler sorte and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any generall wante or famine hath not been amongest them since to this day."

The moral is too obvious to need elaboration.

Henry Hazlitt Newsweek, June 27, 1949

Also published by The Foundation for Economic Education – August 15, 1949.


OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES, OUR SACRED HONOR:
THE FOUNDATION OF THE AMERICAN FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM

This speech, delivered to the University of Rio Grande
American Free Enterprise and Leadership Conference
a one-week program managed by
Students in Free Enterprise
By Will Pearson, PhD.
According to Will Pearson, he was inspired to deliver this
presentation by Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story."

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  It is a privilege, an honor to
stand before you this morning.  As I have interacted with many of you,
and as I look out across the room at you young men and women who are
striving to be the very best you can be, I am greatly encouraged, and
filled with hope for the future of our great nation.

Speaking of our great nation, which is exactly what I will be doing
for the next 20 minutes or so, all too often, the HOW and WHY of this
beloved Republic are so much better known and understood than the WHO.

Today, in the brief amount of time that I have been allotted, I will
speak with you about the WHO.

Whereas the United States of America was born in 1776, it was
conceived some years before that.  The earliest settlers, from
Jamestown to Plymouth, from Savannah to Rhode Island, had watered the New World with their blood, sweat, and tears, and, as a result, many of them had built substantial holdings for themselves and their
families.  When, after 169 years from the day the first English
settlers set foot on Jamestown Island in Virginia, when the time had
come to separate themselves from a tyrannical government thousands of miles away, at best, at the very best, it meant starting all over
again after the ravages of war.

Now, for just one moment, I want you to try to comprehend, to imagine, something so dear to you, personally, that you would be willing to sacrifice your life to have it; something so dear that you would be
willing to sacrifice all of your material goods, everything you own to
have it; something so dear that you would be willing to sacrifice your
good name, your and your family's good reputations to have it.  Think
to yourselves.  What is it for which you would be willing to make such
a sacrifice?

The final paragraph of the Declaration of Independence reads: "For the
support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of
Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our
Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

After this brief presentation, it is my hope that each of you will be
able to quote at least one line, that last line, from the Declaration,
and that you will have a more personal understanding of those words.

The founders of our great nation, ladies and gentlemen, had everything
to lose when, in July of 1776, in Independence Hall in Philadelphia,
they gave birth to the United States of America and pledged to each
other and to future generations, indeed, to you, their lives, their
fortunes, and their sacred honor.  Revolutions before and since have
been initiated by men who had nothing to lose.  Our Founders had
everything to lose; nothing to gain, except one thing: LIBERTY.
Patrick Henry of Virginia, perhaps, put it best in his eloquent,
impassioned speech before the Virginia House of Burgesses, March 23, 1775.  This young man, known as the "Orator of Liberty" and the "Voice of the Revolution," just months before the outbreak of the American Revolution, was among some men who thought that peace and security were the ultimate.  All were deciding whether or not to officially break from the Crown.  Amid cries for "Peace, Peace" rather than for war and independence, Henry strode to the pulpit there at St. John's Church in Richmond, and said, "Peace?!  Gentlemen may cry peace, peace; but there is no peace!  The war has actually begun!  The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the resounding clash of arms!  Our brethren are already in the field!  Why stand we here idle?  What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Forbid it Almighty God!!  I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!!

The men who signed the Declaration of Independence agreed with Henry.  These were men of wealth, stature, and they were well educated.  Of the 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, 24 were lawyers and jurists; 9 were gentlemen farmers, the owners of vast plantations and holdings.  Fifty-six men signed their names beneath that pledge and knew, when they signed, that they were risking everything.

They knew that if they won the fight, the best they could hope for
would be years of hardship in a struggling nation.  If they lost, the
penalty for treason was the hangman's noose.

The signatures of those 56 men are behind me, and here are the fates,
the documented fates, of some of them.

Carter Baxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships
destroyed at sea, sold his home and all his properties to pay his
debts, and died in rags.

Thomas Lynch, Jr. was an aristocrat, a large rice plantation owner.
After he signed, his health failed.  He set out with his wife for
France to regain his health.  The ship never got to France; he was
never heard from again.

Thomas McKean of Delaware was so harassed by the enemy that he was forced to move his family five times in five months.  He served in
Congress without pay, his family in poverty and living in hiding.

Vandals looted the properties of William Ellery, George Clymer, Lyman Hall, Boulton Gwinnett, George Walton, Thomas Heyward, Edward Rutledge, and Arthur Middleton.   Heyward was captured when Charleston fell.

