America's founders are revered throughout history as valiant and wise revolutionaries who fought together to create this great country. But have you ever wondered what Paine, Washington, Jefferson and the rest would have to say about the Occupy Movement? These strikingly relevant quotes may surprise you.
"And I sincerely believe... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."
- Thomas Jefferson
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the land that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
- Samuel Adams
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government."
"If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained -- we must fight!"
"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."
- Patrick Henry
"Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the world that a free man, contending for his liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth."
"My anxious recollections, my sympathetic feeling, and my best wishes are irresistibly excited whensoever, in any country, I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom."
"The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, 'till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People is sacredly obligatory upon all."
"The best means of forming a manly, virtuous, and happy people will be found in the right education of youth. Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail."
- George Washington
"The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy."
"Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech."
"It is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own."
- Benjamin Franklin
"A generous parent would have said, 'if there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."
"It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government."
"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
- Thomas Paine
Is it so presumptuous to wonder if our founding fathers, if alive today, would protest these injustices alongside us? Is it so absurd to imagine Thomas Jefferson pitching a tent with the rest in a public park? After all, protest was tantamount to the founding of our nation. The repair of a broken government is the responsibility of its people. Indeed, those who recognize the injustice in our government ought to protest, lest they be charged with less-than-patriotic apathy.
EDIT: This article was edited to remove a potentially spurious quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson on inflation. Several sources claim the economic terms "inflation" and "deflation" were not seen until at least the early 1900s.