I was today years old when I learned that the game of Monopoly was actually complete plagiarism of a game that was released three decades before the Parker Brothers game came out. Elizabeth Magie grew up in Monroe, Illinois, and was not only a newspaper publisher but also an abolitionist who traveled with Abraham Lincoln around Illinois in the late 1850s debating politics. No one knows for sure if she may have been with him when he visited Kalamazoo in 1856. One thing is for sure though: This was a driven woman, and for the time, someone who men may have found very intimidating. She even received a patent for a part that made typewriting easier.

But it was her other invention that has drummed up a lot of controversies as it would seem a game she revolutionized was seemingly stolen from her. The Landlord's Game had two sets of rules: Prosperity rules is where every player won money anytime another gained a property. The game was won by everyone playing only when the person with the least doubled their resources. A game of collaboration and social good. The second set of rules was called Monopoly rules, where players succeeded by taking properties and rent from those with less luck rolling the dice. The winner was the person who used their power to eliminate everyone else. Does that game sound familiar?

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Parker Brother Claims

Charles Darrow from Parker Brothers is the one who is credited for coming up with the game of Monopoly, saying that he came up with the idea in his basement, but this was argued by Magie throughout the years.

One person put it very bluntly and made an excellent point about the difference between the two rules and the symbolism of the controversy as it pertains to the game itself:

Magie's mission was to teach us how different we feel when playing Prosperity vs Monopoly, hoping that it would one day change national policies. When the Parker Bros adopted the game, they erased Magie, they erased the "Prosperity" rules and celebrated "Monopoly". This is why very few games of Monopoly end in better friendships! Some even end friendships! What they couldn't erase was Magie's lesson.

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