Thomas Nelson, Jr. of Virginia raised $2 Million on his own signature
to supply our allies.the French fleet.  After the war, he personally
paid back the loans, wiping out his entire estate.  He was never
reimbursed by the government.

In the final battle for Yorktown, Nelson urged General Washington to
fire on his own home, which was occupied by Cornwallis.  It was
destroyed.  He died bankrupt and was buried in an unmarked grave.  You see, Thomas Nelson has pledged his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor.

The Hessians captured the home of Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey.

Francis Lewis had his home and everything in it destroyed; his wife
imprisoned.  She died within a few months.

Richard Stockton was captured and mistreated.  His health was broken
to the extent that he died at 51.  His estate was pillaged.

John Hart was driven from his dying wife's bedside.  His 13 children
fled in all directions for their lives.  His property was laid to waste by the enemy and for more than a year he lived in forests and caves.  He returned home to find his wife dead, his children gone, and his property destroyed.  He died a few weeks later of exhaustion and a broken heart.

Lewis Morris saw his land destroyed; his family scattered.

Philip Livingston died within a few months of the hardships of war.

One of the wealthiest men in New England, John Hancock, stood outside Boston one terrible night of the war and said, "Burn Boston, though it makes John Hancock a beggar, if the public good requires it."  He, too, lived up to the pledge.

Of the 56, few were long to survive.

Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes, from Rhode Island to Charleston, sacked,
looted, occupied by the enemy, and burned.  Two lost their sons in the
army.  One had two sons captured.  Nine of the 56 died in the war,
from its hardships or from its bullets.

Those men were not poor men or wild eyed revolutionaries.  They were men of means, rich men, most of them, who enjoyed much ease and luxury in their personal living.   They were not hungry men.  They were prosperous, wealthy landowners, substantially secure in their
prosperity.

But they considered liberty so much more important than security that
they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

And they fulfilled their pledge.

They paid the price.

And freedom, your freedom, was born.

"For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our
Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."


THE FREEMAN
A MONTHLY JOURNAL OF IDEAS ON LIBERTY
November 1959 Vol. 9 No. 11
The Foundation for Economic Education  Irvington-on-Hudson, NY 10533


OUR FIRST THANKSGIVING
SARTELL PRENTICE, JR.


 Our American Thanksgiving Day is a unique holiday, set aside by
 Presidential Proclamation so that we may thank our Heavenly Father
 for the bountiful gifts he has bestowed on us during the year. 
  It is also a day dedicated to the Family, the basic unit of our
  American society, the core and center around which all else in
  America revolves.  This, too, is in accord with our basic religious
  faith, for the Commandment has come down to us to "honor thy father
  and thy mother." And so, from wherever we may be, North, South,
  East, or West, we Americans travel, sometimes great distances, back
  to the family hearth, to be present at the traditional Family
  Reunion and Feast on Thanksgiving Day. But Thanksgiving Day has
  still another meaning; on this day we are asked to remember what
  Edmund Burke, in one of the most eloquent phrases to be found in all
  literature, described as "that little speck, scarce visible in the
  mass of national interest, a small seminal principle, rather than a
  formed body"- the tiny vessel, more accurately to be described as a
  "cockleshell," the Mayflower, and its hundred passengers, men,
  women, and children, who sailed on her. Twelve years earlier, in
  1608, they had fled from religious persecution in England and
  established a new home in Holland.  Despite the warm welcome
  extended by the Dutch, as contrasted with the persecutions they had
  endured in England, their love for their homeland impelled them to
  seek English soil on which to raise their children, English soil on
  which they would be free to worship God in their own way. Finally,
  the Pilgrims landed, as we all know, on Plymouth Rock in the middle
  of December 1620, and on Christmas Day, in the words of Governor
  William Bradford, they "begane to erecte ye first house for commone
  use to receive them and their goods." So was established the first
  English colony in New England. Three years later, when the plentiful
  harvest of 1623 had been gathered in, the Pilgrims "sett aparte a
  day of thanksgiving." Governor Bradford adds, "Any generall wante or
  famine hath not been amongst them since to this day."

