Daltai na Gaeilge
Proverbs

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Is maith an capall a tharraingíos a charr féin.

It is a good horse that pulls its own cart.

Note: Theodore Roosevelt extolled this virtue of self-reliance in a speech given in New York on November 11, 1903: "The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall able and willing to pull his own weight." Almost two decades later, Micheal Collins argued that this kind of economic independence was a hallmark of ancient Irish culture:

The pertinacity of Irish civilization was due to the democratic basis of its economic system, and the aristocracy of its culture.

It was the reverse of Roman civilization in which the state was held together by a central authority, controlling and defending it, the people being left to themselves in all social and intellectual matters. Highly organized, Roman civilization was powerful, especially for subduing and dominating other races, for a time. But not being rooted in the interests and respect of the people themeselves, it could not survive.

Gaelic civilization was quite different. The people of the whole nation were united, not by material forces, but by spirtitual ones. Their unity was not of any military solidarity. It came from sharing the same traditions. It came form honouring the same heroes, from inheriting the same literature, from willing obedience to the same law, the law which was their own law and reverenced by them.

They never exalted a central authority. Economically they were divided up into a number of larger and smaller units. Spiritually and socially they were one people.

Each community was independent and complete within its own boundaries. The land belonged to the people. It was held for the people by the Chief of the Clann. He was their trustee. He secured his position by the will of the people only. His successor was elected by the people.

Michael Collins, The Path to Freedom, Mercier Press, 1996, pp. 103-4.

In effect, Collins was arguing that the Irish had a federal Republic thousands of years before the United States of America and would return to it soon again. A few months later he was killed by those who thought he had betrayed the Republic.