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Land and Liberty

Henry George and the Crafting of Modern Liberalism

Christopher William England

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A comprehensive history of Henry George and the single tax movement.

In 1912, Sun Yat-sen announced the birth of the Chinese Republic and promised that it would be devoted to the economic welfare of all its people. In shaping his plans for wealth redistribution, he looked to an American now largely forgotten in the United States: Henry George. In Land and Liberty, Christopher William England excavates the lost history of one of America's most influential radicals and explains why so many activists were once inspired by his proposal to tax landed wealth.

Drawing on the private papers of a…

A comprehensive history of Henry George and the single tax movement.

In 1912, Sun Yat-sen announced the birth of the Chinese Republic and promised that it would be devoted to the economic welfare of all its people. In shaping his plans for wealth redistribution, he looked to an American now largely forgotten in the United States: Henry George. In Land and Liberty, Christopher William England excavates the lost history of one of America's most influential radicals and explains why so many activists were once inspired by his proposal to tax landed wealth.

Drawing on the private papers of a network of devoted believers, Land and Liberty represents the first comprehensive account of this important movement to nationalize land and expropriate rent. Beginning with concerns about rising rents in the 1870s and ending with the establishment of New Deal policies that extended public control over land, natural resources, and housing, "Georgism" served as a catalyst for reforms intended to make the nation more democratic. Many of these concerns remain relevant today, including the exploitation of natural resources, rising urban rent, and wealth inequality.

At a time when class divisions sparked fears that capitalism and democracy were incompatible, hopes of building a social welfare state using the rents of idle landlords revitalized the middle class's conviction that democracy and liberty could be reconciled. Against steep odds, George made land nationalization vital to the politics of a nation dominated by small farmers and helped push liberalism leftward through his calls for collective rights to land and natural resources.

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Christopher William England

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Reviews

This is the definitive account to date of the life and influence of perhaps the important and under-appreciated economic thinker of all time. In this era of housing crises, network monopolies, and populist politics, Henry George's vision and example have never been more relevant. Those building the future are taking notice and should read this book with keen interest.

Henry George was an economic 'rockstar' who revolutionized how everyday people thought about the problems of wealth inequality and monopoly power that still plague capitalism today. With this fine book, we get not only the splendid biography George deserved, but a compelling story of his forgotten role in the shaping of progressive thought.

There has never been an American intellectual (or politician) quite like Henry George. Christopher England not only contextualizes him—with all his virtues and flaws—within American liberalism but also reveals his often-hidden influence during his own lifetime and afterwards. A brilliant biography.

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Book Details

Release Date
Publication Date
Status
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Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
368
ISBN
9781421445403
Table of Contents

Introduction: Land and Liberty
1. Progress and Poverty: Land and Inequality in the Liberal Tradition
2. The Prophet of San Francisco: Confronting the Modern Metropolis
3. The Truths of Smith and Proudhon

Introduction: Land and Liberty
1. Progress and Poverty: Land and Inequality in the Liberal Tradition
2. The Prophet of San Francisco: Confronting the Modern Metropolis
3. The Truths of Smith and Proudhon: Crafting a New Liberalism
4. Labor Omnia Vincit: Crafting the Movement
5. The Democracy of Henry George: Joining the Democratic Mainstream
6. A Great and Glorious City: The Single Tax and Urban Reform in Ohio
7. Seeing the Cat: Ideology and Movement Culture
8. The Good Ship Earth: The Global Single Tax
9. Justice Not Charity: The Fels Fund and the Implementation of Land Value Taxation
10. Conservation for the People: Land Nationalization and Conservation
11. The Point of Least Resistance: Woodrow Wilson and the Single Tax Movement
12. The Will to Believe: The Decline of the Single Tax Movement and the Rise of Regional Planning
13. Back to the Land: The New Deal, Land Policy, and the Single Tax Movement
Conclusion: Henry George and the Promise of Liberalism
Acknowledgements
Note on Sources
Archival Collections
Notes
Index

Author Bio