Thinking Out Loud

A Churchill Quote and a College Student’s Interpretation

work horse

Winston Churchill said:

Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.

I’m in the middle of writing a speech for my Public Speaking class this semester. It’s supposed to be about how we can make a difference in our community. I’m going to talk about how supporting small businesses can make a difference.

In the process of looking for interesting sources I came across this quote. I just love it, and I want to use it in my speech.

But I’m wondering: Will people understand what is being implied by the phrase “a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon”?

Churchill meant that small, local business (or private enterprise as he says it) are necessary and vital to the economy. In today’s context though, horses are thought of as a big novelty. Only the rich, the eccentric, or the rancher, farmer or big land owner keep horses. But in Churchill’s day, horses were still thought of as creatures who could get the job done.

So what do you think? Can I use this quote without having to explain it to everyone? Did you understand it in the same context as Winston Churchill meant it, or did it have a different meaning to you at first? Let me know in the comments!


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