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Henry George and the Crisis of InequalityProgress and Poverty in the Gilded Age$
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Edward O'Donnell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231120005

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231120005.001.0001

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“To Save Ourselves from Ruin”

“To Save Ourselves from Ruin”

Chapter:
(p.201) 7 “To Save Ourselves from Ruin”
Source:
Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality
Author(s):

Edward T. O’Donnell

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231120005.003.0007

This chapter examines Henry George's election campaign for the mayor of New York City in 1886 under the banner of the Central Labor Union's (CLU) United Labor Party. If elected, George pledged he would be mayor to all classes and interests in the city, not just the wealthy. He vowed to uphold law and order, and to eliminate the rampant abuses of the law enforcement establishment—direct appeals to the central tenets of working-class republicanism that had been so dramatically violated in the recent crackdown on organized labor. George saw himself in a no-lose situation. He might very well lose the election, but at the very least he would attract significant attention to his single tax reform. The election returns indicate that George succeeded in garnering substantial ethnic working-class votes. He garnered an impressive 68,110 votes (31 percent), finishing second to Democrat Abram Hewitt (41 percent) and ahead of Republican Theodore Roosevelt (28 percent). Despite Tammany Hall's still strong hold on New York politics, the election results revealed the great opportunities that lay before the ULP.

Keywords:   election, Henry George, election campaign, mayor, New York City, Central Labor Union, United Labor Party, single tax, working class, Tammany Hall

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