The writings of the Progressive Simon Patton compared markedly to the writings of the Guilded Age social theorists like Henry George and Edward Bellamy in two ways. First, they all defined freedom in different ways and second, they all had different views of America and what direction it should move in from their point of view. Simon Patton wanted to redraw the boundary of freedom by “identifying and excluding those unworthy of the blessings of liberty (Foner, 654).
” By this, he meant that people who did not desire to support the mission and goals of the United States should be necessarily excluded from the liberty the country had to offer. Patton viewed America optimistically. He saw that there would be an end to the “reign of want (Foner 689). ” He thought that economic equality would be enjoyed, and everyone would be free and independent. Henry George rejected the traditional equation of freedom equaling land ownership.
He saw government as repressive, and thought government’s role would and should be limited to enhancing the quality of life for the people. He viewed America as a country of cooperative land ownership. He thought a flat tax that was high enough would end urban and rural land speculation. He wanted to make land the common property of the people. Edward Bellamy promoted socialist ideas. He saw freedom as “a social condition resting on interdependence, not autonomy (Foner, 627). He viewed America as a place where individuals should strive to be free of government restraint.
Cooperation should replace class strife. Bellamy held out hope of “retaining the material abundance made possible by capitalism while eliminating inequality (Foner, 628). ” Finally, he proposed that the state guarantee economic stability to all. Though these three men had different views for America, they all had one thing in common, that is, to make America the best possible place to live. Works Cited Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! Volume 2. 2nd. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2008.
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