Extract from the Report of Woodrow Wilson’s Keynote Address at the National Democratic Club’s “Jefferson Day Dinner”

Gov. Wilson of New Jersey, speaking to the toast, “What Would Jefferson Do?” ... declared that had Jefferson lived to-day he would, with clear-sightedness, have acted on the facts as they actually are ... Monopoly, private control, the authority of privilege, the concealed mastery of a few men cunning enouth to rule without showing their power ... He would have moved against them, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, sometimes openly, sometimes subtly; but whether he merely mined about them, or struck directly at them, he would have set systematic war against them at the front of all his purpose.

As regards the economic policy of the country it is perfectly plain that Mr. Jefferson would have insisted upon a tariff fitted to actual conditions, by which he would have meant not the interests of the few men who find access to the hearings of the Ways and Means Committee of the House and the Finance Committee of the Senate, but the interests of the business men and manufacturers and farmers and workers and professional men of every kind and class ... He would have known that the currency question is not only an economic question but a political question, and that, above all things else, control must be in the hands of those who represent the general interest and not in the hands of those who represent the things we are seeking to guard against.

In the general field of business his thought would, of course, have gone about to establish freedom, to throw business opportunities open at every point to new men, to destroy the processes of monopoly, to exclude the poison of special favors, to see that, whether big or little, business was not dominated by anything but the law itself.

Published in the New York World, 14 Apr. 1912; Arthur S. Link, and others, eds., Papers of Woodrow Wilson (Princeton, New Jersey, 1977), 24:330–2.
Author
Woodrow Wilson
Date Range
Date
April 14, 1912
Collection
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson
Repository
New York World, 14 Apr. 1912