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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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“Your Party will go into Pieces”

“Your Party will go into Pieces”

(p.240) 8 “Your Party will go into Pieces”
Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality

Edward T. O’Donnell

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the rise and fall of Henry George and the United Labor Party (ULP) in New York City. In particular, it considers the circumstances that led to the dissolution of the ULP and George's sudden shift away from radicalism. The Gilded Age witnessed an extraordinary period of working class activism that saw workers formulate stronger critiques of laissez-faire capitalism and engage in unprecedented collective mobilization. This chapter analyzes how internal dissention, co-optive politics, conservative religion, government-sanctioned repression by employers, and economic depression diminished the power of the labor movement after 1887. It also discusses George's decision to disassociate himself from socialists by publically condemning socialism itself. Finally, it reflects on George's influence on the emergence of social democracy or progressivism in the United States.

Keywords:   progressivism, Henry George, United Labor Party, New York City, radicalism, working class, labor movement, socialism, social democracy, laissez-faire capitalism

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