Alger's stories featured characters from impoverished backgrounds who, through pluck and determination and hard work, were able to make huge successes of themselves in this land of boundless opportunity.
It is such a contrast to see how times have changed.
The hero in the "The Erie Train Boy" is Fred Fenton, a hard working 17 year old boy.
From the publication of Ragged Dick in 1867 through to the 1930s, Horatio Alger's tales of young boys overcoming adversity were part of the mainstream of American culture. The phrase "a Horatio Alger story" remains synonymous with the American ideal of struggling against adversity and finally achieving success, financial and otherwise—but especially financial. As Michael Moore says in Dude, Where's My Country?, "Alger was one of the most popular American writers of the late 1800s..
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