Theme Of Greed In Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick

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Michael Moore once said, “Capitalism is an organized system to guarantee that greed becomes the primary force of our economic system and allows the few at the top to get very wealthy and has the rest of us riding around thinking we can be that way too - if we just work hard enough.” Had Horatio Alger met Michael Moore, he would have agreed with his sentiments about greed being a dangerous force in a capitalist society. He also would have supported the fact that Americans are hard working, but Alger, in his book Ragged Dick, paints a more optimistic view of the “respectable core” of hard working magnanimous people who made his 1860’s society work. In Alger’s depiction, holding on to respectability and disavowing greed, in addition to hard…show more content…
When Dick takes Frank around New York, it seems like every five minutes that he’s pointing out another swindler on a street corner or a “swindlin’ shop” with “[men] that are regular cheat[s].” (27) Most of these people appear to be of the same class as Dick, and determined as much money as possible, no matter the consequences or negative effects it may have on those around them?. However, Alger also shows that large corporations can be greedy cheats as well. Dick says “Some of these mining companies are nothing but swindles, got up to cheat people out of their money.” (33). Dick also consistently comments on how he has all of his money tied up in shares of the Erie railroad (4), which is an infamous example of “watered stock” in which the stocks were oversold and people could continue to buy these stocks, despite them becoming almost worthless. Finally, Alger even includes examples of/ Dick even has experiences that depict the upper class as being cruel and greedy, desperate to protect however much money they
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