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This article is about the political organization which existed from 1901 to 1973. For successor parties, see Social Democrats, USA and Socialist Party, USA.


The Socialist Party of America (SPA or SP) was a democratic socialist political party in the United Statesmarker, formed in 1901 by a merger between the three-year-old Social Democratic Party of America and disaffected elements of the Socialist Labor Party which had split from the main organization in 1899.

In the first decades of the 20th Century, it drew significant support from many different groups, including trade unionists, progressive social reformers, populist farmers, and immigrant communities. Its presidential candidate, Eugene V. Debs, won over 900,000 votes in 1912 and 1920, while the party also elected members of the United States House of Representatives (Victor L. Berger and Meyer London) and numerous state legislators and mayors. The party's staunch opposition to American involvement in World War I, although welcomed by many, also led to prominent defections, official repression and vigilante persecution. The organization was further shattered by a factional war over how it should respond to Russia's Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and the establishment of the Communist International in 1919.

After endorsing Robert LaFollette's presidential campaign in 1924, the Socialist Party returned to independent action and experienced modest growth in the early 1930s behind presidential candidate Norman Thomas. After the 1920s, however, the Party's appeal was weakened by the popularity of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, the superior organization and tactical flexibility of the Communist Party under Earl Browder, and the resurgent labor movement's need for friendly government policies. A divisive and ultimately-unsuccessful attempt to broaden the party by admitting followers of Leon Trotsky and Jay Lovestone caused the traditional "Old Guard" to leave and form the Social Democratic Federation. While the party was always strongly anti-Fascist, as well as anti-Stalinist, the SP's ambivalent attitude towards World War II cost it both internal and external support.

The SP stopped running Presidential candidates after 1956, when its nominee Darlington Hoopes won fewer than 3,000 votes. In the party's last decades, its members, many of them prominent in the labor, peace, civil rights and civil liberties movements, fundamentally disagreed about the socialist movement's relationship to the Democratic Party domestically and how best to advance democracy abroad. In 1972–73, these strategic differences had become so acute that the Socialist Party shattered into three successor groups.

History

Early history



From 1901 to the onset of World War I, the Socialist Party had numerous elected officials. There were two Socialist members of Congress, Meyer London of New York Citymarker and Victor Berger of Milwaukeemarker (a part of the sewer socialism movement, a major front in socialism, Milwaukee being the first city (and the only major one) to elect a socialist mayor, which it did four times between 1910 and 1960); over 70 mayors, and many state legislators and city councilors. Its voting strength was greatest among recent Jewish, Finnish and German immigrants, coal miners, and former Populist farmers in the Midwest. From 1900 (before its formal union) to 1912, the Socialist Party ran Eugene Debs for President at each election. The best showing ever for a Socialist ticket was in 1912, when Debs gained 901,551 total votes, or 6% of the popular vote. In 1920 Debs ran again, this time from prison, and received 913,693 votes, 3.4% of the total.

Early political perspectives ranged from radical socialism to social democracy, with New York party leader Morris Hillquit and Congressman Berger on the more social democratic or right wing of the party and radical socialists and syndicalists, including members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the party's frequent candidate, Eugene V. Debs, on the left wing of the party. As well there were agrarian utopian-leaning radicals, such as Julius Wayland of Kansas, who edited the party's leading national newspaper, Appeal to Reason along with trade unionists; Jewish, Finnish, and German immigrants; and intellectuals such as Walter Lippmann and the Black activist/intellectual Hubert Harrison.

The party had a tense and complicated relationship with the American Federation of Labor (AF of L). The AF of L leadership, headed by Samuel Gompers was strongly opposed to the SPA, but many rank and file unionists in the early party of the 20th Century saw in the Socialists reliable political allies. Many moderate Socialists, such as Victor Berger and International Typographical Union President Max S. Hayes, urged close cooperation with the AF of L and its member unions. Others in the Socialist Party's ranks dismissed the AF of L and its craft unions as antiquated and irrelevant, instead favoring the much more radical Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the syndicalist path to socialism.

In 1911, IWW leader William "Big Bill" Haywood was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party, on which AF of L partisan Morris Hillquit also served. The syndicalist and the electoral socialist squared off in a lively public debate in New York City's Cooper Union on Jan. 11, 1912, with Haywood declaring that Hillquit and the socialists ought to try "a little sabotage in the right place at the proper time" and attacked Hillquit for having abandoned the class struggle by helping the New York garment workers negotiate an industrial agreement with their employers. Hillquit replied that he had no new message rather than to reiterate a belief in a two-sided workers movement, with separate and equal political and trade union arms. "A mere change of structural forms would not revolutionize the American labor movement as claimed by our extreme industrialists," he declared.

The issue of "syndicalism vs. socialism" was bitterly fought over the next two years, consumated by "Big Bill" Haywood's recall from the SPA's NEC and the departure of a broad section of the left wing from the organization. The memory of this split made the intra-party battles of 1919-1921 all the more bitter.

