Monopoly and the Progressive Era

December 3, 2008
By Matt Gaylord, Ridgefield, CT

I was the banker boss during the game of Monopoly. It was a very fun experience because I basically controlled the whole board and I could make the farmers and store owner pay me any amount of money I wanted when they landed on the railroad. I couldn’t be placed in jail, I was eligible for free parking and whenever somebody landed on the luxury tax spot on the board, they had to pay it directly to me. I had the biggest advantage because I could basically do anything I wanted. The store owner had the second biggest advantage but didn’t have everything that I had as the banker boss. The farmers had the worst experience overall because they started off with the least amount of money, they had no property, and they would end up losing them game because they would find themselves in debt very quickly. IN my game there were two farmers but this only happened to one of them. The other farmer, who was Jeo, played his game smart and in the end came out having 3 property cards, with hotels on each of them, and a significant amount of cash. This game reflects on social conditions during the progressive era because a lot of farmers had a lot of trouble and couldn’t make it in the real world. Problems the farmers had were those such as the drought which was bad for them to plant crops and also having the banker bosses take over parts of their land so the railroad could be built. The rule changes that were in this game were very well thought out because it was basically like actually living during the progressive era, because the farmers didn’t have much during that time and in the game they didn’t either. Overall the farmers didn’t do that great, the store owners did all right, the banker bosses did the best and the outcome of the game really reflected that. During the progressive era if there was no drought, it would have been totally different because the drought is what kept the farmers from planting and harvesting crops. The production of crops is what was getting the farmers their money in the first place, and when the drought came, farmers went into a financial crisis.

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