The Political Crisis of the 1890s
|Panacea's for the Nation's Ills||Next|
|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.