property

I am going to speak, as you would have the right to expect me to speak, of what affects us at the present moment here in this State—of one of those problems with which we, who are for the time being your servants and representatives in public life, are trying to deal.

Now, take the very question that you have seen advocated and which you will see advocated some more during the next fen days—the question of the taxation of franchises. On the one hand we have the perfectly simple savage who believes that you should tax franchises to the extent of confiscating them, and that it is the duty of all rail¬road corporations to carry everybody free and give him a chromo. On the other, we have the scarcely less primitive mortal who believes that there is something sacred in a franchise, and that there is no reason why it should pay its share of the burdens at all.

Wow, gentlemen, remember that the man who occupies the last position inevitably tends to produce the man who occupies the first position, and that the worst enemy of property is the man who, whether from unscrupulousness or from mere heedlessness and thoughtlessness, takes the ground that there shall be something sacred about all property—-that the owners of it are to occupy a different position in the community from all others, and are to have their burdens not increased, but diminished, because of their wealth.

~Teddy Roosevelt, 1899.

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