WSJ: Notable + Quotable -- 1876 Speech By Civil War Veteran Robert Ingersole

I will now give you my ideas about finance. In the first place the Government does not support the people, the people support the Government.

The Government is a perpetual pauper. It passes round the hat, and solicits contributions; but then you must remember that the Government has a musket behind the hat. The Government produces nothing. It does not plow the land, it does not sow corn, it does not grow trees. The Government is a perpetual consumer.

We support the Government. Now, the idea that the Government can make money for you and me to live on -- why, it is the same as though my hired man should issue certificates of my indebtedness to him for me to live on.