Government Shall Not Take From the Mouth of Labor the Bread It Has Earned

Cody Libolt
For the New Christian Intellectual
2 min readJul 6, 2022


Thomas Jefferson wrote that the proper purpose of government is to…

guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

He wrote that a legitimate government…

…shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. (Americanism, pg 39)

In that quote you see the main idea of what Americanism is:

It is the idea of a society based on individualism, in which the government’s role is to protect individual rights — and only that.

By individualism, we mean the view that is opposed to collectivism. This is a binary.

Individualism means that…

“Man has inalienable rights which cannot be taken away from him by any other man, nor by any number, group, or collective of other men. Therefore, man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group” (Americanism, pg 2).

Collectivism is the opposite view. It holds that…

“Man has no rights; that his work, his body and his personality belong to the group; that the group can do with him as it pleases, in any manner it pleases, for the sake of whatever it decides to be its own welfare. Therefore, each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group” (Americanism, pg 2).

Our goal in this session of the Americanism Book Study is to talk through the implications of these statements and of this vision for society.

  • What kind of changes would need to be made in order to reform society to these standards?
  • If these are the correct standards, and if we follow them, what will society end up looking like?
  • What kind of problems or challenges could this vision create, and what problems will these standards help us to solve?
  • How does this vision either agree or disagree with the Bible’s principles about justice and righteousness?

Americanism Book Study (4 of 9)