The History of the Lottery

Many people play the lottery on a regular basis and it contributes billions of dollars to the economy each year. However, the odds of winning are very low and it is important to remember that you will most likely lose your money. If you want to make the most of your experience, try to view it as more of an entertainment activity than a way to get rich.

The first recorded lotteries were held in the 15th century in the Low Countries to raise money for town fortifications and charity. The prize money was often in the form of cash or goods. The prizes were distributed in a random drawing from all eligible entries. The winners were chosen by chance, and the results of the draws were made public.

In the early modern period, states used lotteries to supplement government services without imposing especially burdensome taxes on working families. But by the late twentieth century, as state budgets grew increasingly unsustainable, legalization advocates began to alter their rhetoric. They no longer argued that a national lottery would float most of a state’s budget, and they began to tout it as a “silver bullet” that could help pay for one particular line item—usually education but sometimes elder care or public parks or aid for veterans.

Tessie’s rebellion, and her eventual death, illustrate how deep-rooted tradition can be in a small town. Jackson depicts the villagers’ reluctance to question tradition and how those who do are seen as crazy or foolish.