What message is Horatio Alger trying to convey and/or convince his readers of about capitalism? I get mixed signals. The reason I ask is that he is known as a propagandist of capitalism but the...

What message is Horatio Alger trying to convey and/or convince his readers of about capitalism? I get mixed signals.

The reason I ask is that he is known as a propagandist of capitalism but the "rags to riches" slogan is based on capitalism.

Expert Answers
timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Horatio Alger represents what is probably the core principle of capitalism:  hard work, perseverence, and honesty will lead you to personal success (which is usually translated into profit/wealth).  This is the opposite of "From each according to his ability; to each according to his need."  Since the belief is that if one can do it all can do it, Alger suggests that the entire capitalist system would be the best thing for us all.  Sadly, it doesn't always work out like that; one the other hand, captialism has made us the most successful country in the modern world, both in terms of cash and in terms of human rights, so there is a lot to be said for it.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question