Three Kernels of Corn

  But what of the intervening years?  After all, there were harvests
  gathered in in 1621 and 1622. I know of one family, descended from
  the Pilgrims, who place beside each plate at their bounteous table
  on Thanksgiving Day a little paper cup containing just three kernels
  of corn, as a constant reminder of the all too frequent days during
  these first years when three kernels of corn represented the daily
  food ration of their Pilgrim forebears. Within three months of their
  landing on Plymouth Rock, "of one hundred and odd persons, scarce
  fifty remained.  And of these in ye time of most distres, ther was
  but six or seven sound persons, who, to their great comendations be
  it spoken, spared no pains, night nor day, but with abundance of
  toyle and hazard of their own health,.did all ye homly and
  necessarie offices which dainty and quesie stomaks cannot endure to
  hear named; and all this willingly and cherfully.,shewing herein
  their true love unto their freinds and bretheren.  A rare example
  and worthy to be remembered." One half of the crew of the           Mayflower,
  including "many of their officers and lustyest men, as ye boatson,
  gunner, three quartermaisters, the cooke, and others," also perished
  before the little vessel set sail on her return voyage to England in
  April 1621. In the following excerpt from his History, Governor
  Bradford vividly describes the lot of the Pilgrims during these
  early years.  Writing about conditions in the spring of 1623, after
  their corn had been planted, he says: "All ther victails were
  spente, and they were only to rest on Gods providence; at night not
  many times knowing when to have a bitt of any things ye next day.
  And so, as one well observed, had need to pray that God would give
  them their dayly brade, above all people in ye world.; which makes
  me remember what Peter Martire writs (in magnifying ye Spaniards) in
  his 5. Decade, page 208.  'They' (saith he) 'led a miserable life
  for 5. days togeather, with ye parched graine of maize only, and
  that not to saturitie'; and then concluds, 'that shuch pains, shuch
  labours, and shuch hunger, he thought none living which is not a
  Spaniard could have endured.' "But alass!  these (the Pilgrims),
  when they had maize (yt is, Indean corne) they thought it as good as
  a feast, and wanted not only for 5. days togeather, but some time 2.
  or 3. months togeather, and neither had bread nor any kind of corne.
  "Yet let me hear make use of his (Peter Martire's) conclusion, which
  in some sorte may be applied to this people: 'That with their
  miseries they opened a way to these new-lands; and after these
  stormes, with what ease other men came to inhabite in them, in
  respecte of ye calamities these men suffered; so as they seeme to
  goe to a bride feaste wher all things are provided for them.'" Yet,
  following the harvest gathered in in the fall of that same year,
  1623, and for all the years that followed, Governor Bradford tells
  us, "Any generall wante or famine hath not been amongst them since
  to this day." Three years of near starvation- and then decades of
  abundance.  Was this a miracle? Or is there a rational explanation
  for this sudden change in the fortunes of our Pilgrim forefathers?

So they tried freedom

  Describing events that took place in the spring of 1623, Governor
  Bradford answers our questions, in eloquent words that should be
  engraved on the hearts and minds of all Americans: "All this while
  no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expecte
  any.  So they begane to thinke how they might raise as much corne as
  they could, and obtaine a beter crope then they had done, that they
  might not still thus languish in miserie.  At length, after much
  debate of the things, the Govr (with ye advise of ye cheefest
  amongest them) gave way that they should set corne every man for his
  owne perticuler, and in that regard trust to themselves.And so
  assigned to every family a parcell of land, according to the
  proportion of their number for that end, only for present use (but
  no devission for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under
  some familie.  This had very good success; for it made all hands
  very industrious, so as much more corne was planted then other waise
  would have bene by any means ye Govr or any other could use, and
  saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente.
  The women now wente willingly into ye field, and tooke their
  little-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledg weaknes,
  and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene thought great
  tiranie and oppression. "The experience that was had in this comone
  course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly
  and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of
  Platos and other ancients;- that ye taking away of propertie, and
  bringing into comone wealth, would make them happy and flourishing;
  as if they were wiser then God.  For this comunitie (so farr as it
  was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard
  much imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte.
   For ye yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and
  service repine that they should spend their time and streingth to
  worke for other mens wives and  children, with out any recompence.
  The strong, or man of parts, had no more in devission of victails
  and cloaths, then he that was weake and not able to do a quarter ye
  other could; this was thought injuestice.  The aged and graver men
  to be ranked and equalised in labours, and victails, cloaths, &c.,
  with ye meaner and yonger sorte, thought it some indignite and
  disrespect unto them.  And for mens wives to be commanded to doe
  servise for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their
  cloaths, &c., they deemd it a kind of slaverie, neither could many
  husbands well brokke it.  Upon ye poynte all being to have alike,
  and all to doe alike, they thought them selves in ye like condition,
  and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut of those
  relations that God hath set amongest men, yet it did at least much
  diminish and take of ye mutuall respects that should be preserved
  amongest them.  And would have bene worse if they had been men of
  another condition.
 "Let none objecte this is men's corruption, and nothing to ye corse
 it selfe.  I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God
 in his wisdome saw another course fiter for them."
  This new policy of allowing each to "plant for his owne perticuler"
  produced such a harvest that fall that Governor Bradford was able to
  write: "By this time harvest was come, and in stead of famine, now
  God gave them plentie, and ye face of things was changed, to ye
  rejoysing of ye harts of many, for which they blessed God.  And ye
  effect of their particular planting was well seene, for all had, one
  way and other, pretty well to bring ye year aboute, and some of ye
  abler sorte and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others,
  so as any generall wante or famine hath not been amongst them since
  to this day."

