The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in America were times
of great economic expansion and inequality, opportunity and abuse, times of
American power and of world war. Early
scientific doctrines of evolution were being used to gain understanding of the
human species and social life, and the result was a profound challenge to
traditional religion. Does
religion render a person less fit for the rigors of competition, or does real
religion empower a person to deal in a progressive way with those very
challenges? As that debate went
on, America was a center of a dynamic, religiously motivated golden rule
movement, affecting society, politics, economics, business, and interfaith
relations. Many enthusiastic
individuals chose the rule as their motto; a popular literature on the rule
arose; many a store was called "Golden Rule Store"; it was the
custom to bestow on exemplars of the rule the nickname, "Golden
Rule." Authors expounding
the maxims for the exercise of a given craft would dub their principles
"golden rules," and many books carried titles such as Golden
Rules of Surgery. A Golden
Rule Brotherhood was formed with the intention of unifying all the religions
and peoples of the world. During
this period the golden rule came to symbolize a
wholehearted devotion to the service of humankind.
This movement, which spread beyond the boundaries of Christianity, held
the conviction that all men and women are brothers and sisters in the family
of God, and they formulated the essentials of religion in the gospel of the
Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
The phrase "brotherhood of man" was used to include, not
exclude women. Since the struggle
to synthesize religious idealism with scientific realism had become especially
urgent, the golden rule became caught up in the debate.[i]
Does living by the rule render the individual needlessly vulnerable to
rugged, evolutionary competition and conflict, or is the rule itself a vehicle
of evolutionary progress?
There had been a growing sense that each individual is akin to every
other human being. The fabric of humanity had been torn by religious wars
between Christians and Muslims during the middle ages and between Protestants
and Catholics during the early modern period.
Europeans disgusted with the slaughter turned toward tolerance,
especially since it was clear that professing a religion was no guarantee of
morality and that some atheists lived highly moral lives.
In the eighteenth century, Hume had proclaimed that every person has a
spark of benevolent sentiment toward humanity, and Kant and others attempted
to distill universally acceptable basics of religion and morality.
In the nineteenth century, at all levels of culture, religious and
secular humanitarianism flourished. Beethoven's
Ninth Symphony used Schiller's Ode to Joy: "Joy, beautiful
divine spark, . . . your magic binds together what convention had strictly
divided; all men become brothers where your gentle wing rests."
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) abandoned the life of a Russian nobleman and
the privileges of literary success for the simple life of a peasant.
He defined art in terms of its capacity to arouse the feeling of the
Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.[ii]
His radical application of the Sermon on the Mount and his critique of
luxury and oppression stimulated the idealism of many others throughout the
Among German theologians, Albrecht Ritschl (1822-1889) drew on Kant for
a conception of the kingdom of heaven as the organization of humanity through
moral action inspired by love[iii]; Ritschl's influential
student Adolf Harnack (1851-1930) used historical study with the aim of
separating the kernel of original Christianity from the husk of associated
Greek philosophic dogma. Painstaking
scholarship enabled Harnack boldly to read between the lines of the New
Testament text and to discover afresh Jesus' persistent tendency to speak of
religion in terms of family life. He
presented the teachings of Jesus as, in sum, the Fatherhood of God, the
brotherhood of man, and the infinite value of the individual soul.
With this conception of religion, the golden rule would find new
meaning and historical vitality.[iv]
In interreligious relations, the new conception of religion reached an
historic high-water mark at the World's Parliament of Religions, organized in
Chicago in 1893 by Presbyterian minister Dr. John Henry Barrows in conjunction
with the Columbian Exposition. It
is not surprising that the most frequently mentioned principle of morality at
the Parliament was the golden rule.[v]
Praise for the rule came from representatives of Confucianism, Judaism,
The golden rule was perhaps the most widely shared commitment among all
the religions; and it came to symbolize the participants' commitment to live
the warm brotherly and sisterly unity that most of them had experienced
together during their days of the Parliament.
It is remarkable how many functions are performed by the combined
concepts of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
The teaching implies the unity and personality of God.
The concept of God as parent preserves the thought that God transcends
the believer yet suggests that God is close, that we may experience the divine
presence. The sequence of
components in the slogan implies the primacy of the relationship of the
individual with God. The phrasing
excludes no religion, yet connotes the special emphasis given in Jewish and
Christian thought. "The
brotherhood of man" is the social consequence of the individual's
relationship with the Creator. Talk
of brotherhood addresses the special challenges of modernity, to dissolve the
forces that tear the fabric of humankind: religious intolerance, nationalism,
racism, sexism, economic and political injustice, and so on.
And "the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man" sets
forth those components of religion with the universal logic of family life.
The emerging movement of the golden rule was nourished by a romantic
and democratic mood. Despite its
capacity for purely nationalistic applications, the new mood did exalt the
common man and the worthy sentiments of the human heart.
Nineteenth-century America showed widespread tendencies toward belief
in equality, an impatience with traditional social authority and with
confining rules and regulations, confidence about the place of man within a
vast universe, optimism about the human capacity for moral growth, a distaste
for sophisticated theories, and a readiness of Everyman to be his own
Appropriately, the golden-rule champions of this era do not come from
the ranks of philosophers and theologians; they are ministers, politicians,
The golden rule in doctrines of
social evolution: Herbert Spencer
The golden-rule ethic of brotherhood had to compete with a concept of
evolution that was coming to occupy the center stage of scientific thinking,
not only in biology, but also in economics and sociology.
Proponents of the rule contrasted it with "the rule of gold,"
and loyalty to the golden rule implied a protest against the doctrine that
social progress comes mainly through ruthless competition in the struggle for
survival. Nevertheless, insofar
as evolution was understood to involve the gradual mastery of competitive
forces by moral motives, the golden rule could be regarded as a symbol of the
social order that would one day prevail.
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was the leading theorist of Social
Darwinism, which applied an evolutionary biological model to society and
history. Almost entirely
self-educated, Spencer was the most influential writer in English in the late
nineteenth century. He is best
known for the doctrine that government should permit business competition to
weed out inferior companies; the "survival of the fittest" will
result in long-term benefit for all. Spencer
also wanted the poor and the sick to be weeded out.
