The Iceman Cometh Historical Context

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During the late-1800s, anarchy, the belief that all systems of government are immoral and unnecessary, was a serious political movement in the United States. Following the assassination of President William McKinley by an anarchist in 1901, anarchists were banned from entering the country; nonetheless, the movement remained viable. Emma Goldman, perhaps the best remembered of the anarchists of this period, may have served as a model for Parritt's mother. Goldman was still quite active in 1912, the year in which The Iceman Comet is set. But by the time O'Neill wrote The Iceman Cometh in 1939, Goldman had been deported to the Soviet Union and, in 1938, the House of Representatives had set up a committee to investigate so-called un-American activities. The major movements of the radical left—anarchism, socialism, and communism—were not as strong as they had been in previous years.

During the early-...

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This section contains 932 words
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