A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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“Drugs End All Dreams” ("dead” backronym) (3/23)
“If you know how to cheat, start now” (3/23)
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Entry from April 10, 2018
“Three boxes govern the world” (ballot box, jury box, cartouch box)

"Four boxes govern the world—the cartridge box, the jury box, the ballot box, and the band box” is a saying that was very popular in the 19th century. (A band box holds articles of clothing, such as a woman’s hat.) South Carolina Governor Stephen Decatur Miller (1787-1838) developed the concept when he referred to three boxes, at a speech given at Stateburg, South Carolina, on August 19, 1830:

“There are three and only three ways, to reform our congressional legislation. The representative, judicial and belligerent principle alone can be relied on; or as they are more familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartouch box. The two first are constitutional, the last revolutionary.”

The “cartouch” (or “cartouche") box—also called a “cartridge” box—holds firearm cartridges.

The concept of four boxes was printed in the Brooklyn (NY) Evening Star on August 27, 1841:

“What Boxes govern the world? The cartridge-box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the band box.”

“Four boxes govern the world—the cartridge box, the jury box, the ballot box, and the band box” was published in the Newport (RI) Daily News on March 27, 1850.

[This entry includes research of a later entry by the Quote Investigator.]


Wikipedia: Four boxes of liberty
The four boxes of liberty is an idea that proposes: “There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Please use in that order.”

Concepts and phrases evolve and are applied in new ways. The “four boxes” phrase always includes the ballot, jury and cartridge (or ammo) boxes. Additional boxes, when specified, have sometimes been the bandbox, soapbox, moving box, or lunch box. The phrase in various forms has been used in arguments about tariff abolition, the rights of African Americans, women’s suffrage, environmentalism and gun control.
(...)
Origins
Stephen Decatur Miller may have originated the concept during a speech at Stateburg, South Carolina in September 1830. He said “There are three and only three ways to reform our Congressional legislation, familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box”. This became his campaign slogan in his successful bid for the Senate on a platform advocating the abolition of tariffs. An 1849 edition (May 1850, as cited below, is correct—ed.) of the Family Favorite and Temperance Journal extended the concept: “Four boxes govern the world:—cartridge box, ballot box, jury box, and band box”. The bandbox, originally designed to hold collar bands, was used to carry the elaborate women’s hats of the time as well as many other personal items. The quip was reproduced in the 25 December 1869 edition of the Spirit of the Times newspaper and in the 1881 Treasury of wisdom, wit and humor, odd comparisons and proverbs.

Wikipedia: Stephen Decatur Miller
Stephen Decatur Miller (May 8, 1787 – March 8, 1838) was an American politician, who served as the 52nd Governor of South Carolina from 1828 to 1830. He represented South Carolina as a U.S. Representative from 1817 to 1819, and as a U.S. Senator from 1831 to 1833.
(...)
During his successful campaign for the Senate on a platform of abolishing tariffs, he made a speech at Stateburg, South Carolina in September 1830 where he said “There are three and only three ways to reform our Congressional legislation, familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box”.

22 September 1830, The Southern Patriot (Charleston, SC), pg. 2, col. 4:
[TO THE EDITOR OF THE SOUTHERN PATRIOT.}
STATESBURG, Sep. 14th, 1830.
(...) (Col. 5.—ed.)
On the 19th of August, as stated, a great number of persons did assemble; from 400 to 600 according to the author of the account which you have published. I and many others think there was a much greater number; but that is not of so much consequence,—let us say 600.
(...) (Col. 6.—ed.)
It is also true that “Governor Miller replied to Judge Richardson in his usual impassioned and energetic manner;” and was frequently interrupted by the loud cheerings and applause of the crowd assembled around him. Both of these were very long addresses and when Governor Miller concluded dinner was on the Table and ready for the Company, ...

