I Am the People, the Mob
I am the people�the mob�the crowd�the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world�s food and
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and
the Lincoln. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing.
Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and
wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work
and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to
remember. Then�I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of
yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me
for a fool�then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name:
�The People,� with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of
The mob�the crowd�the mass�will arrive then.
Sandburg, Carl. Chicago Poems. New York, N.Y.: Henry Holt, 1916.