[Ads-l] "Hire One Half of the Working Class"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 30 04:52:17 EDT 2017


Back in May 2017 Fred asked about the quotation in the subject line,
and I replied. Now, the results of my exploration are available on the
QI website here:

I Can Hire Half the Working Class To Fight the Other Half
https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/10/29/hire-half/

The following acknowledgement was included: "Great thanks to Jeff
Ewener and Fred Shapiro whose inquiries led QI to formulate this
question and perform this exploration."

Feedback welcome
Garson O'Toole


On Sun, May 7, 2017 at 10:21 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Regarding the evolution of the remark: By 1897 a version with "people"
> instead of "farmers" was circulating.
>
> Date: May 21, 1897
> Newspaper: Kansas Agitator
> Newspaper Location: Garnett, Kansas
> Article: Plenty of Men for the Army
> Quote Page 1, Column 1
> Database: Newspapers.com
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> The above item is easily explained. With so many men out of
> employment, it is an easy matter for Uncle Sam to get all the soldiers
> he wants. True, these men receive but a pittance as soldiers, but they
> prefer that to starvation. It is thus that the Goulds and their ilk
> are enabled to hire one-half of the people to kill the other half.
> [End excerpt]
>
> By 1939 a version with "working class" was circulating. It was spoken
> by George Moorad who was the city editor of the "Santa Cruz Sentinel"
> during a talk about the history of propaganda.
>
> Date: October 19, 1939
> Newspaper: Santa Cruz Sentinel
> Newspaper Location: Santa Cruz, California
> Article: Propaganda Methods Told In Talk To 20-30 Clubbers
> Quote Page 5, Column 2 and 3
> Database: Newspapers.com
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> "When Jay Gould said, many years ago, that he could hire one half of
> the working class to kill the other half, he undoubtedly was boasting
> of the power of propaganda as opposed to mass thinking."
> [End excerpt]
>
> All the citations are in newspapers.com because I only performed a
> restricted search.
>
> Garson
>
>
> On Sun, May 7, 2017 at 9:40 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Fred Shapiro wrote:
>>> The quotation "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the
>>> other half" is usually attributed to Jay Gould.  Can anyone help
>>> me to trace documented and dated occurrences of this, attributed
>>> to Gould or not attributed to Gould, as far back as possible?
>>
>> A request to investigate this statement was sent to me in December
>> 2016. The earliest instances I located in 1891 referred to "farmers"
>> instead of the "working class". The statement evolved over time. Gould
>> died in December 1892.
>>
>> I haven't posted on the QI website yet and would welcome earlier
>> citations or other interesting evidence. As always, please
>> double-check this information.
>>
>> Date: October 28, 1891
>> Newspaper: The Advocate
>> Newspaper Location: Meriden, Kansas
>> Article: Letter from John Livingston
>> Quote Page 1, Column 3
>> Database: Newspapers.com
>>
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> The truth of Jay Gould's assertion that he "could buy the vote of a
>> farmer member of the legislature for the price of a bull calf, about
>> seven dollars and a half," was clearly disproved at Topeka last
>> January, where not a single People's party member of the Kansas House
>> could be bought at any price.
>>
>> It is my prayer to God that all farmers and other toilers will now
>> unite in one solid phalanx, so that the other characteristic remark of
>> the same gentleman, that he "could hire one-half the farmers to shoot
>> the other half to death," shall also show him to have overestimated
>> the power of his money, supplemented though it may be by Satanic
>> cunning,
>>
>> John Livingston,
>> President New York State Farmers' Alliance.
>> Campville, Tioga Co., N.Y., Oct 21, 1891.
>> [End excerpt]
>>
>>
>> Date: November 17, 1891
>> Newspaper: Kansas Agitator
>> Newspaper Location: Garnett, Kansas
>> Article: Untitled article
>> Quote Page 4, Column 3
>> Database: Newspapers.com
>>
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> JAY GOULD says he "can buy the vote of a farmer member of the
>> legislature for the price of a bull calf." Again he says, "I can hire
>> one-half the farmers of the United States to shoot the other half to
>> death."
>> [End excerpt]
>>
>> Garson
>>
>> On Sun, May 7, 2017 at 8:59 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
>>> The quotation "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half" is usually attributed to Jay Gould.  Can anyone help me to trace documented and dated occurrences of this, attributed to Gould or not attributed to Gould, as far back as possible?
>>>
>>>
>>> Fred Shapiro
>>>
>>>
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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