Spencer's vision of evolving civilization provided for the simultaneous
growth and eventual harmonization of egoism and altruism (defined as "all
action which, in the normal course of things, benefits others instead of
Egoism functions as a competitive principle for a being that needs to
live if it is to do anything else at all, and also as a principle of
recreation, a provision for gaining and sustaining a hearty zest (which the
sickly Spencer sorely lacked), resulting in a life "brimming with
energy," on "the rising tide of life," "radiating good
cheer." "The adequately
egoistic individual retains those powers which make altruistic activities
In society, it is of course rational to practice altruism to some
extent. As the need diminishes
for conflict to weed out those incapable of advancing civilization, an
altruistic age would eventuate. The
extremes of altruism and egoism would disappear; a "more qualified
altruism" would balance "a greatly moderated egoism."[x]
Consistent, presumably, with the evolutionary use of the golden rule,
was the rhetoric and practice of John Hay (1838-1905), secretary to President
Abraham Lincoln, and Secretary of State to Presidents McKinley and Theodore
Roosevelt. His aim was to use the
golden rule to moderate the exercise of American diplomatic power, and he
seems to have had some success in his efforts.
A rhetorician and statesman in the tradition of the Greek sophist
Isocrates, he once summed up his approach to foreign policy in two phrases:
the Monroe Doctrine and the golden rule.[xi]
The increasing brutality of economic power in the late nineteenth
century and the inroads against religion made by positivists and agnostics led
to various religious responses.[xii]
One author predicted a moral interregnum--a time of moral chaos
intervening between the fall of the morality of one age and the rise of a
different social order.[xiii]
One response to the intolerable aspects of the times was to minimize
one's involvement with the cultural changes of the times, either through
defensiveness or by adhering to the older ways that continued to suffice in
rural settings. Another response
was the development of "social Christianity" in the form of
increased involvement in various projects of charity, or in agitation either
for reform aimed at the evils of urban life, or else for radical socialist
reconstruction. The preaching of
the social gospel of Washington Gladden (1836-1918), Lyman Abbot (1835-1922),
George Herron (1862-1925), J. E. Scott (1836-1917), Walter Rauschenbusch
(1860-1918), and others aimed to make explicit the social, economic, and
political implications of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
Opinions varied, of course, regarding what sort of economic change the
Some regarded state socialism as the obvious requirement of the rule,
but most dissented from the doctrines of Karl Marx, since they neither
accepted class conflict nor revolutionary methods in pursuing their goals.
The Golden Rule Brotherhood
It is not enough, of course, to have speeches about religious unity and
humane conduct. One must actually
do something. Civilization must
be transformed. On March 26,
1901, a meeting was held in Calvary Baptist Church in New York City to
inaugurate the Golden Rule Brotherhood. The
meeting was held under the auspices of its predecessor organization, the Baron
and Baronness de Hirsch Monument Association, which had been founded by George
E. Bissell, a New York sculptor. Recognizing
philanthropists Baron and Baronness de Hirsch as Jewish examples of the best
Christian virtues, Bissell proposed to construct a symbol of the golden rule,
dedicated to them, in Central Park, "where a commanding site has been
assigned to it."[xv]
The first project of the new Golden Rule Brotherhood would be to
complete this monument, but that was only one of their goals.
They envisioned the time was ripe for their organization to bring about
the ecumenical unification of Christianity, harmony between Judaism and
Christianity, and eventually the unity of humankind.
Some organizations languish, it appears, for lack of powerful
connections. The Monument
Association was not one of these. Its
president was a former Postmaster-General of the United States.
Vice-Presidents of the Association included former U.S. president
Grover Cleveland and the president of Columbia University. Directors included Theodore Roosevelt, John Hay, and the
presidents of Harvard, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins Universities.
Alfred Dreyfus, Mark Twain, and Mary Baker Eddy had written letters of
commendation for the Association. It
was not the sort of Association one could turn down.
The meeting to inaugurate the Brotherhood opened with the reading of
letters from President William McKinley and Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt. One person recalled the story of a United States Senator who
was defeated for re-election for having expressed the opinion that "the
hope of the dominance of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule in American
politics, was an iridescent dream impossible of realization."[xvi]
The narrator of these events, the Secretary of the Golden Rule
Brotherhood, was Theodore F. Seward. At
the World's Parliament of Religions, Seward had gathered twenty-one members
for a new organization, The Brotherhood of Christian Unity, to perpetuate the
spirit of unity of the Parliament and which would "begin the federation
of the new world" upon the basis of "the declaration of love to God
and man under the leadership of Christ."[xvii]
Seward wrote that the inaugural meeting of the Brotherhood "was
felt by all who were present to be one of the most important and significant
occasions that the world has seen."[xviii]
It was an interfaith gathering, with speeches from Jewish, Confucian,
and (mostly) Christian perspectives. One
minister expressed the common feeling: "We have all been on a Holy
Mountain tonight. We have been transfigured as we have each looked upon our
different leaders and teachers, and perceived in them a greater still, the God
of Love, the Universal Father."[xix]
In addition to the monument to be placed in Central Park, the formally
constituted Golden Rule Brotherhood of Man projected a variety of activities,
including instituting Golden Rule Days during the year in churches, synagogues
and schools; working for the humane treatment of animals; and providing a
membership card and a badge--a one inch ruler, marked off in tenths, with
"Golden Rule" written on it.
A map of the statues and monuments in Central Park indicates nothing
that could be a monument to Baron and Baronness de Hirsch. Rather, one discovers the story of the energy with which the
management of the Park had to fight off the multitude of
"benevolent" organizations that wanted to contribute their statue or
monument to the Park.[xx]
There is no evidence of the continued function of the Golden Rule
Brotherhood after the adoption of their constitution.
What happened? The
influential supporters of the earlier Monument Association may well have been
embarrassed by the naive ambitions of the successor organization.
In addition, participants fell into the common temptation to attribute
to their slogan the dynamic qualities of the persons who best exemplify it.
During the March 26 inaugural meeting, one minister had claimed,
"This motto will secure the safety and protection of the humblest
The golden rule had become a fetish.
Another clue to the organization's failure comes from Rabbi Joseph
Silverman's remarks during their very inaugural meeting.
He explained that religion had failed for thirty-five centuries to
unite man. Atheism had tried
"on other bases--upon ethics, philosophy, science, art, literature."
But culture emphasizes inequalities.
The work of impassioned reformers led so often to violence.
Failures were based on two false premises: "First, that the
universal brotherhood did not exist, that it had to be created by human
effort; secondly, that the solution of the problem consisted in the formation
of a universal church or ideal social state."[xxii]
The rule applied with charisma and
political power: Samuel Jones
One of those who earned the coveted nickname was Samuel Milton
("Golden Rule") Jones (1846-1904).
