|Panacea's for the Nation's Ills
|Digital History ID 3121
During the late nineteenth century, a growing number of Americans
feared that the country's republican traditions were being steadily
eroded by the growth of business monopolies, government corruption,
and the violent struggle between capital and labor. In a series
of best-selling books, a number of Protestant reformers envisioned
a "cooperative society" and proposed cure-all formulas
to solve the nation's social and economic problems.
Henry George's 1879 book Progress and Poverty, argued
that poverty and inequality were the product of the unearned increase
in land values and that unemployment and monopolies could be eliminated
through the abolition of all taxes except for a single tax on
land. Edward Bellamy, in an 1888 bestseller Looking Backward,
described an ideal society in the year 2000 in which the government
nationalized all resources and takes over all business operations.
William Hope Harvey, in Coin's Financial School, proposed
to solve the nation's economic problems by backing the dollar
with silver as well as gold.
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