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Oppressive Government One day as Confucius and some of his disciples were going past Tai Mountain they noticed a woman weeping over a newly made grave. Wondering what relative she grieved for, Confucius bade one of his followers ask her the cause of her sorrow.
“My husband's father was killed here by a tiger,” she explained, and so
was my husband. And now my son has met the same fate.” “Why then,” asked the disciple, "do you not leave this place for a sa fer abode ?"
The weeping woman replied: "I do not leave because here, at least, there is no oppressive government."
When the disciple returned to the group and told his story, Confucius said : “Remember this, oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.”—THE RIGHTS WE DEFEND, Williams, p. 13.
The Wages of a Slave In the year 9 A. D. two brothers, Hermann and Flavus, were sent to Rome to study military methods. When their period of training was over, Hermann returned to his native forests to train his people in the Roman ways of war; Flavus stayed in the southland as one of the Emperor's guard.
As the legions of Augustus swept northward, the clans which fought under Hermann found that they could more than hold their own against the invader. However, they had to defeat the Romans in several battle before Teuton independence was complete. And in one of these battles Hermann found that he was facing a Roman company commanded by his brother Flavus.
On the eve of the battle the brothers talked across a river. Hermann noticed that his brother wore a patch over one eye. Flavus explained that he had lost the eye in the service of the Emperor.
"And what has been your recompense ?” asked Hermann.
"I have received an increase in pay, a military chain, an ornamental crown, and honors," answered Flavus.
Hermann said scornfully: “They are the wages of a slave cheaply purchased.”—GREAT MOMENTS IN FREEDOM, Lansing, p. 81.
to "make the schools a counter-poise to religious instruction at home and in the Sabbath schools."
Mann, however, held that any attempt to decide what creed or doctrine should be taught was undemocratic, and would mean the ruin of the schools.
The battle culminated in an attempt by the religious forces to abolish the Board of Education. The movement failed. Governor Briggs commended Mann's stand by saying: “Justice to a faithful public officer leads me to say that the indefatigable and accomplished Secretary of the Board of Education has performed services in the cause of the common schools which will earn him the lasting gratitude of the generation to which he belongs.”—HORACE MANN AND RELIGION IN THE MASSACHUSETTS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Culver, p. 233.
"Long Live the Modern School!"
Francisco Ferrer, progressive freethinker, arrived in Spain in 1901 and began to organize schools along the lines of the modern institutions found elsewhere in Europe. This met with the opposition of church and state, which were practically one and the same. However, the authorities could not prosecute Ferrer on the bold accusation that he was opening progressive schools; they had to find other charges.
When he stated: “It is evident that experiments in psychology and physiology must lead to important changes of education; that teachers, being better able to understand the child, will know better how to adopt their instruction to natural laws," that was too much. He was imprisoned for one year on an alleged charge of bomb-throwing.
Upon his release he refused to desist teaching such “heresies," and soon found himself falsely accused of leading an uprising. The trial was a travesty on justice, but Ferrer was sentenced to be shot in Montjuich fortress on October 13, 1909.
His last words when executed were: “Long live the modern school!”_LIBERTY AND GREAT LIBERTARIANS, Sprading, p. 487.
"This Is Democracy!"
When Andrew Jackson took his oath of office as President, most of Washington society fled the inauguration day onslaught of Jackson followers that swarmed into the capitol. But Daniel Webster, the great orator, and Francis Scott Key, author of The Star Spangled Banner, two "aristocrats," stayed "to see the show.”
As Webster stood with Key, watching the enthusiastic crowd of trappers and pioneers tramp around the White House with their muddy boots, he asked the famous song writer what he made of it.
"A magnificent sight!” exclaimed Francis Scott Key. “Sublime ! This is Democracy! For the first time our flag is flying over the land of the free !"-LET FREEDOM RING!, Calhoun, p. 209.
Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, English leader of the Women's Social and Political Union and advocate for woman's suffrage, criticized the existing government in England and was tried for conspiracy. Speaking from the dock of Old Bailey in 1912 she said:
“There have been over a thousand imprisonments of women already. My Lord, if you send us (suffragists) to prison, we shall go to prison with a firm and steadfast faith that our imprisonment, whether it be long or whether it be short, will be accepted as part of the great price that has to be exacted for the civic and legal liberty of women, which is the safeguard of the moral and spiritual liberty of the women of our country and of our race.”—ENGLAND'S VOICE OF FREEDOM, Nevinson, p. 286.
For Minority Representation In the New York elections of 1919 five Socialists were elected to the State assembly. When they came before the legislature on January 7, 1920, to be sworn in, that body refused to allow them to take their seats.
Alfred E. Smith, the Governor, protested the action of the governing body in these words: “Although I am unalterably opposed to the fundamental principles of the Socialist Party, it is inconceivable that a minority party, duly constituted and legally organized, should be deprived of its right to expression so long as it has honestly by lawful methods of education and propaganda, succeeded in securing representation, unless the chosen representatives are unfit as individuals.”—OUR TIMES, Sullivan, p. 172.
"You Have Saved Us All Today!" Their petition avowing the Declaration of Indulgence of 1687 illegal, and its reading impossible, landed the Seven Bishops in prison to await trial. The original intention was to try them for treason, but upon the advice of Jeffreys, James II chose that they be tried for the lesser offense of libel.
The defense argued that the paper which they had presented was not false, malicious, and libelous, but was a respectful petition setting forth facts which were true. An excited England awaited the outcome of the trial. After a night of deliberation the jury brought in a verdict of "Not Guilty."
The bishops were released aptid the cries of the multitudes who shouted: "You have saved us all.today!”—HISTORY OF ENGLAND AND GREATER BRITAIN, Cross, P.::294.
Alier and Sedition Laws
Jedediah Peck was.only a poor, uneducated preacher who lived in up-State New Yorké. But he was shrewd, and he had great natural ability and intellectual power.
Upon the passage of the Alien and Sedition Laws during the administration.of John Adams, Peck became a crusader and circulator of petitioris calling for their repeal. For this he was indicted and taken to New York in irons.
His arrest served to fasten attention upon him, and gain converts to the cause of Jefferson. Indeed, the overthrow of the Federalist Party in New York State, and the election of Jefferson to the presidency, is attributed in no small part to Peck. The excitement and indignation aroused by the spectacle of this frail man being transported through the State in the custody of Federal officials, and manacled, helped turn New York's vote, which proved to be deciding, to the Democrats.
Upon his election Jefferson pardoned Peck and all the other victims of the Alien and Sedition Laws, saying: “I consider that law to be a nullity, as absolute and as palpable as if Congress had ordered us to fall down and worship the golden image.”—THE STORY OF COOPERSTOWN, Birdsall, p. 86.
He Wore Down His Opponents
When John Quincy Adams came to the House of Representatives after having held the office of President, he found that a "gag” rule was in effect in that “democratic” stronghold. This rule was aimed expressly at keeping out petitions which asked for the abolition of slavery. But it angered the sense of justice which was so dear to Adams' heart. After all, the Constitution of the United States guaranteed the right of petition.
Beginning in 1831, Adams presented petitions which he said were signed by persons professing to be slaves. This aroused a furor by the men from the slave States. They even threatened to expel Adams from the House, but he persisted in presenting the petitions.
Year after year, in this way, he moved to rescind the gag rule. In one case a petition which he said was signed by 22 slaves so enraged the Southerners that it was not considered beyond the reading of the