Born in Wales, he came to the U.S. at the age of three, and began hard
work from the age of 10. In 1875
he married, and he had three children, one whom died in 1891; his wife died in
1895. Those who most influenced
his thinking were Leo Tolstoy, Walt Whitman, and Congregational minister
George Herron. Brotherhood would
be the leading theme of Jones's life after he discovered Herron's teaching
that the phrase "Our Father" implied that all men are brothers.[xxiii]
Along with Walt Whitman, he wanted the nation to be "a land of
comrades," indeed a family--not on a disciplinarian model but in
"the all-for-one, one-for-all spirit."[xxiv]
Working as an oil well pumper, he invented a superior method of pumping
oil from the wells and, on the basis of his inventions, founded the Acme
Sucker Rod Company in Toledo, Ohio. Touched
and outraged by the pitiable condition of the unemployed begging for work, he
dedicated his own company to the practice of the golden rule.
Those seeking employment were not questioned about their religion,
morals, or habits, and did not have to submit to a physical examination. This action tended to facilitate the complexity of personnel
problems since no effort was made to hire the most reliable or trustworthy
discipline was established on the cooperative principle. . . . With his sister Ellen, he established Golden Rule House, a
community center, and incorporated a free kindergarten.[xxv]
Jones wanted to make factory conditions so "attractive and
beautiful to men as to lead them to live beautiful lives."[xxvi]
He established a Golden Rule Park next to his factory and opened it to
the public. Well-known lecturers
addressed the public there, including Jane Addams of Hull House, Dr. Kellogg
of Battle Creek Michigan, and social gospel preacher Washington Gladden.
Jones was radically committed to an open forum at which all ideas could
be expressed. The platform was
open to agnostics and atheists and radicals of every sort, and the park became
the social and intellectual center of town.
Jones, along with his closest friend, Nelson O. Nelson, aspired to the
radical courage to live the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount according to
the utopian, agrarian model of Tolstoy. Said
Jones, "We must all understand the gospel of DO.
I know well enough how to practice the Golden Rule; the difficulty
comes in my unwillingness to do it entirely, with my half-way doing it."[xxvii]
But he found himself increasingly engaged in business and city
politics. In 1897, "Golden
Rule" Jones was elected mayor of Toledo (chosen to run by the Republicans
after many ballots). He was
re-elected as an independent in 1899, ran for governor and lost, was returned
as mayor again in 1901, and died during his fourth term in office in 1904.
Jones engaged in many hard political fights along his path of reform.
His major issues were "(1) insistence on non-partisanship; (2)
home rule; and (3) the campaign to bring the public utilities and street car
company under strict public control."[xxviii]
He achieved brief national prominence, but like Whitman, he rejected
accepted notions of decency and conformity.
He replaced the policemen's clubs with lighter canes and insisted they
function helpfully, not aggressively; his enforcement of the law was
criticized for laxness.[xxix]
Golden Rule Jones fell far short of bringing his dreams to reality.
In legislative matters . .
. Jones was a failure because of insurmountable political constraints.
His reform measures were deeply hindered by State eminence, powerful
pressure groups, and his own non-partisanship.
Even if such variables had not interfered, Jones might have had
difficulty in implementing his cooperative commonwealth since he had not
previously drawn a clear distinction between free enterprise and public
ownership. Also his limited
knowledge of economics would have caused a breakdown in the transition from a
competitive to a cooperative state.[xxx]
Jones was regarded as the champion among the Christian social reformers of his
day for his personal forcefulness, courageous spontaneity, and for making a
real difference within the tumultuous realm of industry and politics.
religious ethics to business ethics: Arthur Nash
Sociologically considered, two sides of the American golden rule
movement are represented by Arthur Nash (1870-1927) and J. C. Penney
(1875-1971). Each wrote an
autobiography from the perspective of a successful Christian business leader
offering advice concerning the practical, moral, and spiritual principles of
living that had proven themselves through years of personal experience in the
Nash, whose story is recounted here in more detail, participated in the
social drama of urban Christianity during the years surrounding World War I,
and his application of the rule is religiously motivated from the start.
Penney was a traditional, rural and small-town man who followed the
golden rule as a moral principle and achieved success in business without
religious motivation until his evangelical conversion later in life.
Is religion a sphere apart from business activity, or should there not
be continuity between one's religion and the way one conducts one's business?
As a bridge of continuity between religion and business was being built
by those whose primary motivation was religious, it was found that the bridge
could be traversed by others whose primary motivation was economic.
In some cases, the intertwining of religious and business ideas
resulted in an ambiguity that has lent itself to cynical interpretation.
If Jesus could be vividly and powerfully popularly portrayed as the
greatest advertiser and salesman in history in Bruce Barton's 1924 bestseller,
The Man Nobody Knows, business writers could also promote religion as a
tonic that would inspire an individual to conduct relationships in a way that
should conduce to prosperity. Many
unwitting secularists painted a veneer of religious idealism on their
Although Arthur Nash had some tendency to let the rise and fall of his
business affect his confidence in the evident, practical worth of religious
principles, he remains one of the most sincere of the exponents of the golden
rule as the guide to business relationships.
Nash was born in a log cabin in Indiana in 1870, the eldest of nine
children of strict Seventh‑Day Adventist parents.
He refered to his parents as having a "stern, rigid,
uncompromising" faith and "great and sterling character."[xxxii]
He was educated through seminary in Adventist schools and was sent to
Detroit as an instructor in a school for Adventist ministers and missionaries.
His refusal to conform to denominational boundaries led to conflict and
the first of his two breaks with Christianity.[xxxiii]
He returned to Detroit and was touched by the plight of the unemployed
there, and with the help of others was able to open a laundry in which he was
able to provide many jobs for poor people. Church people began to send him
their business, and he met the Christian woman who would be his wife and the
mother of his three children, and who convinced him that his objections to
Christianity were not to the religion of Jesus but to the very lack of it.
Inspired again, he re‑entered the ministry with the Disciples of
Christ. But when in a funeral
service he eulogized a man of considerable character who had no professed
religion, he was asked to resign his ministry.
He then found work to support his family selling clothing--and did very
well at it. In 1909 he moved to
Columbus, Ohio, started manufacturing men's clothing, began to prosper, but
lost nearly everything in the flood of 1913.
