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Leadership & Freedom: Reading Oliver Demille’s “1913”: a leadership education book on freedom

I read over this week-end Oliver Demille’s recent book: “1913”. It’s a book on leadership education to restore and preserve freedom. In 1913, three critical events made the greatest world shift turning point away from freedom in the US and abroad. 100 years after, modern times are still under that shift.


The first major turning-point event of 1913 was the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. As a result, the United States became less of a federal system and more a national model moving from indirect taxation of the states to direct taxation of the people to fund the national budget. “The power of taxation and how it is collected has a direct and lasting impact on freedom,” Demille stated.

The second shift is the Seventeenth Amendment of the US Constitution. Senators got to office by popular vote within the states rather than by state legislatures. The states lost their control over the Senate , and as a result, the federal government slowly but surely took over many states power.

The third turning point was the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank. President Woodrow Wilson who is the architect of these turning points moved away from Jefferson and Madison limited government philosophy to adopt a Hamilton mercantile approach.The Federal Reserve Bank gave power to Washington to print all kind of money which increase inflation and the national debt.

“Together,  these three 1913 events caused an increased desire to Washington to spend, eliminated roadblocks to massive spending, and created easier mechanisms for taxing, borrowing, and printing money,” Demille mentioned in his book.

He added another world-shifting event  which is the United States v. Butler case dated 1936.   This case was about agricultural policy. Before this case, the federal government was limited to spending money only on the things explicitly outlined in the Constitution and other things necessary for the “general welfare” of the nation. After the case, the government could spend money on anything it thought would be “good” for the nation.

Demille also outlined three solutions to start the decline. The first lesson is that the whole citizenry must understand freedom. “Unless the people know the laws, freedom will suddenly decrease,” he said.

“Without a wise populace that understand how freedom works and takes an active part on maintaining it, no free society has ever lasted… Liberty cannot be preserved without the general knowledge among the people.” 

Demille called for a small group of committed citizens to engage themselves in the freedom operation.”Turning points are led by a few committed people rather by the mass of society. The masses are nearly always focused on other things while the key events take that the change history,” he said.

Solution Number 1 Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship always fights back and optimistically seeks to overcome all challenges. We desperately need an innovation generation-an entrepreneurial revolution that brings a return to a true spirit of free enterprise. Leaders of freedom for ahead should become successful entrepreneurs.

Our nations need a return to a focus of free enterprise. Free citizens are innovative, independent and giving. If the people are forced to innovate creativity shuts down. Forced independence is dependence. And forced giving without the value of real charity is a force of enslavement.

“Without an independent and giving citizenry, no nation can long remain free or generally prosperous,” he said.

The Second Solution that qualifies a leader in the coming turning point is becoming a voracious reader and an independent thinker. “Together wide and deep reading along with innovative thinking creates not only readers but the kind of readers who build freedom.” Oliver Demille said.

The third solution is to become tribal leaders or community leader “We need to build many new communities to bring back real freedom and prosperity to our society,” Demille said. Tribal leadership is leaders who build communities by setting the example of successful entrepreneurship, voracious reading and independent thinking and helping others do the same. Leaders of the future have to learn leadership by leading through involvement by business organization that trains leaders and encourage more community actions.   

Demille explained and left details in the concept of freedom through classic philosophies that go back to Aristotle, Plato, Montesquieu, Adam Smith and others.

I had the opportunity to meet Oliver Demille at the summer leadership convention last month. I read his previous books on leadership education. However 1913 is by far his best work. 1913 is foreworded by leadership guru Orrin Woodward, New York Times best selling co-author of Launching a Leadership Revolution, who described Oliver Demille’s book as ” masterpiece on freedom.”

I could not have said any better. I agree with Orrin Woodward that if you care about future of prosperity and freedom, you should read and apply this book.

Special thanks to Axel Jean-Francois for typing and editing.



One response to “Leadership & Freedom: Reading Oliver Demille’s “1913”: a leadership education book on freedom”

  1. Wilda Avatar

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