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William Leggett

William Leggett

“‘DO NOT GOVERN TOO MUCH,’ is a maxim which should be placed in large letters over the speaker’s chair in all legislative bodies. The old proverb, ‘too much of a good thing is good for nothing,’ is most especially applicable to the present time, when it would appear, from the course of our legislation, that common sense, common experience, and the instinct of self-preservation, are utterly insufficient for the ordinary purposes of life; that the people of the United States are not only incapable of self-government, but of taking cognizance of their individual affairs; that industry requires protection, enterprize bounties, and that no man can possibly find his way in broad day light without being tied to the apron-string of a legislative dry-nurse. The present system of our legislation seems founded on the total incapacity of mankind to take care of themselves or to exist without legislative enactment.”

William Leggett, in an editorial in the Evening Post, March 11, 1835 (republished in A Collection of the Political Writings of William Leggett (1840), and titled “The Legislation of Congress”).

By: Redactor

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