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The Golden Rule of the Fatherhood of God

and the Brotherhood of Man


            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 world.

            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, and Christianity.[vi]  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 philosopher.[vii]  Appropriately, the golden-rule champions of this era do not come from the ranks of philosophers and theologians; they are ministers, politicians, and businessmen.


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 benefiting self"[viii]).  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 possible."[ix]  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 rule required.[xiv]  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 citizen."[xxi]  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 applicants.  Nevertheless, 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]


Nevertheless, 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.


From 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 competitive arena.[xxxi]  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 enterprises.

            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 business.[xxxvi]  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 for."[xxxvii]  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 business judgment.


            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.


From 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 rule.

            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 view."[xlii]  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 unselfishness."[xlviii]  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]


Thus 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 off.

Chapter 8

     [i].  Because 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,


     The 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)


Peter G. 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 can explicate.


     [ii].  Tolstoy, What Is Art?  [1898] 1930.


     [iii].  Kant, 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).


     [iv].  Harnack, The Essence of Christianity.


     [v].  This 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).


     [vi].  In 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).


     [vii].  Henry Steele Commager 1950, 13-39.


     [viii].  Spencer 1892, 201.


     [ix].  Spencer 1892, 194.


     [x].  Spencer 1892, 200 and 204.


     [xi].  John Hay, from his speech, "American Diplomacy," quoted in Huffman 1995, 315.  The Monroe Doctrine insisted that no European power shall establish a sphere of influence in the Americas.


     [xii].  For a discussion of parallel developments in English and German theology, see Welch 1985.


     [xiii].  Smith 1879.  Richard Hofstadter (1955) summarizes Goldwin Smith's The Prospect of a Moral Interregnum" (Atlantic Monthly 43 [1879], 629-642):


     Religion, 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).


     [xiv].  In 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 religious spokesperson:


     Suppose 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).


     [xv].  Seward 1901, 7.


     [xvi].  Seward 1901, 39.


     [xvii].  Neely 1894, 509.


     [xviii].  Seward 1901, 29.


     [xix].  Seward 1901, 55.


     [xx].  Reed 1967, 46 and 151ff.


     [xxi].  Seward 1901, 47.



     [xxii]. Seward 1901, 41-43.  Silverman's address to the Parliament of Religions had focused on anti-Judaism (Neely 1894, 636).


     [xxiii].  Simmons 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).


     [xxiv].  Simmons, 23.


     [xxv].  Simmons 1981, 30.


     [xxvi].  Simmons, 29.


     [xxvii].  Smith 1988, 49.


     [xxviii].  Simmons, 1981, 2.


     [xxix].  Jones's treatment of prostitution was controversial:


     When 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.)


Jones did 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).


     [xxx].  Research by Marcia Carolyn Kaptur summarized by Simmons 1981, 94.


     [xxxi].  Arthur 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).


     [xxxii].  Nash 1930, 10f.  He writes at length about his saintly mother and her influence upon him.


     [xxxiii].  In 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 brightly.


     [xxxiv].  Nash 1930, 51-53.


     [xxxv].  Early 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.


     [xxxvi].  The 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.


     [xxxvii].  Nash 1930, 79.


     [xxxviii].  One 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.


     [xxxix].  The 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.


     [xl].  Penney 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)


     From 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)


     [xli].  Penney 1950, 44.


     [xlii].  Penney 1950, 47.


     [xliii].  Penney 1950, 48.


     [xliv].  Penney 1950, 75.



     [xlv].  Penney 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.


     [xlvi].  Penney 1950, 104.


[xlvii].  Penney 1950, 118.


[xlviii].  Penney 1950, 219.


[xlix].  Penney 1950, 52.