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10.14.02 Agar, Herbert and Tate, Allen, Who Owns America: A New Declaration of Independence, published in 1936.

Notes Concerning Authors

Herbert Agar (1897-1980) was born in New York State and died in England.  He was an American journalist and historian, and an editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal. He won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1934 for his 1933 book The People’s Choice, a critical look at the American presidency.  He was also associated with The Southern Agrarians.

Allen Tate (1899-1979) was an American poet, essayist, social commentator, and was Poet Laureate from 1943 to 1944.  He was born in Kentucky and, at Vanderbilt University, was among the Southern Agrarians group of writers.

Our Review

The crisis of the Great Depression brought about many examinations and proposals of solution.  One of these was the Agrarian manifesto, I’ll Take My Stand by twelve Southerners.  Who Owns America? intended to put some meat on the bones of the Agrarian Program.  Agrarians allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, Donald Davidson, Robert Penn Warren, and Andrew Lytle were joined by Southern recruits like Cleanth Brooks, by a number of Northern writers, and by British Distributionists like Hilaire Belloc in elaborating on the problems of industrial capitalism and its most alternative socialism.  They explored the virtues of small scale and widespread property ownership to Big Business and socialism in 21 articles on labour, women, religion, mass production, regionalism, leisure, culture,  and daily life in an agrarian society.

A recent editor has called Who Owns America? “a forgotten American classic.”  Though few of its proposals gained traction in their own day, the ideas have remained a powerful commentary on American society still relevant today. 

Availability of this Book

This book was republished in 1999 in a relatively available print edition.  We suggest Amazon.