He then moved to Cincinnati and was able by 1916 to organize the A.
Nash Company with $60,000 in capital, making suits to the measure of
individual clients. A short while
after the Armistice was concluded, he acquired ownership of the small shop
that had been making his garments under contract.
Then came the breakthrough, the pivot of this narrative.
Nash took over the limping business of a man who had leased floor space
in the building of the A. Nash Company. The
tenant had run a sweat‑shop in the same depressed clothing manufacturing
industry of Cincinnati. When
pay‑roll time for his new employees came around, Nash realized that some
fine and vulnerable people were only earning $4.00 per week.
He had recently become impressed with the kind of world that could
result if people would only practice the golden rule, and he had been giving
speeches to that effect. He
thought of raising wages substantially, but his son, freshly disillusioned
from having participated in the war in Europe, resisted the idea. They had lost $4000 during the previous fiscal year, but Nash
decided he would close up shop rather than exploit people to stay in the
clothing business. The
stock‑holders agreed to close the company, and Nash agreed to make up
their losses, but he decided to pay a living wage until they would go out of
business; he would put whatever capital remained as a down payment on a farm
where he would at least have the satisfaction of honest earnings.
He went in to announce the decision to the small group of workers.
The speech is worth quoting in full:
"Friends, you have heard no doubt that we have bought this shop,
and I have come in to get acquainted with you.
No doubt, too, you have heard a great deal about the talks that I have
been giving during the War about Brotherhood and the Golden Rule, while
pleading the cause of Christianity and its affiliation to my conception of
true Democracy. Now I am going to
do a bit of talking to you. First,
I want you to know that Brotherhood is a reality with me.
You are all my brothers and sisters, children of the same great Father
that I am, and entitled to all the justice and fair treatment that I want for
myself. And so long as we run
this shop [which to me meant three or four months longer], God being my
helper, I am going to treat you as my brothers and sisters, and the Golden
Rule is going to be our only governing law.
Which means, that whatever I would like to have you do to me, were I in
your place, I am going to do to you. Now,"
I went on, "Not knowing any of you personally, I would like you to raise
your hands as I call your names."
I read the first name. Under
it was written: Sewing on buttons‑‑$4.00 per week.
I looked straight before me at the little group, but saw no hand.
Then I looked to my right, and there saw the old lady I have referred
to holding up her trembling hand. At
first I could not speak, because, almost instantly, the face of my own mother
came between that old lady and myself. I
thought of my mother being in such a situation, and of what, in the
circumstances, I would want someone to do for her.
I hardly knew what to say, because I was aware that when I went into
the shop, that after agreeing to stand all of the loss entailed by the
liquidation of the company, I could not go too far in raising wages.
It seemed to be my obvious duty to salvage something for the boys who
were coming home from military service, and for the daughter just entering the
university. But as I looked at
that old lady, and saw only my mother, I finally blurted out: "I don't
know what it's worth to sew on buttons; I never sewed a button on.
But your wages, to begin with, will be $12.00 a week."[xxxiv]
Nash continued through the list, giving equal 300% raises for those
earning the least, and raising the highest wages from $18.00 to $27.00.
It was not a move made out of ecstasy, but in blunt lucidity about what
it would subtract from the money he would have to invest afterward in a farm.
For months thereafter he gave little attention to the clothing
business, but when he needed to see how it was doing financially, he was
surprised: their little business was putting out three times the quantity it
had done the previous year. He then learned that after his little speech the Italian
presser had concluded that if he were the boss and had just spoken like that
to his employees and raised their wages, he would want his employees to
"work like hell." And
that is exactly what they did. Soon
the shop had more orders than it could handle.
Encouraged, Nash turned his business into a laboratory for the
application of the golden rule, and the business prospered greatly.[xxxv]
Nash's leadership with the golden rule led to many changes in his
He proposed a profit‑sharing plan; the workers chose to take
their benefits in the form of higher wages.
By 1923 the workers owned nearly half of the company stock.
The best‑paid employees petitioned to extend the distributions
based not on the wages but on time worked.
"The higher‑paid workers, therefore, on their own motion
thus relinquished their claim to a considerable sum of money in order that the
lower‑paid workers, whose need was greater, could be better provided
Nash continued to raise wages, limited the profit of capital to 7%, and
reinvested remaining profits in the extension of the business.
He lived simply. When Nash
proposed to withhold bonuses from those who had worked less than six months
(since an employee had joined for a short time and left right after receiving
a bonus), the workers insisted that the golden rule indicated assuming sincere
motivation in every employee‑‑and they prevailed.
Nash and the workers agreed that the consumer should play a role in the
setting of prices, and consequently their prices were drastically cheaper than
others' ($16‑29 for a suit instead of $50‑100).
They also agreed to return extra profits to the customer in the form of
better goods and extra trimmings. And
they proposed, during a time of unemployment, to take a wage cut and make
additional work for the unemployed in Cincinnati.
They had abundant sunshine and fresh air and a healthy vapor heating
system, and they remodeled their plant according to a schedule that the group
agreed to. The work week was
reduced to 40 hours, and Nash was resolutely opposed to overtime.
Every change was either proposed by one of the workers or thoroughly
discussed in a company meeting. Nash
supported labor unions; his firm unanimously agreed to make no clothes for a
firm fighting a union and looked askance at someone taking a striker's job;
but he thought there was a better way to safeguard the rights of workers, and
so he had no union in his plant. An
experienced factory observer visited Nash's workers and concluded that he was
watching piecework, so rapid was the labor; but those people were working for
an hourly wage. In one room,
however, workers were taking such painstaking care with their work, the
observer was sure they were on an hourly wage; but they were in fact the only
one's getting paid by the piece. Even
during hard economic times they continued to grow from around $132,000 in 1918
to $3,750,000 in 1922.
Nash became widely known, and in 1923 he harvested an autobiography,
proclaiming the golden rule as his cardinal principle, telling of his path to
success, and reproducing two appreciative commentaries.[xxxviii]
After writing the triumphant account of his spiritual, social, and
material success, the former preacher finally had a national pulpit that could
not be taken from him.
In a posthumous 1930 edition of his book, completed by an associate, we
learn the rest of the story. As a
result of his renown, Golden Rule Nash became overcommitted to travel and
speechmaking, and during the last four years of his life his business, now
grown quite large, began to weaken in sustaining its original spirit.
