Letter to the Editor
Mr. Don Landi had a very interesting column on February 25. I share his concern with taxes, but I have a different position than he does on having public schools, paid for by taxes.
The late Thaddeus Stevens(1792-1868), almost two centuries ago, was a supporter of this same cause as I, free public education K-12. Stevens was then state representative and later a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania. The following is from his Free Schools Act speech to the Pennsylvania legislature on April 11, 1835:
“Many complain of the school tax, not so much on account of its amount, as because it is for the benefit of others and not themselves. ... Why do they not urge the same objection against all other taxes? The industrious, thrifty, rich farmer pays a heavy county tax to support criminal courts, build jails, and pay the sheriffs and jailkeepers, and yet probably he never has had any direct personal use for either. ... He cheerfully pays the tax which is necessary to support and punish convicts, but loudly complains of that which goes to prevent his fellow being from becoming a criminal, and to obviate the necessity of those humiliating institutions.”
This speech, in my opinion, is brilliant in it support for public education. I have only quoted a small part of his eloquence.
Google with these four words, and you’ll see much more:
thaddeus stevens speech 1835