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POLICY ORIENTATION FOR THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE 2014
LUNCHEON KEYNOTE (January 10, 2014)
CLOSING KEYNOTE REMARKS BROOKE L. ROLLINS
I’m gonna close the conference today, and this is gonna surprise everyone a little bit, with a quote from Karl Marx. Mm hm, mm hm. See, you never know what you’re gonna get here. We’re newsmakers at Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Karl Marx said that the philosophers have only tried in various ways to understand the world, but the point is to change it. We all I think understand that, and that’s why all of you have spent the last three days at this event, understanding, not only understanding the world and what we have in front of us, but understanding how we can move to change it. You are the ones who heard the question whom shall I send, and answered like the Prophet Isaiah, here am I, send me.
I didn’t know if you all know the story of Haym Solomon. Most Americans don’t, and it’s a real shame, because he is a hero, a patriot and a man without whom we might not have this United States of America.
He was born in 1740, a Jewish European, in a time and place where he could expect little hope for liberty and certainly little hope for equality. He grew up, learned trades, and in 1775, immigrated to New York City, at the very start of the American Revolution.
Now, let me make clear, Haym Solomon was not British. He was not at the first American. He had no record of revolutionary activity, nor political activity, at all. He had no ties to the New World. All Haym Solomon had was his basic sense of justice and injustice, right and wrong, and free and unfree. And it was enough, almost at the moment he set foot on American shores, to persuade him to devote himself to seeing the American Revolution through to victory.
Haym Solomon was not a soldier, but he was a man with a genius for war. As a financier, he understood that, above all else, that young American Republic needed cash and credit, and he set himself to using his understanding of finance and his European connections to secure both. And on the side, in his spare time, he ran a spy ring for George Washington in New York City.
The years passed and the American Revolution finally came to its culminating point with the Yorktown Campaign. Everyone knows what happened there, but few know that it almost didn’t happen, because the Continental Congress had run out of money, and they could no longer maintain Washington’s army.
George Washington, for his part, knew that he had to get his army to besiege Cornwallis in Yorktown, and if he did, liberty and independence would be won. Informed that the Continental Congress could not do it, and the moment for liberty was almost lost, Washington issued his fateful order, send for Haym Solomon. Haym Solomon secured the funds, the army marched, America was free, all because one man knew that changing the world required the resources for action.
This story alone would probably be enough to make Haym Solomon a hero, but there’s more. America, the country he loved and saved, was recognized as independent by Great Britain in 1783. Two years later, Haym Solomon died, after a mere ten years in America. It was widely assumed upon his death, that he, the financier of the American Revolution and the man who made Washington’s victory possible, died wealthy. In fact, he died with nothing. Nothing, but, it was discovered, a lot of debt, Revolutionary War debt, Continental Congress debt, state debt, all of which he held. Haym Solomon had sunk every last penny into the United States of America. He died with no cash, but he did not die poor. He saw independence achieved, and he lived in the liberty that he help to win, if only for a short time.
We call Haym Solomon a hero, we call him a visionary, and this story, this story of Haym Solomon, I think, is not unlike what we are doing here today at this event, and for the last three days, and more importantly, moving forward. Fortunately, none of us today are called upon to finance a war, but we are called upon to support the biggest battle of our generation, and that is to secure freedom in America.
At the Texas Public Policy Foundation, we have been fighting and working on freedom for more than a quarter of a century. This event is our 12th in as many years. The idea of working on behalf of freedom, and individual responsibility, and fiscal rectitude and limited government in Texas, and in that time, we’ve learned one big thing, which I think has been a theme in the last few days, and that is that this isn’t about Texas only. This is about the American dream. And while the American dream today is secure in the Lone Star State, we’re going to have to reintroduce America to that dream.
And it’s a big job, but I think everyone in this room proves that we are up to it. And the people of the Alamo and San Jacinto aren’t people who complain against long odds. We face them and we win. Thank you so much and we’ll see you next year.
Job Number: 14020-004
Custom Filename: Keynote Brooke Rollins
Billed Word Count: 1043