As Nash came to employ not a few hundred but 140,000 employees, the
service motive did not permeate as thoroughly as before.
Previously he had estimated that 90% of his workers identified with the
spirit of his undertaking, and the other 10% worked alongside them faithfully.
But now some people began to take advantage of the looser system of
control; some subordinate executives did not keep pace with their leader.
Favoritism, discrimination, and poor workmanship became noticeable, and
morale slackened as Nash was away much of the time on speaking engagements
with dinner clubs, lodge and church conventions, and Chambers of Commerce.
Nash's resolution of the problem led to an expansion of his management
philosophy. At first he
approached a group of ministers and invited them to examine every phase of his
operation and to report any situation where the teachings of Jesus could be
more truly put to work. They
refused, deferring to his greater experience in business.
At length he decided to turn to a union.
Previously, despite his sympathies with the union movement, Nash had
endeavored to treat his workers so well that they would feel no need for a
union. The enmity between labor
and management, especially in the clothing industry, had been strong during
the previous decade; now, however, in December of 1925, he turned to the
Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, on account of its sustained dedication to
the skills of the trade and to the welfare of the workers.
The union's technical competence, which Nash had previously rejected as
deadening, proved most helpful. New
methods of accounting, inventory management, and finance were introduced. Thus many techniques of scientific management that he had
scorned as mere mechanical substitutes for human cooperation were introduced,
and he found that they in fact constituted the very extension and application
of the golden rule itself. The
business weathered a slump and emerged stronger than ever; sales for 1926 were
$14 million. The workers owned
most of the stock. It became
evident that the supreme desire to apply the golden rule did not enable Nash
to discover by himself every step of forward progress that he needed to take.
He needed the union to show him that techniques he had opposed were in
fact required by his own purposes. Nonetheless
it was by following the golden rule that he came to the union and thus to
accept ideas he had previously rejected in the name of the rule.
He founded The Nash Journal as a forum for preachy and popular
tidbits of wisdom, business advice, editorials, news of the company and the
world. In one of his rare forays
in the direction of philosophy, Nash responded to an article in which his
company's success is explained in terms of the golden rule plus other factors
of business judgment. He challenged the separation of the golden rule from good
In order to perfectly live the Golden Rule, one in business, to begin
with, would be compelled to buy his merchandise in such a way that he would be
dealing with the seller on the basis of the Golden Rule, as well as buying for
his customers on the basis of the Golden Rule.
The thought I want to bring out, is that we have left most things
religious and spiritual down in the boggy swamps of sentimentalism. The efforts of the church in the past have not been directed
as much as they may be toward educating and equipping men and women to live
large and full lives. Whatever
success has come to the A. Nash company in living the Golden Rule has come
because there has been enough business knowledge to enable us to live it to
just that degree, and whenever we have failed in exercising the very highest
and keenest business judgment on a truly ethical basis, it has been because we
did not have sufficient insight to understand our obligation measured by the
Golden Rule. . . . In other
words, perfect and infallible living of the Golden Rule would require
infallible mentality and undaunted courage.[xxxix]
Nash's book argued that religion is needed for the socially effective
practice of the golden rule. Any
acceptable economic success must be based not upon profit‑hungry
manipulation, but upon good relationships between those involved.
Acting in accord with the golden rule is required in order for a
business enterprise to flourish in its social relations, since the rule
stimulates improved service. The
practice of the rule in business should not be regarded as suicidal; often it
is an aid to success. Religious
motivation is usually necessary to motivate the wholehearted practice of the
golden rule. Therefore, religion
is essential for the flourishing of business and consequently for the
flourishing of society and of civilization.
In sum, Nash used the rule as a symbol of his Christian ideals of
brotherhood and service and as a method to discover new ways of treating his
workers and his customers well.
business ethics to religious ethics: J. C. Penney
J. C. Penney experienced the golden rule during his early years more as
a symbol of the rigorous, edifying, and self-denying morality of his
"good and dedicated" father rather than a symbol of the spiritual
example of his "unselfish and saintly" mother.[xl]
The son of a Primitive Baptist preacher (and the grandson of a
preacher), the third child of twelve children (six of whom survived to
adulthood), growing up on a farm, Penney recalls learning self-reliance by
having to earn the money for his clothes beginning at age eight.
He ran errands. He raised
pigs. But when the neighbors complained about the smell, his father
obliged him to stop raising pigs--an early lesson about the unwelcome
implications of living by the golden rule.
The boy turned to growing watermelons, spending the last nights before
harvesting in the field with a dog and a shotgun to protect his crop.
He took them to the county fair to sell them, and set up his wagon
close where the crowds were entering. Sales
were becoming brisk when his father interrupted and ordered him to close down
and go home. The lad had
unwittingly broken the norm of selling along with other merchants who had set
up inside the fair and had paid for a concession to do so.
This was his second hard lesson about the implications of the golden
The next phase of his life with the golden rule were his early years in
business. He learned to sell dry
goods. "I concentrated on
two points: knowing the stock and exactly where everything was, and giving the
customer the utmost in service and value, making only a small profit on each
sale. I was particularly
interested in the idea of keeping the store sold out of old stock."[xli]
He learned how "to add service and value from the woman's point of
He stayed away from the cities, feeling that he knew "how to get
close to the lives of small town people, learning their needs and preferences
and serving them accordingly."[xliii]
He liked working where they "understood our neighbors as readily
as they could understand us."[xliv]
In 1902 he opened a store in Kemmerer, Wyoming, with the sign: Golden
Rule Store. He and his wife
worked together without any help at first, working hard, too hard, as Penney
recalls, from early in the morning to late at night seven days a week.
They abided strictly by the golden rule, they were extremely frugal,
and they made money. As they
began to hire people, Penney never hired anyone who did not have a
"positive belief in a Supreme Being"; he selected people with
"character, enthusiasm, and energy."[xlv]
He had large ambitions: "By our service to our customers we would
create [sic] in them that spring of sparkling good will which would prompt
them to want to help us to serve them."[xlvi]
The last period of his life was marked by his religious conversion.
Chronically troubled by his merely external engagement with religion,
he had not been able to convince himself wholeheartedly that "it was
enough for a man to lead a moral and upright life."[xlvii]
At the age of 58, having financially overextended himself in
philanthropy when the Great Depression hit, this wealthy and successful man
was brought to bankruptcy, alcoholism, and despair.
