Henry George was a journalist, writer, and political economist in the United States in the nineteenth century. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 2, 1839. He moved west to California where he became a journalist and ultimately came to own the San Francisco Evening Post. In 1879, George published his most famous work, Progress and Poverty. In this book, George investigated the reasons for economic downturns and poverty. He noticed that, as a society becomes wealthier, there is also an increase in economic suffering. George believed that that suffering was caused by a lack of access to land ownership. He became an advocate for a concept known as the "single tax," where those who owned land would pay a fee for the privilege. This fee would take the place of taxes owed by workers and pay for the cost of government.
Some Progressives, both in Ohio and elsewhere, found George's theories to be very appealing. They advocated that the government adopt the concept of the single tax. Tom L. Johnson, reform mayor of Cleveland, and Samuel "Golden Rule" Jones, mayor of Toledo, were both supporters of the single tax idea. Despite interest among some Progressives, a majority of Americans never supported the single tax, and it never became law.