The Importance of Property Rights

  Our first Thanksgiving should, therefore, be interpreted as an
  expression of gratitude to God, not so much for the great harvest
  itself, as for granting the grateful Pilgrims the perception to
  grasp and apply the great universal principle that produced that
  great harvest: Each individual is entitled to the fruits of his own
  labor.  Property rights are, therefore, inseparable from human
  rights. If man abides by this law, he will reap abundance; if he
  violates this law, suffering, starvation, and death will follow, as
  night the day. This is the essential meaning of the two great
  Commandments, "Thou shalt not covet" and "Thou shalt not steal."
  When it came time for the spring planting in the following year,
  1624, the Pilgrims went on step further.  In Governor Bradford's
  words: "I must speak of their planting this year; they having found
  ye benefite of their last years harvest, and setting corne for their
  particuler, having therby with a great deale of patience overcome
  hunger and famine.  That they might encrease their tillage to better
  advantage, they made suite to the Govr to have some portion of land
  given them for continuance, and not by yearly lotte, for by that
  means, that which ye more industrious had brought into good culture
  (by much pains) one year, came to leave it ye nexte, and often
  another might injoye it; so as the dressing of their lands were the
  more sleighted over, and to lese profite.  Which being well
  considered, their request was granted.  And to every person was
  given only one acre of land, to them and theirs, as nere ye towne as
  might be, and they had no more till ye seven years were expired."
  Describing the results of the application of this policy in the year
  1626, Governor Bradford tells us: "It pleased ye Lord to give ye
  plantation peace and health and contented minds, and so to blese
  their labours, as they had corne sufficient (and some to spare to
  others) with other foode; neither ever had they any supply of foode
  but what they first brought with them.  After harvest this year,
  they sende out a boats load of corne 40. or 50. leagues to ye
  eastward, up a river called Kenibek.God preserved them, and gave
  them good success, for they brought home 700 ti. of beaver, besids
  some other furrs, having little or nothing else but this corne,
  which them selves had raised out of ye earth." The discovery and
  application of this concept of individual property rights, derived
  from the Creator, was the real "seminal principle" so eloquently
  phrased by the great English statesman and orator, Edmund Burke.  As
  it developed from this tiny seed into a "formed body," it became the
  cornerstone of our Declaration of Independence and of our
  Constitution, and produced the extraordinary explosion of individual
  human energy that took place in nineteenth century America.

Famine Persisted in England

In England, meanwhile, farming "in common" continued to be the general
practice for another hundred years.  Not until the second decade of
the seventeen hundreds did "setting crops for their particuler" begin
slowly to be accepted in England- and decades were to pass before the
new practice became sufficiently widespread to provide an adequate
food supply for the population.
  As recently as 1844, an English writer thus describes the conditions
  which then existed: "Full one third of our population (in the United
  Kingdom) subsist entirely, or rather starve, upon potatoes alone,
  another third have, in addition to this edible, oaten or inferior
  wheaten bread, with one or two meals of fat pork, or the refuse of
  the shambles (slaughterhouses), per week; while a considerable
  majority of the remaining third seldom are able to procure an ample
  daily supply of good butcher's meat or obtain the luxury of poultry
  from year to year. "On the continent of Europe, population is still
  in a worse condition." No country was ever more "underdeveloped"
  than the wilderness of New England on which our Pilgrim forebears
  set foot. The majority of those who landed from the Mayflower in
  December 1620 perished prior to that first great harvest of 1623.
  For two years they followed the age-old custom prevalent in England
  of "farming in common"- and they starved. Through suffering,
  starvation and hardship, they learned and applied the fundamentals
  of freedom- and, instead of starvation, they grew crops sufficient
  not only for their own needs, but to spare, enabling them to
  exchange their surplus with the Indians for beaver and other
  "furrs."

If Pilgrims Had Had "Foreign Aid"?

