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Leo Tolstoy, a prominent author of the late nineteenth century, used his fiction to explore philosophical concepts and societal issues. His works gained popularity worldwide despite their plethora of radical ideas. In particular, the novel Resurrection discusses American economist Henry George’s single-tax proposal, which aligned with Tolstoy’s ethical and religious views. It proposed collecting rent from land use to fund public goods. Scholars have thoroughly explored the connections between Resurrection and Henry George; however, the cultural impacts of those connections remain ambiguous. Using Tolstoy’s later fiction, adaptations of Resurrection, personal letters, and journal articles discussing Tolstoy’s works, a clearer picture arises. I argue that Tolstoy had an extensive impact on several American politicians and his writings helped make single-tax ideas more digestible to the public. Additionally, the complicated reception of Tolstoy’s later work indicates why single-tax policies were never enacted on a large scale despite their apparent popularity.



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Tolstoy and the Single-Tax Movement: Tracking the Later Fiction's Political Impact