Occupy Charlotte, circa 1840s

Does this sound familiar?

The most odious feature in this system is that it robs the MANY, imperceptibly, to enrich the FEW;–It clothes a few wealthy individuals with power not only to control the wages of the laboring man, but also at their pleasure to inflate or depress the commerce and business of the whole country–exciting a spirit of extravagance, which it terminates in pecuniary ruin and too often the moral degradation of its victims. This system must be thoroughly reformed, before we can hope to see settled prosperity smile alike upon all our citizens.

It’s not from a modern Occupy movement or from some 1960s radical group, but from the first issue of the Mecklenburg Jeffersonian, published in Charlotte in 1841. Issues of the Jeffersonian from the 1840s are now online as part of the North Carolina Newspapers collection on DigitalNC.org.

The Jeffersonian was a Democratic paper, printing long excerpts of speeches from prominent politicians such as James K. Polk and John Calhoun, but also including the usual fascinating array of advertisements and announcements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *