Literature of 1900 Looking Forward in Time

The historians who picked the assassination of President McKinley as one of the top ten events that changed American history had the benefit of looking back in time. They saw the changes that had been accomplished beginning with the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt.

There were other writers who penned a description of the twentieth century before the era began. So here I present the first of these writers to come to my attention, H. G. Wells.

The beginning of this twentieth century happens to coincide with a very interesting phase in that great development of means of land transit that has been the distinctive feature (speaking materially) of the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century, when it takes its place with the other centuries in the chronological charts of the future, will, if it needs a symbol, almost inevitably have as that symbol a steam engine running upon a railway. This period covers the first experiments, the first great developments, and the complete elaboration of that mode of transit, and the determination of nearly all the broad features of this century’s history may be traced directly or indirectly to that process. And since an interesting light is thrown upon the new phases in land locomotion that are now beginning, it will be well to begin this forecast with a retrospect, and to revise very shortly the history of the addition of steam travel to the resources of mankind.

Wells, H. G. (Herbert George) (2011-03-30). Anticipations Of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human life and Thought (Kindle Locations 39-45).  . Kindle Edition.

Wells lays out what he thinks will be the population expansion of the twentieth century. He predicts improvements in transportation and the economy of expanding and markets that first gain strength in the central cities, then diversify and expand into more evenly distributed local markets zones. He predicts changes in the social fabric of society and the substitution of atheist propaganda as a source of societies morals for the revealed religions of the past. Atheism, though he does not so state it, becomes the new religion. A new deism dictates a form of belief in God, but it is the power of evolution rather than the God of creation. The evolutionist will say of his evolved deity, “Of course I believe in God!” But it is not a God who acts, but a God who sets the universe in motion and stays out of the way.

One chapter of H. G. Wells study predicts a new World Republic based on the newly minted ethics structure. Is this the blueprint of the new world order?

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