Through an evangelical mission in New York City, he found God in a
radiant and satisfying way and could then speak anew of the golden rule.
"From our spiritual wellsprings come our capacities for
Penney proclaimed that the world must be transformed, will be
transformed, and can only be transformed by the spiritually motivated practice
of the golden rule, service to all people as one's neighbors.
As civilization grew and horizons widened, the definition of
"brotherhood" took on more exact meaning, and people came gradually
to understand the golden rule as a basic principle, applicable to all
relationships. In former periods
business was identified as secular, and service as sacred.
In proportion as we have discerned that between secular and sacred no
arbitrary line exists, public awareness has grown that the golden rule was
meant for business as much as for other human relationships.[xlix]
Penney did join men like Nash and Jones in holding to a religious conception
of brotherhood as the basis for the replete practice of the golden rule.
The golden rule has functioned to mobilize sympathies, to sustain human
dignity, and to express religious experience on a diverse planet in need of
unifying ideals. Despite the
follies of some of its champions, the rule, interpreted through the gospel of
the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, showed itself a sturdy
player in the encounter between religious idealism and scientific realism.
Evolution means progress as well as struggle.
Not only does idealism need realism to make its ideals effective, but
realism also needs idealism in order to keep pace in a progressive world.
The fact that the rule provided a focus for the experience of harmony
among members of different religions and the fact that the rhetoric of the
golden rule could be an effective lever of reform give hope for the moral
sense within the human heart and an incipient spiritual community.
How, then, shall the golden rule be applied in practice?
There is no formula for finding the proportion of legitimate
self-interest in a life dominated by the service motive.
There is no formula for determining when a sacrificial deed will have
great leverage. Nor is the golden
rule a substitute for gifted leadership, though it can contribute the moral
focus for inspired leadership and teamwork.
If the follies of idealism are simply held up to ridicule while the
scandals of a narrow and materialistic realism so-called are held up for
outrage or cynicism, one might despair of the philosophic hope of a practical
and progressive adjustment between spiritual ideals and
are antidotes to that despair. Though
one does not want to draw excessive conclusions from the biographies
summarized here, they show how some, daring to treat others as they would be
treated, found their way. Arthur
Nash discovered that his apparently self-sacrificing wage increases won a
profitable response from his workers, and they gained national attention for
joining religious and moral dynamism with business progress.
J. C. Penney respected the rule as a moral constraint on profit-seeking
and as a guide to service, and in the end also wrote of religiously motivated
brotherhood. Samuel Jones,
despite relative economic and political success, continued to aim for social
and personal objectives beyond what he could reach.
His sense of the pathos of life's contradictions was much sharper than
that of Penney or Nash. Nash and
Penney showed that an individual and a company can flourish with a profound
commitment to the rule. Jones
showed that a society transformed by the practice of the rule is a long way
of the importance of the religious concept of the family in this chapter and
in this book, an extended, critical note about the social psychology of that
concept is in order. Historical
realism adds a note about how social-psychological concerns influenced the
theology of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man in America.
Janet Fishburn shows in The Fatherhood of God and the Victorian
Family: The Social Gospel in America that religious doctrine was related
to the anxieties and conflicts of the men of this generation.
The golden rule in the King James translation of the Gospel according
to Matthew might appear to envision primarily males: "Therefore all
things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them;
for this is the law and the prophets."
Nevertheless, the Victorians regarded men and women as enjoying
perfect equality through their complementary functions in their special
spheres of life. Women were
seen as more intuitive, moral, and spiritual; whereas men fought the battles
of the public realm (Fishburn 1981, 27f).
The full achievement of manhood had become more difficult, and family
life was less rewarding. Regarding the middle class in Chicago in the 1870s and 1880s,
Richard Sennett writes,
nuclear family was used as a refuge from the city, rather than as an
adaptive mechanism. Consequently,
this family form infringed upon the authority of the father, trapped its
members in mother-dominated households, and undermined the sons' chances for
social mobility. In times of
crisis, "intense nuclear families" were singularly unequipped to
deal with urban violence and the general fear of social breakdown. (Quoted
in Hareven 1971, 221)
Filene writes that at the turn of the century men were finding it acutely
difficult to "be a man" (Filene 1986, chapter 3, "Men and
Manliness" pp. 69-93). The
ideal of manhood involved superb self-mastery and righteously won success in
an individual who would exercise a benevolent and just leadership in the
family. But employment took the
man away from home for more hours of the day; work was less rewarding
economically and its satisfactions were far from the popular image of
"the strenuous life" advocated by Theodore Roosevelt--vitalistic,
militaristic, and victorious. The
1890s saw a cult of Napoleon in popular magazines.
Luther H. Gulick promoted an athletic "muscular
Christianity" with the YMCA, in which "working out on the mats and
bars or playing the newly invented game of basketball [would develop]
altruism, cooperation, and self-control. . . ."
Look to Jesus, Gulick advised, if you want an example of
"magnificent manliness" (Filene 1986, 75).
Women became stronger, having been encouraged since the mid-19th
century in novels celebrating their ability to make themselves and society
better. Women got involved in
crusades against vices which were more or less associated with men.
Emerging feminine sexuality was sometimes felt as a threat to male
health and to the balance of male energies (Filene 1986, 92).
The industrial revolution gave women an alternative to the home; the
right to vote came in 1921; it was an age of progress for women. Thus it is understandable that, according to Fishburn, the
heroic ideals of the Social Gospel preachers combatted the image of
effeminate Christianity for those who could not prove their manhood by
economic success (Fishburn 1981, 165f).
The preachers of the social gospel portrayed God as the immanent
source of natural order, evolutionary progress, and the moral law; and also
as a source of motherly forgiveness: "God
the Father who creates and sustains and loves and forgives reflects the two
halves of a Victorian marriage. He
contained the male powers of procreation and sustenance and the female
virtue of pure love" (Fishburn 1981, 141).
Through the light of the indwelling spirit, God was understood to
minister to each person, aiding them in the struggle against temptation.
In any situation calling for action, the intuition of what to do and
the power to accomplish it would be provided from within by the power of the
spirit of Jesus (Fishburn 1981, 167). People
were thus "reassured that they were children of a personal God to whom
they could go in prayer for comfort and power amid the hard work, moral
demands, and stress of life" (Fishburn 1981, 141).
Religious self-examination became obsolete, as the new God concept
consigned the older Calvinist doctrine of a judging, punishing God to the
less highly evolved stages of human history.
