Historical Context in The Fallacy of Success
The Industrial Revolution and Modernity: At the time of Chesterton’s composition of “The Fallacy of Success” in 1909, the industrial revolution had been underway for the better part of a century and showed no signs of slowing down. With Edward VII on the throne, Britain was an imperial superpower with colonies in India, Africa, and the Caribbean further fueling its wealth. In both the United States and Britain, the expansion of industry gave rise to the “rag-to-riches” narrative: with enough wit and grit, any plebeian can vault himself into the upper echelons of society. The Success books that Chesterton rails against draw on just such stories, citing, for example, railroad baron Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794–1877) as a model of American bootstrapping entrepreneurship. In many ways, the industrial revolution defined the culture, values, and morals of modernity—and it is in this context that Chesterton delivers his critique.
Historical Context Examples in The Fallacy of Success:
Text of Chesterton's Essay🔒
"an article called "The Instinct that Makes People Rich."..." See in text (Text of Chesterton's Essay)
"a German Jew, he may become an Anglo-Saxon..." See in text (Text of Chesterton's Essay)