Eugene V.
Debs, founding member and icon of the SPA.
The party's opposition to World War I caused a sharp decline in membership. An increase in the membership of its language federations from areas involved in the Bolshevik Revolution proved illusory, since these members were soon lost to the Communist Labor Party.The party also lost some of its most prominent members, who had been in favor of America's entry into World War I, including Walter Lippmann, John Spargo, J.G. Phelps Stokes, and William English Walling. They briefly formed the National Party, in an unrealized hope of merging with the remnants of Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party and the Prohibition Party.

In June 1918 the Party's best-known leader, Eugene Victor Debs made an anti-war speech calling for draft resistance; he was arrested under the Sedition Act of 1918, convicted and sentenced to serve ten years in prison. He was pardoned by President Warren G. Harding in 1921.

The split of the left wing (1919-1921)

In January 1919 Vladimir Lenin invited the Industrial Workers of the World and the radical wing of the Socialist Party to join in the founding of the Communist Third International, the Comintern.

The Left Wing Section of the Socialist Party emerged as an organized faction early that same year, building its organization around a lengthy Left Wing Manifesto authored by Louis C. Fraina. This effort to organize in order to "win the Socialist Party for the Left Wing" met with staunch resistance from the "Regulars" who controlled a big majority of the seats of the SPA's governing National Executive Committee. When it seemed certain that the 1919 party elections for a new NEC had been dominated by the Left Wing, the sitting NEC, citing voting irregularities, refused to tally the votes, declared the entire election invalid and in May 1919 suspended the party's Russian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Polish, South Slavic, and Hungarian language federations, in addition to the entire state organization of Michigan. In future weeks, the state organizations of Massachusetts and Ohio would similarly be disfranchised and "reorganized" by the NEC, while in New York and Pennsylvania, the "Regular" State Executive Committees undertook reorganization of Left Wing branches and locals on a case-by-case basis.

Adolph Germer, Executive Secretary during the 1919 fight.
June of 1919, the Left Wing Section held a conference in New York City to discuss their organizational plans. The group found themselves deeply divided, with one section, led by NEC members Alfred Wagenknecht and L.E. Katterfeld and including famed radical journalist John Reed favoring a continued effort to gain control of the SPA at its forthcoming Emergency National Convention in Chicago, to be held at the end of August, while another section, headed by the Russian Socialist Federation of Alexander Stoklitsky and Nicholas Hourwich and the Socialist Party of Michigan seeking to wash their hands of the Socialist Party and immediately move to the establishment of a new Communist Party of America. Eventually this latter Federation-dominated group was joined by important Left Wingers C.E. Ruthenberg and Louis Fraina, a depletion of Left Wing forces which made the result of the 1919 Socialist Convention a foregone conclusion.

, the plans of Wagenknecht, Reed & Co. to fight it out at the 1919 Emergency National Convention continued apace. With the most radical state organizations effectively purged by the Regulars (Massachusetts, Minnesota) or unable to participate (Ohio, Michigan), and the Left Wing language federations suspended, a big majority of the hastily elected delegates to the gathering were controlled by the Executive Secretary Adolph Germer and the Regulars. A group of Left Wingers without delegate credentials, including John Reed and his sidekick Benjamin Gitlow, made an effort to occupy chairs on the convention floor before the gathering was called into order. The incumbents were unable to block the Left Wingers at the door, but soon called the already present police to their aid, and the officers of the law obligingly expelled the boisterous radicals from the hall. With the Credentials Committee firmly in the hands of the Regulars from the outset, the outcome of the gathering was no longer in doubt and most of the remaining Left Wing delegates departed, to meet with other co-thinkers downstairs in a previously-reserved room in a parallel convention. It was this gathering which established itself as the Communist Labor Party on August 31, 1919.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Chicago the Federations and Michiganders and their supporters established the Communist Party of America at a convention gaveled to order on September 1, 1919. Unity between these two communist organizations was a lengthy and complicated process, formally taking place at a secret convention held at the Overlook Mountain House hotel near Woodstock, New Yorkmarker in May 1921 with the establishment of a new unified "Communist Party of America."

A Left Wing loyal to the Communist International remained in the Socialist Party through 1921, continuing the fight to bring the SPA into the ranks of the Comintern. This group, which opposed the underground secret organizations which the Communist Parties had become, included noted party journalist J. Louis Engdahl and Young People's Socialist League head William Kruse as well as a significant segment of the SPA's Chicago organization, continued to make itself felt until leaving the party after the convention of 1921.

