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Word Count: 779
At the turn of the century a spirit of reform known as progressivism took hold of many American people Less a united movement than a loose gathering of casual and improbable alliances progressivism targeted the massive problems of an urban industrialized nation In spite of resistance progressives were able to redefine governments role in American life make a serious run for the White House and ratify such lasting reforms In the nightfall of the 1800s many citizens could see that existing efforts to solve the substantial problems of industrialization were failing The 1880s and 1890s were filled with lively debates about how to reform society The ideas of journalists Henry George and Edward Bellamy were among the most popular In 1879 Henry George had written a book Progress and Poverty in an effort to explain why an advanced civilization seemed to increase rather than eliminate poverty George proposed to solve this problem by ending taxes on improvements on land such as housing and cultivation George proposed just a single tax - on the value of land itself Such a tax would make a speculation in land less attractive by increasing the cost of holding land without using it In 1888 newspaper editor Edward Bellamy published a novel called Looking Backward Incorporated into the novel was the story of a man being hypnotized and waking up in the year 2000 All of the harsh working conditions social class set backs and political corruption that existed in 1887 no longer existed The reason for such a change was that government had nationalized the great trusts and organized industrial management Socialists unionists and city government reformers also had many followers Progressives realized that the nations free enterprise system often could be unfair but they did not want to lose the high standard of living and personal liberty it had given them and they deeply feared the violence of revolution Thus progressives were faced with the question of
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