The picture of a divine Father utterly free of any authoritarian
sovereignty may represent, according to Fishburn, a reaction against the
harshness of fathers during the early Victorian period (Fishburn 1981, 161).
The proclamation of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man
symbolized "the 'new' world-view of a large and ambitious American
middle class" (Fishburn 1981, 89 and 162f).
Social gospel preacher Walter Rauschenbusch deliberately crafted his
God concept from the ideals implicit in human relations in order to provide
leverage for social progress (Fishburn 1981, 138-142).
Fishburn estimates that Rauschenbusch's accommodation to middle-class
values finally deprived him of any genuine power to change the society
(175). The family imagery spoke
differently, however, to lower class listeners; for them, the Father was a
God of justice on the model of the God who punished the Pharaoh and
liberated Moses' people from Egypt.
For the social gospel movement, "The spirit of love and
brotherhood learned in a stable, loving family was expected to flow
naturally through the family" into American society and thence into the
rest of the world (Fishburn 1981, 23). Fishburn recounts the extensive use of "the Fatherhood
of God" by labor leaders and politicians and the confusion between the
kingdom of God and manifest destiny (the idea that America was obviously
destined to lead the world); racial doctrines were sometimes associated with
the social gospel (Fishburn 1981, 15 and 90).
The emphasis on reforming America and on America's role among nations
sometimes got more genuine attention than the relationship to God, which
became a means to the desired end. It
may be said, then, that in the proclamation of the Fatherhood of God and the
brotherhood of man, overemphasis on the connection of advanced religion with
advanced civilization obscured the very spiritual equality of men and women
which that gospel meant to convey.
Fishburn criticizes the proponents of the social gospel for confusing
the best experiences of family life with the divine ideal.
The transcendence of God and the sense of difference between God and
historical process was compromised. In
theological terms, Rauschenbusch's God-concept "reduces a religious
symbol to a metaphor"; its analogical power to indicate something
beyond what it can express is lost: "analogy becomes identity" (Fishburn
1981, 171) In other words, to
regard the father concept of God as a metaphor is to envision primarily a
human father and transfer that image to God.
To think analogically is to think of God as the pattern imperfectly
represented by human fathers; it regards the Fatherhood of God as the
pattern imperfectly represented by human fathers (cf. Rolnick, 1994).
A symbol expresses more than social science, philosophy, and theology
Ritschl found, was "the first to perceive the supreme importance for
ethics of the 'Kingdom of God' as an association of men bound together by
laws of virtue" (quoted in Welch 1985, 18).
Ritschl developed a modernized Lutheranism in which God's healing of
a person's sin and guilt (justification) opened the believer to the
universal love of the neighbor (reconciliation).
was clear from the opening address by C. C. Bonney: "We seek in this
congress to unite all religion against all irreligion; to make the golden
rule the basis of this union; and to present to the world the substantial
unity of many religions in the good deeds of the religious life (Neely 1894,
40). Bishop Arnett of the
African Methodist Episcopal Church looked forward to a liberated Africa,
"whose cornerstone will be religion, morality, education, and
temperance, acknowledging the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man;
while the ten commandments and the golden rule shall be the rule of life in
the great republic of redeemed Africa" (Neely 1894, 70; Arnett refers
again to the rule on 155).
Neely, 1894, for Confucianism, see p. 150, for Judaism pp. 147, 213 and
376f, and for Christianity pp. 40, 69, 70, 196, 285, 645, 687, 843.
Harvard professor D. G. Lyon, in "Jewish Contributions to
Civilization," said, "Our church and Christian charities are but
the embodiment of the golden rule as uttered by a Jew" (377).
Among the reasons why Christianity can be expected eventually to
triumph in Japan, according to Nobuta Kishimoto is this: "Christianity
teaches love to God and love to man as its fundamental teaching.
The golden rule is the glory of Christianity, not because it was
originated by Christ--this rule was taught by Buddha and Laotse many
centuries before--but because He properly emphasized it by His words and by
His life" (Neely, 796).
Smith believed, had always been the foundation for the western moral code;
and it would be idle for positivists and agnostics to imagine that while
Christianity was being destroyed by evolution the humane values of Christian
ethics would persist. Ultimately,
he conceded, an ethic based upon science might be worked out, but for the
present there would be a moral interregnum, similar to those which had
occurred in past times of crisis. There
had been such an interregnum in the Hellenic world after the collapse of its
religion brought about by scientific speculation; there had been another in
the Roman world before the coming of Christianity gave it a new moral basis;
a third collapse in western Europe following the Renaissance had produced
the age of the Borgias and Machiavelli, the Guises and the Tudors; finally,
Puritanism in England and the Counter Reformation in the Catholic Church had
reintroduced moral stability. At
present another religious collapse is underway:
What, then, we ask, is likely to be the effect of this revolution on
morality? Some effect it can
hardly fail to have. Evolution
is force, the struggle for existence is force, natural selection is force. .
. . But what will become of the brotherhood of man and of the
very idea of humanity? (quoted
in Hofstadter, 1955:87).
his 1895 book, The Golden Rule in Business, Charles Fletcher Dole set
forth his belief that the rule must be intelligently applied in a
law-governed universe; that a businessman should be willing to make a
somewhat costly moral investment at the start of a farsighted venture; and
that certain changes would follow the widespread adoption of the rule:
. . [T]he great bulk of mercantile transactions has to be reasonably near
the lines of justice and of human service.
The margin of dishonesty is somewhat narrow and dangerous.
The Golden Rule, aiming at the utmost human welfare, is so deep in
nature that it commands a sort of conformity, long before men have fairly
caught its spirit. It is
possible, if all the men in New York to-morrow adopted the Golden Rule that
the figures of prices, values, and profits might not have to undergo very
great change. It is likely that
the services of few of us are worth much more than we get.
The adoption of the Golden Rule would lessen great sources of waste;
it would increase the grand product out of which we all live; it would
correct certain sad abuses and injustices; but its chief gain would be on
the side of our humanity, in the quickened sense of our brotherhood, lifting
the ordinary relations of trade to the same level with the ministrations of
the teacher, the physician, the poet and artist, the friend and the patriot.
Douglas Firth Anderson tells the story of San Francisco Presbyterian
preacher J. E. Scott (1836-1917), who advocated Christian socialism during
the middle of his career. Like many others of his generation, he could be critical of
contemporary industrial society on the basis of his memories of life on the
family farm and the ideals implicit in it (234). He dissociated himself from Marxist Socialism, affirming
non-partisan gradualism in the social approach to an order in which
competition and unequal distribution would be eliminated.
