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George, Henry

Born to a middle-class family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1839, Henry George left school at age 13 and set sail aboard the ship Hindoo at age 15. As a cabin boy, George encountered the extremes of wealth and poverty around the world, and he became a lifelong advocate for sailors’ rights. Upon settling in San Francisco in 1858, he took a position as a journeyman printer and writer, and he married and started a family. After more than a decade away, he returned to Philadelphia and New York City on assignment, recognizing the contrast between poverty in the east as compared to California. In the east, he noted, a minority of the population owned less property, but wielded considerable power over the majority. He vowed ...

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