Horatio Alger’s Works and Virtues All But Forgotten

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Horatio Alger Jr., an author whose name became synonymous for achieving success through hard work, pluck and perseverance, was born Jan. 13, 1832. Alger earned a degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1860 and became a Unitarian minister in 1864. However, he soon abandoned that pulpit for a bigger one.

Alger’s first book, Ragged Dick; or, Street Life in New York with the Bootblacks, was published three years later. It told the story of how a downtrodden shoeshine boy, through hard work, courage and determination, lifted himself “by his bootstraps” to a life of prosperity and respect.

Alger went on to write 134 other “dime novels,” each one celebrating the virtues of honesty, thrift, hard work and generosity. In a nation hungering for encouragement in the aftermath of the horrendous War Between the States, virtually all of them became bestsellers. The author’s very name became a synonym for success through hard work, as in, “His is a real Horatio Alger story.”

For many years Alger’s books rivaled those of Mark Twain in popularity. Today, sad to say, both he and his works are virtually forgotten. Even sadder, so are many of the virtues he portrayed.

—Chip Wood

Chip Wood

is the geopolitical editor of PersonalLiberty.com. He is the founder of Soundview Publications, in Atlanta, where he was also the host of an award-winning radio talk show for many years. He was the publisher of several bestselling books, including Crisis Investing by Doug Casey, None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham and The War on Gold by Anthony Sutton. Chip is well known on the investment conference circuit where he has served as Master of Ceremonies for FreedomFest, The New Orleans Investment Conference, Sovereign Society, and The Atlanta Investment Conference.