Mary Elizabeth Lease, 1890:
Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street.
Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The politicians said we suffered from overproduction. Overproduction, when 10,000 little children starve to death every year in the U.S. and over 100,000 shop girls in New York are forced to sell their virtue for bread.
There are thirty men in the United States whose aggregate wealth is over one and one-half billion dollars. There are half a million looking for work.
We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the accursed foreclosure system wiped out. We will stand by our homes and stay by our firesides, by force if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the Government pays its debts to us.
The people are at bay, let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged us thus far beware.