The reference comes from an Oration given on July 4, 1796 in Boston by John Lathrop Junior. One of the best lines in his Oration inspired me and have caused me to ponder on the power of one individual. It reads,
"To preserve - to perpetuate - the independence of our country is the duty not only of our civil rulers but of every individual. Much depends, frequently, upon the exertions and designs of a single member of society. The fate of empires has been decided by an aspiring demagogue or an ambitious hero!"David Barton's annotation of an 1830s definition of a demagogue would like a people half educated; enough to read what is said, but not enough to know whether it's true or not. That way, I suppose, you can manipulate the masses and they wouldn't be the wiser.
The next paragraph in the Oration is really what caught my interest and thought it relevant today...
"Intrigue [secret scheming] and faction [seeking special interests rather than the common good] are the instruments which designing and artful men employ to produce the destruction of good government and the consequent annihilation of order and of law. When those infernal agents [evil influences] are at work, he who bellows loudest for liberty intends to be the tyrant-in-chief. Let us be jealous [suspicious] of those Sempronii - unmantle their nefarious [wicked] intentions and convince them of the fallacy of their hopes to effect their purposes in the midst of an enlightened people."Again, David Barton's annotation about the Sempronii were two Roman brothers (Tiberius & Gaius Gracchus) who - as civil leaders - helped destroy the Roman Republic while allegedly attempting to better the country.
I immediately thought of our current President Barack Obama and the people he surrounds himself with. If you know anything about President Obama (i.e. childhood, early education, college, background, etc.) you would probably think the same thing. I wholeheartedly think that Obama's intentions for this country are not good. He's like the Sempronii brothers destroying the America Republic with policy and regulation while "allededly attempting to better the country." Obviously there's no way to prove this theory, but getting to know President Obama you can get a pretty good idea.
I just thought it was interesting that something that was said in 1796 was so relevant today.