In today's New York Times, David Brooks has a column in which he quotes John Adams, praises the "Calvinist restraint" of early settlers in America, and claims that "Over the past few years, however, there clearly has been an erosion in the country's financial values." He writes, "Evidence of this shift in values is all around. Some of the signs are seemingly innocuous. States around the country began sponsoring lotteries: government-approved gambling that extracts its largest toll from the poor." Mr. Brooks must have an expansive definition of the word "few years." Mr. Brooks may be right or wrong about the country's economic values and whether they have undergone a shift, and one may agree or disagree with him about whether government-run lotteries are a good idea. He's off base, though, in the claim that the lottery is a departure from the practices of America's colonial past or its founding generation. This page carries a wonderful collection of links to, among other things, the Massachusetts lottery of 1744-1745, the Massachusetts lottery of 1778-1780, the Philadelphia lottery of 1748, the Rhode Island lottery of 1761, and the lotteries run by the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1782.