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Memories of 'Old Hickory'

December 29, 1985

"America Could Use Lesson in Responsibility" (Viewpoints, Dec. 15) touches on a subject that is not new in our country's history.

In the early 1800s, President Andrew Jackson, following his Populist leanings, tried his best to keep the then small bodies of American corporations from becoming too corpulent for their own britches.

His crusade was inspired by an economic theorist of the times, William M. Gouge, who labeled companies "artificial creatures." His most quoted aphorism was: "Corporations have neither bodies to be kicked, nor souls to be damned."

Hewing to this line, "Old Hickory" and his followers believed that an unrestrained corporate economy would inevitably lead to an undemocratic society.

Andy, where are you now that we need you?

ED MITCHELL

Los Angeles

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