1. Having awakened the revolutionary itch that has been shaking the peoples for a long time, it was to be expected that the desire to change everything would one day spill over from the field of politics to the field, adjacent to it, of the economy. Indeed, the advances of industry and the arts, which are walking in new directions; the change in mutual relations between employers and workers; the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few and the poverty of the vast majority; the greater confidence of the workers in themselves and the closer cohesion between them, together with the relaxation of morale, have determined the approach of the contest. What and how great the importance of the things that go into it is seen by the piercing anxiety in which all spirits live; This same thing puts into activity the ingenuities of the learned, informs the meetings of the wise, the assemblies of the people, the judgment of the legislators, the decisions of the rulers, to the point that there seems to be no other theme that can occupy more deeply the desires of men.
Thus, since we must watch over the cause of the Church and the common salvation, we believe it opportune, venerable brethren, and for the same reasons, to do, with regard to the situation of the workers, what we have accustomed, writing to you letters on the matter. political power, over human freedom, over the Christian constitution of States and others like it, which we deem appropriate to refute the sophisms of some opinions. This subject has been dealt with by Nos incidentally already more than once; But the conscience of our apostolic office prompts us to try and attempt the whole question in this encyclical, so that the principles with which to settle the dispute as the truth and justice demand it shine forth. The matter is difficult to deal with and not without its dangers. It is difficult really to determine the rights and duties within which the rich and the proletarians, those who contribute capital and those who put in the work, must maintain themselves. It is a dangerous discussion, because it is often used by turbulent and cunning men to distort the judgment of the truth and to seditiously incite mobs. Be that as it may, however, whatever you want, we clearly see, in which all agree, that it is urgent to provide in a timely manner for the good of people of humble condition, since the majority are indecorously debated in a miserable and calamitous, since, dissolved in the last century the old craftsmen’s guilds, without any support to fill their void, ignoring the public institutions and the laws of the religion of our ancestors, time was insensibly giving up the workers, isolated and defenseless, to the inhumanity of businessmen and the unbridled greed of competitors.