He appealed to the intelligent middle-class with his message of the
"Kingdom of Socialism" in terms of which the golden rule
(symbolizing the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount) would be practiced.
Scott's priorities were social, though he, unlike some who left the
ministry upon joining a socialist group, retained his function as a
the health of a city were suffering from bad sewerage, would the mere fact
of the religious conversion of every man, woman and child make the sewerage
conditions any better? A new
machine is introduced in the factory that renders unnecessary the work of
half those previously employed. Will
the mere fact even of universal individual reformation or regeneration give
those men a new job and make them again as independent and self-sustaining
as before? If all the people in
the Southern states before the rebellion had been "born again,"
would that fact have abolished African slavery?
These and many like conditions are what call for "Social
Reform" in distinction from individual reform.
Which should come first? A
Kourdish bandit can never become a true Christian till he stops plundering;
and he will never stop while plundering is recognized as a respectable
business. (Anderson, 1989:240).
1981, 19. Herron wrote, "The real problem of inspiration is not
as to the manner in which holy men of old were inspired, but whether there
are now holy men willing to be inspired and consumed in the service of truth
and justice" (quoted in Frederick 1976, 21).
a woman of the town was arrested for relieving a customer of his watch and
wallet, Jones questioned the man, and when it was found the accuser was a
respectable man of family, he refused to listen to a word against the woman,
simply saying to her, "Go and sin some more!"
And the Mayor added, quietly, "Vice cannot be exterminated until
the respectable element quits paying good money to surreptitiously support
it." He then fined the man
ten dollars, on his own confession, for patronizing a house of ill-fame.
(Cited in Simmons 1981, 43.)
not enforce laws against gambling and he let the saloons operate on Sunday.
Statistics indicate that crime declined during his tenure, though
that may be due to the fact that, as one judge recalled, "they always
found some reason or other for letting all the culprits go."
A tramp arrested for drunkenness was let free after Jones smashed the
loaded revolver that had been found in his pocket.
Jones said, "I have done by the unfortunate men and women who
have come before me in this court just as I would have another judge do by
my son if he were a drunkard or a thief, or by my sister or daughter, if she
were a prostitute" (Simmons 1981, 61).
Nash, The Golden Rule in Business (the second, 1930 edition includes
a final chapter, added by Philip I. Roberts, a Nash associate, completing
the account Nash originally set down in the 1923 edition); and J. C. Penney,
Fifty Years with the Golden Rule (1950).
Detroit, Nash had a formative experience of working with an inspirational
woman outside his church, one Agnes d'Arcambal, who had organized a half-way
house for released convicts and was widely acknowledged as an
extraordinarily uplifting individual. Days
after her death, he was asked by a supervising elder whether it was possible
that this woman could be saved. He
boldly defended her eternal prospects and resigned from the church before
the Conference Committee called to investigate him could begin.
Then, thoroughly disillusioned, he left religion altogether, noting
in passing that he went through a period of years in "sin and
degradation," wandering throughout the midwest from one odd job to
another (Nash 1930, 11).
Later, during the first three years of World War I, he was bitterly
blaming Christianity for the mess of Europe.
Then in 1917, a minister friend who was planning to be out of town,
invited Nash to occupy the pulpit one Sunday in his absence.
The minister invited him to present his criticisms of Christianity to
his congregation. Researching
intensely for two months in preparation for his diatribe, he discovered the
life and teachings of Jesus as he never had in seminary, and he was ennobled
and empowered by the spiritual reality of the ideals that he now saw
in 1919, they began production and business more than doubled over the
previous year. In 1920, business tripled.
In 1921 business increased by a third and they reached the limits of
their plant capacity. In 1922,
business increased by 50% to $3 million dollars.
He made some innovations in labor relations and was on the very
cutting edge of farsighted, ethical management.
business innovations of the golden rule are largely set forth in a report
done on the A. Nash Company by Rev. F. Ernest Johnson, Secretary of the
Commission on the Church and Social Service, of the Federal Council of the
Churches of Christ in America, Chapter 6 in Nash 1930.
testimonial is a piece of investigative reporting done by Ruth White Colton,
a black woman who represented herself to the "Golden Rule Factory"
as Hattie Clark, poor and needing work.
She recorded the outpouring of generosity which greeted her, as
several employees offered her lodging.
When a man who had robbed the company was caught and sentenced, some
of the workers told the group that the man had a wife and four children and
that they (the workers) wanted to do something for them.
They agreed to give the mother a job and assigned to Clark the
supervision of funds for the family. After
she disclosed her true identity and purpose, she was warmly invited to go
ahead with her investigation and interview as she pleased, and she gathered
story after story of lives dramatically touched by this group devoted to
living the golden rule.
Nash Journal 1.2 (December 13, 1926), pp. 1, 3.
These comments appear to respond to the August 1926 account of his
success by Silas Bent in Nation's Business, "The Golden Rule,
Plus Sound Business" (pp. 18-19) arguing that the primary factors
responsible for Nash's success had to do with his business acumen.
1950, 245. We should not imagine that the son's experience of his father
was dominated by harshness. Penney
recalls when his father was excommunicated from the church he had served so
long over a controversy regarding Sunday School.
While the boy was filled with resentment over the incident, his
father said, "Don't harbor bitterness, Jim.
People see things as they see them.
It takes time for ideas to take hold." (Penney 1950, 21)
the time I was a young boy I had understood, that though he worked at two
separate callings, by his way of working at them he made them
interchangeable. He was a
farmer and he was a preacher, and to him there was no real difference in
what these two occupations demanded of a man.
He plowed, planted, harvested--and then, when he preached his
sermons, applied his industry with the same quality of feeling so that, in
effect, he had one over-all ministry: to serve. (Penney 1951, 64)
1950, 58 and 74. A cardinal
principle was reposing confidence in people: "Men who came into the J.
C. Penney Company with me have never been put under surety bond.
Men who must have halters around their necks to make them do the
right thing were not the men for us. I
have always preferred letting men know that I rely on them.
Those who proved unworthy only caused the others, who far outnumbered
them, to stand out.
[xlvii]. Penney 1950, 118.
[xlviii]. Penney 1950, 219.
[xlix]. Penney 1950, 52.