A Government of Wall Street, for Wall Street, by Wall Street

Creator: Mary Elizabeth Lease, suffrage advocate, populist, author, and orator

Context: Long before the Occupy Wall Street movement the metonymic location of the stock market has been treated with hostility. In 1891 the political activist Mary Elizabeth Lease delivered a speech containing words reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address which she transformed into a condemnation of financial power: 1

Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, for the people, by the people, but a government of Wall Street, for Wall Street, by Wall Street. The great common people of the country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. The west and south are bound and prostrate before the manufacturing east. Money rules and our vice-president is a London banker.


  1. 1891 March 31, State Journal (The Topeka State Journal), Her Strange Power, Quote Page 5, Column 2, Topeka, Kansas. (“street” was not capitalized in the original text)(Newspapers_com)