George was a proponent of a "land value tax," also known as a "single tax." He believed that individuals should own 100% of what they made or created, but that everything found in nature, particularly land, should belong to everyone. Land was not meant to be seized, bought, sold, traded, or parceled up into city blocks where people were forced to pay exorbitant rents. If people did own land, they should pay a tax for that privilege.
Lizzie Magie and her fellow Georgists believed that the single tax would allow the poor and the working classes to keep more of their hard-earned dollars and poverty levels would diminish. It would boost production, as workers would be happier and healthier and force business owners to improve working conditions. George's philosophy is credited with influencing Winston Churchill, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Leo Tolstoy. He and Magie sometimes referred to themselves as "anti-monopolists."
When George died in 1897, many of his followers feared that without their magnetic leader, the ideals he espoused would be lost forever. Yet seven years later, Magie received a patent for her game that she hoped could be a teaching tool for the Georgist cause.
The Landlord's Game flourished among left wing intellectuals, including at Arden, Delaware, a single tax colony. Early players included Upton Sinclair, Franklin Delano Roosevelt advisor Rex Tugwell and Scott Nearing, a champion for academic freedom and a pioneer of the green movement.