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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1549
AUTHOR: Daniel Webster (1782–1852)
QUOTATION: The freest government, if it could exist, would not be long acceptable, if the tendency of the laws were to create a rapid accumulation of property in few hands, and to render the great mass of the population dependent and penniless. In such a case, the popular power would be likely to break in upon the rights of property, or else the influence of property to limit and control the exercise of popular power. Universal suffrage, for example, could not long exist in a community where there was great inequality of property…. In the nature of things, those who have not property, and see their neighbors possess much more than they think them to need, cannot be favorable to laws made for the protection of property. When this class becomes numerous, it grows clamorous. It looks on property as its prey and plunder, and is naturally ready, at all times, for violence and revolution.
ATTRIBUTION: DANIEL WEBSTER, “First Settlement of New England,” speech delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, December 22, 1820, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.—The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster, vol. 1, p. 214 (1903).

Webster served in Congress as a representative from New Hampshire, 1813–1817, and from Massachusetts, 1823–1827, and as a senator from Massachusetts, 1827–1841 and 1845–1850.
SUBJECTS: Property