  But suppose some foreign country, or their mother country, had taken
  pity on them in their misery and sent them ample food supplies
  during those first terrible years; this would have been impossible,
  for England herself was virtually on a starvation diet, as were most
  of the countries on the continent of Europe.  But suppose it had
  been possible; suppose they had received such "foreign aid"? Would
  not the Pilgrims have continued to "farm in common"?  Would they not
  have continued to follow the practice that more than two centuries
  later was to become a basic tenet of Marxian philosophy, "From each
  according to his ability, to each according to his need"? Would the
  Pilgrims ever have learned and applied the concepts of the dignity
  of the individual and the sanctity of property- the idea that each
  individual is entitled to the fruits of his own labor- the Law of
  Individual Freedom and Individual Responsibility? Freedom for the
  individual, with recognition and respect for the right of each
  individual to his property, is essential to the release of
  individual human energy, which alone can raise the standard of
  living of any people. It is for this reason that aid sent to people
  to support socialist governments (which deny the right to private
  property) and aid sent to help underdeveloped peoples that have not
  yet learned the lessons taught to the Pilgrims by hard experience-
  it is for this reason that such "aid" may be likened to attempting
  to fill a bathtub without first putting the stopper in. Would not
  America be rendering a greater service to these people by teaching
  them, through precept and example, the real meaning of our first
  Thanksgiving- and by pointing out to them the truth and
  applicability of the great ideals of individual freedom and
  individual responsibility under God? The young American nation grew
  and prospered because for more than a century and a quarter the
  sanctity of property rights was recognized as being indispensable to
  human rights; because her people were free to "plant for their own
  particuler"; because the resultant "free market economy" invited
  domestic and foreign capital seeking a profit.

What of Today?

  Is America, today, still abiding by these principles?
  Not only is the answer "No!" but there is evidence on every hand
  that we are re-enacting the very mistakes our Pilgrim Fathers made
  during their first years of "farming in common," mistakes which
  produced nought but disaster, re-enacting in the New World the
  age-old miseries of constant hunger and starvation that continued to
  plague the Old World for some two centuries to come. We are not as
  yet suffering the Pilgrims' privation, but we are reverting to
  arbitrary communalization on an enormous scale, resetting the same
  old-world stage. Our present tax structure is a case in point.  Its
  aim is not to finance the costs of a strictly limited government,
  but rather to reform society, to remold our lives, and to
  redistribute our wealth according to the ideas of economic and
  social planners dedicated to the socialization, the communization,
  of our once free America. As a consequence, we are now supporting
  vast armies of government bureaucrats who swarm over the land- and
  over much of the world- devouring our substance like a plague of
  locusts.  Today, one in every six employed Americans is on a
  government payroll. As a consequence, we are compelled to contribute
  from the fruits of our labor billions of dollars for subsidies and
  handouts granted by politicians in their endless search for votes
  and personal power. As a consequence, we have government     operating vast businesses- already representing 20 percent of the industrial capacity of the USA- businesses that ride the backs of the American people as interest free, rent free, cost free, and tax free princes of privilege, in competition with tax-paying enterprises. In our
  program of aid to socialist governments and to underdeveloped
  nationalities and peoples that have not yet learned to apply the
  great universal truths tested and proved by our Pilgrim forebears,
  are we not seeking to fill the bathtub without first seeing to it
  that the stopper is in place- in a fruitless attempt to buy loyal
  allies with money?  Referring to our sixty billion dollar Foreign
  Aid since World War II, on January 27, 1957, Hon. Spruille Braden
  said: "It is a sum equal to the assessed valuation of all real and
  other property in our seventeen biggest cities!" Each time I accept
  a government handout, for any reason whatsoever, I am stealing from
  the only Treasure House any people has- the surplus wealth created
  by the productive energies of millions of individual men and women,
  each seeking a better life for himself and for his children. Each
  time I produce less, in my work, than enough to earn a profit for my
  employer, I am stealing from someone else- and contributing toward
  creating unemployment for others and a higher cost of living for
  all.

 This Thanksgiving Day, let us, each in his own
  way, humbly ask forgiveness for the degree to which we have all
  violated the great "seminal principle," either directly, or through
  tolerating its violation by others.
  Then, this Thanksgiving Day, let us highly resolve to dedicate our
  lives, as individuals, to "planting for our own particuler," rather
  than living as parasites on the productive energy of others; let us
  dedicate our lives to a renewed application of the ideal of
  individual freedom and individual responsibility, which our Pilgrim
  forebears learned at such sacrifice, and which they passed down to
  us as our most precious heritage.