The Aims of Single-Taxism

Henry George

[From a speech titled "God Wills It," delivered 4 September, 1887
and a statement included in the Syracuse Platform, 19 August, 1887]

Our purpose, our aim, is, by abolishing monopolies, by giving to each his equal right and his equal opportunity, to bring about a state of-things in which no human being shall suffer want, unless it be by his own fault; in which there shall be no child that shall go hungry; in which there shall be no woman, be she maid, wife, or widow, who will be driven to unsex herself by hard and unseemly work; to bring about a state of things in which there shall be work for all, leisure for all, opportunity for all; in which not merely the necessities of life, but even the luxuries and refinements of a high civilization shall be the portion of all.

We have a faith -- that our Father in heaven did not decree poverty, but that it exists because of the violation of His law. We have a belief-that poverty can be abolished by conforming human laws and institutions to the great principles of equal justice. And having this faith, and having this belief, we have a destiny. That destiny is to abolish poverty in the United States of America, and in doing so, to fire a beacon that will light the whole world.


What we propose is not the disturbing of any man in his holding or title, but by abolishing all taxes on industry or its products, to leave to the producer the full fruits of his exertion and by the taxation of land values, exclusive of improvements, to devote to the common use and benefit those values, which, arising not from the exertion of the individual, but from the growth of society, belong justly to the community as a whole. This increased taxation of land, not according to its area, but according to its value, must, while relieving the working farmer and small homestead owner of the undue burdens now placed upon them, make it unprofitable to hold land for speculation, and thus throw open abundant opportunities for the employment of labor and the building up of homes.