Spurred on by the laughter I went up the four steps to the platform and walked over to the Mayor who was Chairman:
"May I speak?" I asked:
"Sure", he replied "your name?"
"My name is Harris" I answered and the Mayor manifestly regarding me as a great joke announced that a Mr. Harris wished to address the meeting and he hoped the audience would give him a fair hearing even if his doctrines happened to be peculiar. As I faced them, the spectators shrieked with laughter: the house fairly rocked. I waited a full minute and then began: "How like Americans and Democrats", I said, "to judge a man by the clothes he wears and the amount of hair he has on his face or the dollars in his jeans."
There was instantaneous silence, the silence of surprise at least, and I went on to show what I had learned from Mill that open competition was the law of life, another name for the struggle for existence; that each country should concentrate its energies on producing the things it was best fitted to produce and trade these off against the products of other nations; this was the great economic law, the law of the territorial division of labor.
"Americans should produce corn and wheat and meat for the world", I said, and exchange these products for the cheapest English woolen goods and French silks and Irish linen. This would enrich the American farmer, develop all the waste American land and be a thousand times better for the whole country than taxing all consumers with high import duties to enrich a few Eastern manufacturers who were too inefficient to face the open competition of Europe. "The American farmers," I went on, "should organize with the laborers, for their interests are