1 October 1830, Boston Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser (Boston, MA), pg. 1, col. 4:
EXTRACTS
From the Speech of His Excellency Gov. MILLER at the late celebration in Sumter District
(...) (Col. 5.—ed.)
There are three and only three ways, to reform our congressional legislation. The representative, judicial and belligerent principle alone can be relied on; or as they are more familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartouch box. The two first are constitutional, the last revolutionary.

7 October 1830, City Gazette & Commercial Daily Advertiser (Charleston, SC), pg. 1, col. 3:
ELEGANT EXTRACTS
McDuffie said: “If I wished to make a man ridiculous, I would make him Governor.” How prophetic! Governor MILLER, who was a tolerable good Country Court Lawyer, has made himself eminently ridiculous. He made a Speech at the late Stateburg Humbug, which “takes the rag off the bush.”

See, how classical:

“There are three and only three ways, to reform our congressional legislation. The representative, judicial and belligerent principle alone can be relied on; or as they are more familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartouch box. The two first are constitutional, the last revolutionary.”

Google Books
9 October 1830, Niles’ Weekly Register (Baltimore, MD), pg. 118, col. 1:
There are three and only three ways, to reform our congressional legislation. The representative, judicial and belligerent principle alone can be relied on; or as they are more familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartouch box. The two first are constitutional, the last revolutionary.
(Spoken by Stephen Decatur Miller, in a South Carolina speech, as in the cite above.—ed.)

21 October 1830, Pittsfield (MA) Sun, “Attack on the Press,” pg. 2, col. 4:
There are three boxes on which the press may always rely for protection—the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.

Google Books
4 June 1831, Niles’ Weekly Register (Baltimore, MD), pg. 236, col. 2:
By S. Elliott: The hon. S. D. Miller and his three boxes—if he be as well supported by the jury box and, if needs be, by the cartouch box, as he has been by the ballot box, his asperations for the honor and prosperity of his native state must be finally fulfilled.

27 August 1841, Brooklyn (NY) Evening Star, pg. 2, col. 3:
What Boxes govern the world? The cartridge-box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the band box.

Google Books
20 November 1841, The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction,, pg. 336:
What boxes govern the world? The cartridge-box, the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the band-box.—New York Paper.

27 March 1850, Newport (RI) Daily News, pg. 2, col. 4:
Four boxes govern the world—the cartridge box, the jury box, the ballot box, and the band box.

Google Books
May 1850, The Family Favorite and Temperance Journal, pg. 99:
Four boxes govern the world: — the cartridge box, the jury box, the ballot box, and the band box.

30 May 1850, St. Albans (VT) Messenger, pg. 2:
Four boxes are said to govern the world:—The cartridge-box, the ballot-box, the jury box, and the band-box. 

6 August 1851. Wisconsin Free Democrat, pg. 536:
The Four Boxes which govern this world: “The Ballot Box—the Jury Box—the Cartridge Box, and the Band Box!”

Google News Archive
14 January 1870, St. Joseph (MO) Daily Gazette, pg. 3, col. 2:
Four boxes govern the world; the cartridge box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the band box.

Google News Archive
16 March 1871, Weekly Northern Indianian (Warsaw, IN), pg. 1, col. 6:
Some wag has said that, four boxes rule the world, these four being the jury-box, the ballot-box, the cartridge-box, and the band-box.

Google Books
Treasury of Wisdom, Wit and Humor, Odd Comparisons and Proverbs
By Adam Wooléver
Philadelphia, PA: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger
1878
Pg. 42:
The four boxes that rule the world— Cartridge-box, Ballot-box, Jury-box and Band box.

Google Books
2 August 1894, The Christian Work, “Just for Fun,” pg. 198, col. 2:
“Three boxes govern the world, remarked Dusenberry, “the cartridge-box, the ballot-box, and the jury-box.” “You have omitted one very important box,” reminded his wife. “What box, my dear?” “The band-box.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Tuesday, April 10, 2018 • Permalink