Jacob J. Walker's Blog

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Quote of the Day: “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

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Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

While this quote is generally attributed to Mark Twain, including from The Quotations Pages, I have found scant evidence to suggest that it truly was.  My search of Google Books and Google News of the time of Mark Twain’s life (1835 to 1910) did not turn up any book or newspaper that could show me this quote, and no one on wikiquotes could verify the quote either, and Twain is a quite popular author, with his complete works available.  The earliest reference to this exact quote I could find, was in the Waycross Journal-Herald in 1975.

I was able to find several people in the 1800’s and early 1900’s who all had similar views that the world doesn’t owe us anything, with an editorial published in the Otaga Witness in 1880, from a Burdette in Hawkeye, being the closest I could find to the sentiment of the quote.

In either case, whomever first said the quote shouldn’t matter as much as to the important point the quote makes.

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Written by Jacob Walker

November 10th, 2013 at 6:32 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

One Response to 'Quote of the Day: “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”'

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  1. That is a sore point with today’s troubles in the USA.
    I have read that 50% of Americans are living below poverty level and can’t even pay their bills and eat a decent meal…When we talk of the statement above, in what content are we talking about? If you have worked and most benefits have been taken away, I say that is a very disturbing place to be in…
    My prediction is that the Other 50% of the American people out of shear fear…will be on there way out of this country…Money being in hand, the the rest of us will be here to fight the good fight…for OUR life..
    If that being the case, do you mean someone who has lived off the fat of our land, people getting benefits that never worked here in this country, getting a chance to buy property with government help, getting food to feed the 8 children, free, free medical for all in the family and at the Tax payers expense–and by the way, I have contributed too…
    This country had rules that helped our own to live, including Senior Citizens..The government especially in California, where I was born, has no regard for seniors that live way below the poverty level—because the pay back then on their jobs, was not the ridiculous wages paid today…and the best part…these creeps keep crying..NOT ENOUGH MONEY! So what group are we talking about—??

    Carolyn Jette

    10 Nov 13 at 7:40 am

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