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orleans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-03-05 10:22 PM
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Is this quote accurate?
i'm watching the movie 1776 (over and over) and john dickinson of pennsylvania says in a song "Most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor."

the line after that goes: "And that is why they will follow us to the right. Ever to the right. Never to the left. Forever to the right.

(it is so telling about how the red states vote)

this is the song--cool considerate men-- from the movie that nixon wanted his buddy jack warner to cut--which he did.

i'm googling but the only sites i can find it on are movie sites for the film.

did john dickinson really say that? can someone find a link for me or do you know?
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-03-05 10:40 PM
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1. "Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all!
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall."

This is the quotation most often mentioned when I google John Dickinson quotes. I have a feeling it was script writing, and not a true quote.

Here's an interesting paragraph from an article on the internet:

"Historians have labeled John Dickinson cautious and conservative. Cautious he was, in part too bound by his great dependence on lessons gained from both English and world history. To certain aspects of history he seemed blind, perhaps as a result of a temperamental revulsion to mass violence. His caution alone caused him to called conservative. But his devotion to the rule of law and to the principles of liberty linked him to the radicals in the early days of the Revolution. Dickinson never changed his principles. A man of great moral courage, he refused to bow to popular clamor and support independence. A conservative stance which seeks to withstand the ongoing currents of a dynamic world cannot, inherently, be a popular one. It tends to obstruct and frustrate. Thus the defender earns calumny from the impatient. Such was the case with Dickinson in Pennsylvania at the time of independence, a fate reversed, however, once his moderation again proved desirable. His life thus is not that of the more familiar Founding Fathers, but of a man no less devoted to his country and important in its history."

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cloudythescribbler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-03-05 10:41 PM
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2. highly unlikely as it is anachronistic
The terms "right" and "left" grew out of the French Revolution, based upon where people were sitting in the Assembly (reflecting their politics). Since the French Revolution didn't occur until 1789, it would be odd for Dickinson to be talking that way before then. And the term didn't suddenly become universal political jargon in 1789, it merely originated there.

And I don't think the Chevy Blazer is quite on the level either.
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BillZBubb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-03-05 10:43 PM
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3. Sounds bogus to me.
I believe the concept of liberal/left, conservative/right was created during the French Revolution which began in 1787. Seems too late for Dickinson to have used it in 1776 or even in the Constitutional Convention ten years later.
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Mabus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-04-05 01:12 AM
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4. I found this similar quote attributed to Dickinson
Found at

Best explained by John Dickinson at the Constitutional Convention: "Don't forget that most men would rather maintain the fantasy of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor".

I found the same quote at

For the most part I think these quotes were lifted from the movie.

And maybe this is farfetched (not having seen the movie) but I noticed in the lyrics that the first time that the refrain "to the right" is preceeded by a mention of the minuet (We'll dance together to the same minuet/To the right, ever to the right). It's been a long time but as I recall that when you dance a minuet you start with the weight on the left foot and the first movement is to the right. (Lyrics from )

Decided to look and found this:

This is a dance, not a step, and there are a number of different step sequences used as a basic menuet step. Menuets get two bars in triple time, so there are 6 beats in a menuet sequence. Menuets always start on the right, for both genders. The most common sequence, known as the French minuet step, or the minuet of two movements, is a demi coupee followed by a pas de bouree, as follows:
1=step right eleve, 2 = plie right equilibrium, 3 = step left elevee,
4=step right (still elevee), 5 = step left (still eleve), 6 = plie left equilibrium


The normal minuet as done in a social setting followed a pattern, but was slightly variable, the man deciding how the dance was to be done. It would start with an intro, then have some number of Z figures (where the partners would change sides), then there would be a right-hand turn, a left-hand turn, more Z figures, and then the couple would get to take both hands.
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orleans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-04-05 02:31 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. they do dance the minuet and also--from the looks of it
the southern colonies were seated to the right side of the room as you faced the john hancock who served as president of the congress.

i've been trying to track down that dickinson phrase and whew! i'm thinking it may have been made up.

maybe i'll listen to the commentary on the dvd again and see what they say
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