Sherman speaks from the grave: ‘The best prophet of the future is the past’


A discussion relevent to today’s economic mess?

johnshermanI approach the discussion of this bill and the kindred bills and amendments pending in the two Houses with unaffected diffidence. No problem is submitted to us of equal importance and difficulty. Our action will affect the value of all the property of the people of the United States, and the wages of labor of every kind, and our trade and commerce with all the world. In the consieration of such a question we should not be controlled by previous opinions or bound by local interests, but with the lights of experience and full knowledge of all the complicated facts involved, give to the subject the best judgment which imperfect human nature allows. With the wide diversity of opinion that prevails, each of us must make concessions in order to secure a measure as will accomplish the objects sought for without impairing the public credit or the general interests of our people. This is no time for visionary theories of political economy. We must deal with facts as we find them and not as we wish them. We must aim at results based upon practical experience, for what has been will probably be. The best prophet of the future is the past.

– U.S Sen. John Sherman (R-Ohio), on silver coinage and treasury notes, June 5, 1890.


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