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Jack LondonA Writer's Fight for a Better America$
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Cecelia Tichi

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622668

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622668.001.0001

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The Fight for Public Opinion

The Fight for Public Opinion

(p.37) 2 The Fight for Public Opinion
Jack London

Cecelia Tichi

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on Jack London's fight against the unbridled capitalism that he believed was the root cause of the pandemic of human misery and degradation during his time, along with his efforts to swing public opinion to his side in the late 1890s. Over London's lifetime, the capitalists had transformed America into an economic system that he accused of being exploitative. The last quarter of the nineteenth century—the years of London's life—was dubbed the era of Big Business, that is, the era of triumphant laissez-faire capitalism. This chapter examines how London fought this economic system by drawing on the popularity of boxing, both its figures of speech and its ideology of blows exchanged over many rounds. It also considers London's promotion of socialism that pit him against Ivy Ledbetter Lee; they waged their battle in the court—on the canvas—of public opinion.

Keywords:   capitalism, Jack London, public opinion, Big Business, boxing, socialism, Ivy Ledbetter Lee, America

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