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"To realize fully the necessity for Nationalization we must understand the wonderful possibilities of national organization." - Sir Leo Chiozza Money
I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States take possession and assume control of each and every system of transportation within the boundaries of the continental United States

Nationalization, or nationalisation, is the process of transforming private assets into public assets by bringing them under the public ownership of a national government or state.

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  • It is significant that the nationalization of thought has proceded everywhere pari passu with the nationalization of industry.
  • Following this preamble, these shall be the principles of social justice towards the realization of which we must strive:… 2. I believe that every citizen willing to work and capable of working shall receive a just, living, annual wage which will enable him both to maintain and educate his family according to the standards of American decency. 3. I believe in nationalizing those public resources which by their very nature are too important to be held in the control of private individuals… 5. I believe in upholding the right to private property but in controlling it for the public good.


  • I’m not for nationalization because of the rhetoric of nationalization, or because I see in nationalization the cure-all for every injustice. I’m for nationalization in cases where it’s necessary.


  • The rise of Communist states - dictatorship with centrally planned, nationalized economies - did more to distort and confuse the meaning of socialism than any other event in history.


  • Government ownership would serve the interests of democracy by taking this vitally necessary industry out of the grip of a mass of holding companies and financial interests intent on profits and placing it in the hands of representatives of the 150,000,000 people in these United States.
    • Harry W. Laidler, Toward Nationalization of Industry, p.18 (1949)


  • To realize fully the necessity for Nationalization we must understand the wonderful possibilities of national organization.
    • Sir Leo George Chiozza Money, The Triumph of Nationalization, p.259 (1920)
  • There is no political or moral yardstick by which the court can measure its judgment in the case of nationalization of the oil industry in Iran [...] under no condition we will accept the jurisdiction of the court on the subject. We cannot put ourselves in the dangerous situation which might arise out of the court's decision.
    • Mohammad Mosaddegh, Refusing to allow the International Court in the Hague to rule on his nationalisation of oil interests



  • It is far more likely that by the time nationalization has become the rule, and private enterprise the exception, Socialism (which is really rather a bad name for the business) will be spoken of, if at all, as a crazy religion held by a fanatical sect in that darkest of dark ages, the nineteenth century. Already, indeed, I am told that Socialism has had its day, and that the sooner we stop talking nonsense about it and set to work, like the practical people we are, to nationalize the coal mines and complete a national electrification scheme, the better.
    • George Bernard Shaw, The Intelligent Woman's Guide To Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism, And Fascism (1928).


  • I think they've made the biggest financial mess that any government's ever made in this country for a very long time, and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalise everything, and people just do not like more and more nationalisation, and they're now trying to control everything by other means. They're progressively reducing the choice available to ordinary people.
  • We in Europe have watched with admiration the burgeoning of this mighty American economy. There is a new mood in the United States. A visitor feels it at once. The resurgence of your self-confidence and your national pride is almost tangible. Now the sun is rising in the West. For many years, our vitality in Britain was blunted by excessive reliance on the State. Our industries were nationalized, controlled, and subsidized in a way that yours never were. We are having to recover the spirit of enterprise which you never lost. Many of the policies you are following are the policies we are following. You have brought inflation down. So have we. You have declared war on regulations and controls. So have we. Our Civil Service is now smaller than at any time since the War and controls on pay, prices, dividends, foreign exchange, all are gone. You have encouraged small business -- so often the source of tomorrow's jobs. So have we. But above all, we are carrying out the largest program of denationalization in our history. Just a few years ago, in Britain, privatization was thought to be a pipe dream. Now it is a reality and a popular one. Our latest success was the sale of British Telecommunications. It was the largest share issue ever to be brought to the market on either side of the Atlantic -- some 2 million people bought shares. Members of Congress, that is what capitalism is -- a system which brings wealth to the many and not just to the few.


  • Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, under and by virtue of the powers vested in me by the foregoing resolutions and statute, and by viture of all other powers thereto me enabling, do hereby, through Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, take possession and assume control at 12 o'clock noon on the twenty-eight day of December, 1917, of each and every system of transportation and the appurtenances thereof located wholly or in part within the boundaries of the continental United States and consisting of railroads, and owned or controlled systems of coastwise and inland transportation, engaged in general transportation, whether operated by steam or by electric power, including also terminals, terminal companies and terminal associations, sleeping and parlor cars, private cars and private car lines, elevators, warehouses, telegraph and telephone lines and all other equipment and appurtenances commonly used upon or operated as a part of such rail or combined rail and water systems of transportation; - to the end that such systems of transportation be utilized for the transfer and transportation of troops, war material and equipment, to the exclusion so far as may be necessary of all other traffic thereon; and that so far as such exclusive use be not necessary or desirable, such systems of transportation be operated and utilized in the performance of such other services as the national interest may require and of the usual and ordinary business and duties of common carriers.
    • Woodrow Wilson upon the nationalization of railroads, Proclamation 1419—Government Assumption of Control of Transportation Systems, December 26th, 1917 [1]

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