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- 1915 November 20 (Creation)
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R.F. Pettigrew discusses with H.L. Loucks his disagreement with Richard O. Richards and his most recent proposition of an income tax. Pettigrew mentions that he would join Richard O. Richards if he organized an independent movement that was not reliant on any of the current political parties. Pettigrew expresses his aspiration to build up either a progressive or people's party that supported the workers.
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R. F. Pettigrew
Sioux Falls, SD
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, November 20, 1915.
H. L. Loucks,
Watertown, S. D.
My Dear Friend: -
Your letters of November 12th and 5th, duly received.
Someone sent me Burkholder’s article on Richards from Huron and I have read it. I have never agreed with Richards, in fact had an argument with him about his taxations, he proposes to make the laborers who earn a dollar or two a day pay an income tax on their gross earnings, and of course no one can follow him on such a proposition as that, and when I tried to tell him that the single tax was the thing, he flew off the handle entirely and said it dignified labor to make them pay taxes on their wages.
I shall go with Richards if he organizes an entirely independent movement, but I cant have nothing to do with the Republican primaries, although they are just as good as the democrats. I am opposed to his primary law because I think it is a scheme to perpetuate party government, and the machine can capture the party government just as easily as they can capture the government. They can adopt themselves to any primary. The fact of the matter is that Richards is off, on an inconsequential program. I shall probably vote for his primary law as a rebuke to the miserable gang that are running the state government. But of course it would be impossible for anybody who think at all to follow Richards, besides he will not consult on any subject with anybody. How therefore can anyone work with him, and yet I want to because he is honest and capable.
Your lecture at the union service of the Christian Endeavor Society is a very interesting document, and I have read it with much care. But how could you expect a lot of preachers who are giving their entire attention to see how they can keep out of hell from bothering their heads with trying to escape hell here on earth. Hell hereafter is what they are afraid of.
I note your remark that if we could get rid of Roosevelt, we could build up a progressive party. I am of the impression that the only party worth building up is a peoples party composed of those who do the work and produce the wealth of a nation excluding from it all the exploiters of labor and that the campaign ought to be for the public ownership of the land and all utilities and that the method of acquiring all these things should be by appropriating them to the use of the public without compensating their present owners. These things were not produced by their present owners, they were produced by the population in the aggregate and were taken from those who produced them by the cunning and the strong through their control of these same utilities and their control of the government. A political party of this sort would be worth joining but a political party like the progressive party which tries to correct some of the most flagrant abuses and perpetuate the existing system which is in the aggregate immoral and wrong, is in my opinion not worth while.
I suppose I shall be in Sioux Falls until after the first of January.
R. F. Pettigrew