"The Forgotten Man"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: When President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on April 7, 1932, called for plans "that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid," and when Edwin Markham hailed Roosevelt as one who "cries to the world as from a lighted tower–cries for the man forgotten," they were both using the phrase in a sense very different from that intended by its originator. Sumner, an economist and sociologist at Yale, was a foe of socialism and of governmental interference in private affairs; in a word, of most of what modern Liberals champion. Sumner's "Forgotten Man" is the hard-working, quiet laborer who ultimately pays the bills for all government doles to the lazy and incompetent who subsist on relief checks. Sumner's definition is as follows:

. . . I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man. Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who never is thought of. He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and philanthropist, and I hope to show you before I get through that he deserves your notice both for his character and for the many burdens which are laid upon him.