Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
down before the grandstand for years like some blooded stalljon with a blue
ribbon on him and a wreath of laurel around his neck. He was a "leading"
business man, a great money-maker.
But what and whom are all these "leading" business men leading?
And where? - '
Making money isn't leadership of anything worth while. There never
was a business man in the world's history who will live so long in the af
fections of the people of all ages as Robin Hood; and Robin Hood robbed
the rich and gave to the poor. If Robin had been a banker or business man
we never would have heard of him; and nobody would have wasted time
No, our "successful" business men are not our leading citizens. They
don't lead, and are too ignorant to follow. And when you find one who is
a leader it is not because he is rich, but because he has the qualities of
leadership as a MAN, in SPITE OF rather than BECAUSE of his wealth.
All this fawning of the many on the "successful" few is sickening. For
one man to kneel to another because of his wealth is degenerating in its
influence on both of them.
I remember a reporter who started in with me as office boy. He
- orked his way along until he "had what was called the business beat. He
.isited the big bankers and business men of the town daily in his hunt for
Knowing the ordinary mental attitude of reporters nd nearly every
body else toward very rich men, I called him into my office one day and said
"You are only a $20 a week reporter and some of the men you see
daily are millionaires. They are supposed to be' our leading citizens. You
are naturally in awe of them without knowing why. I want to get that out
of your head. The plain truth is that you, a reporter, are a bigger man
-than any bank or railroad president in town; for you represent this news
paper, this newspaper represents the people of the town and they are the
"biggest thing by all odds in this town. So I don't want you taking off your
hat to any of them. I don't want you to approach any man with that men
tal attitude. Go to him as a bigger man than he is, as a representative of
the people. Don't ask for a handout. If he has information the people
ought to.have, take it away from him. You will find that all this leading
and prominent stuff is bunk. Don't let 'em get away with it."
That boy had sense enough to see the point and to make use of it, He
became the best man the business beat had ever known, and the most
popular with bankers, manufacturers and business men.
But he happened to be working on a newsper that didn't grant ad
vertisers special privileges, for I had made that plain to them myself. I
told the advertisers that if they didn't make money advertising in my paper
they were darned fool business men for spending their money in it; and
that if they did make money advertising in my paper then I didn't owe them
anything outside of the column rules that surrounded the advertising space
they paid f pr.
That newspaper today has a much larger circulation for the popula
tion served than any newspaper in Chicago; and it got that circulation by
fighting for the public instead of for advertisers.
1 know that business men are in awe of the banker, because the banker
controls the use of money. But I also know that it is the people's money
tie banker controls the use of. He advertises, gets the people to deposit
their savings in his bank at a low interest anck then lends the people's
StoiaiiatftiMW-vngthtori rib 'fa,ifgirt-nMtiiir.--waiirtUtf Vitti WrtTiiftifi