bellamypaper - History 171 9 February 2007 Bellamy's Boston...

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History 171 9 February 2007 Bellamy’s Boston Edward Bellamy’s “Looking Backward: 2000-1887” was an incredibly well- received book that sold the hugely impressive amount of 500,000 copies in the U.S. alone. People of the 19 th century were desperate for change and Bellamy wrote a widely- distributed acknowledgment and critique of the terrible social conditions of the day. The Industrial Revolution brought on a never-before-seen period of strife and violence and economic depression. Bellamy’s main character, the displaced Julian West, quizzes his discover and citizen of the new Boston , Dr. Leete, on the problematic issues of the times, such as labor unions, unemployment, low wages. Bellamy’s utopia would have attracted populists, feminists, the lower classes— perhaps even the capitalists saw some sense in it. Such a bloodless transitional end to capitalism and the oppression of the corporations must have been incredibly appealing. The new Boston is a utopian society in which war is outlawed, the people are employed, healthy, and happy, education is free and compulsory, living conditions are squeaky clean, and laws no longer exist because of equal entitlement and the people’s newfound moral uprightness. Bellamy’s answer to unemployment was that “the suspended workers are at once found occupation in some other department of the vast workshop,” (146) and that, “So far as possible, indeed, the preferences of even the poorest workmen are considered in assigning them their line of work, because not only their happiness but their
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bellamypaper - History 171 9 February 2007 Bellamy's Boston...

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