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To Succeed One Must First Dream in Looking Backwards by Edward Bellamy

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Set in the late 19th and early 21th century, Looking Backwards is a utopian novel discussing the advantages of socialism, a political philosophy that many disenchanted intellectuals of the 19th century believed in. Edward Bellamy, the author, is included in that class of intellectuals. By being transported to the "modern day," Julian West, the protagonist, is able to contrast the two societies he has lived in: the capitalistic 19th century and the utopian, socialist 20th century. Julian West, a member of the aristocratic class in Boston, lives an enchanted life among societies most wealthy members. He doesn't have to work much at all, and he is due to be married to Boston socialite Edith Bartlett. Because his mansion is in a newly…show more content…
Dumbfounded, Julian thinks his friends are playing a joke on him, but Dr. Leete, one the "strangers," confirms that he is really in 2000. To convince Julian, Dr. Leete shows him a glimpse of modern-day Boston. Mr. West is amazed at the grandiosity and cleanliness of the new Boston. Wondering how modern-day Boston came to be, Julian asks Dr. Leete why, and he explains that the government has consolidated all industries into one industrial army. With the consolidation, social harmony and equality ensued. The reason for the momentous change in society was that, "They [19th century poor] believed that the great corporations were preparing for them the yoke of a baser servitude than had ever been imposed on the race, servitude not to men but to soulless machines incapable of any motive but insatiable greed. (Page 30/180)" Bellamy emphasizes that the change was a rational and rather simple evolution in humankind. After this complete upheaval in the socio-economic systems of the United States, hunger and poverty were eliminated, efficiency in the industrial system was maximised, and citizens were enabled to choose whatever profession they so choose and earn the same amount of pay as their neighbour. Also, Dr. Leete explains that money is no longer needed as it was a only a function of the old, capitalist system. Instead, workers are given "credit cards" that have holes that can be punched out of them. Once one is
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