Expulsion of Socialists from the New York Assembly (1920)

On January 7, 1920, less than a week after the sensational Palmer Raids had swept and stunned America, a new session of the New York State Assembly was called to order. The first order of business was the election of a Speaker. The majority Republicans easily elected their candidate for the post, Thaddeus C. Sweet by a vote of 110 to 40. After about two and a half hours of pro forma banter, including the reading of the Governor's message and a speech of thanks and appreciation by the new Speaker, the body took a brief recess. After the break, Sweet resumed the chair and in a cold, measured tone declared: "The Chair directs the Sergeant-at-Arms to present before the Bar of the House Samuel A. DeWitt, Samuel Orr, Louis Waldman, Charles Solomon, and August Claessens." The carefree atmosphere of the opening day was suddenly transformed as the Sergeant-at-Arms escorted the five Socialist members of the Assembly to the "well" of the House, a depression in the center of the chamber, about six feet below the speakers' chair. Sweet launched into an attack on the five democratically elected Socialists, declaring they had been "elected on a platform that is absolutely inimical to the best interests of the state of New York and the United States." The Socialist Party, Sweet announced, was "not truly a political party," but was rather "a membership organization admitting within its ranks aliens, enemy aliens, and minors." The party had denounced America's participation in the European war and had lent aid and comfort to Ludwig Martens, the "self-styled Soviet Ambassador and alien, who entered this country as a German in 1916." It had supported the revolutionaries in Germany, Austria, and Hungary, Sweet continued, and consorted with international Socialist parties close to the Communist International. Sweet concluded:
"It is every citizen's right to his day in court. If this house should adopt a resolution declaring your seat herein vacant, pending a hearing before a tribunal of this house, you will be given an opportunity to appear before such tribunal to prove your right to a seat in this legislative body, and upon the result of such hearing and the findings of the Assembly tribunal, your right to participate in the actions of this body will be determined."
Morris Hillquit, Chairman of the SPA at the time of his death in 1933.
And with that the Assembly moved to immediately suspend the quintent, by a vote of 140 to 6 — with a sole Democrat coming to the aid of the Socialists. One of the great political battles of the year was thus set in motion. Civil libertarians and concerned citizens raised their voices to aid the suspended Socialists, and protest percolated throughout the press. These arguments carried public debate to a large degree, to the effect that majority parties expelling elected members of minority parties from their councils was an ill-considered action which set a dangerous precedent in a democracy. This battle culminated in a highly publicized trial in the Assembly, a proceeding which dominated the body's activity from its opening on January 20, 1920, until its conclusion on March 11. Socialist Party leader and former 1917 New York City mayoral candidate Morris Hillquit serving as chief counsel for the suspended Socialists, aided by party founder (and future Socialist Vice Presidential candidate) Seymour Stedman.

In the trial, Hillquit charged that Speaker Sweet had made a "specific, concrete, definite, affirmative declaration of guilt" of the five Assemblymen before they were ever charged with any offense. It was the chief accuser, Speaker Sweet, who also appointed the members of the Judiciary Committee to which the matter was referred. "Thus the accuser selects his own judges," Hillquit declared. Hillquit sought to remove for reasons of bias any members of the Judiciary Committee who had taken part in the activities of the Lusk Committee, the New York State Senate's anti-radicalism committee, which had directed raids in preparing a massive four volume report on the matter. Hillquit particularly challenged the presence of Assemblyman Louis Cuvillier, who had stated on the floor of the house the previous night words to the effect that "if the five accused Assemblymen are found guilty, they ought not to be expelled, but taken out and shot." This effort by Hillquit proved unfruitful, with the Assembly voting overwhelmingly for expulsion on April 1, 1920.

A special election was held September 16, 1920, to fill the five seats vacated by the Assembly, with all five of the expelled Socialists running for re-election against a "fusion" candidate of the combined Republican and Democratic parties. All five of the ousted Socialists were returned to office by their electorates.

The will of the voters was again denied, however, with three of the five newly re-elected Socialists (Waldman, Claessens, Solomon) denied their seats after contentious debate by votes of 90 to 45 on September 21, 1920. Orr and DeWitt, having been deemed less culpable than their peers by the previous findings of the Judiciary Committee, were seated by votes of 87 to 48, but the pair refused to take their seats in solidarity with their ousted colleagues.

After the five seats were again vacated, Morris Hillquit expressed his disappointment at the "unconstitutional action" of the Assembly. However, Hillquit continued, "it will draw the issues clearer between the united Republican and Democratic parties representing arbitrary lawlessness, and the Socialist Party, which stood and stands for democratic and representative government."

The quest for a mass Farmer-Labor Party (1922-1925)

In the first half of 1919, the Socialist Party had over 100,000 dues paying members; by the second half of 1921, it had been shattered. Fewer than 14,000 members remained in party ranks, with the departure of the large and large and well-funded Finnish Socialist Federation adding to the malaise. In September of 1921, the NEC of the party determined that the time had come to end the party's historic aversion to "fusion" with other political organizations and issue an appeal declaring that the "forces of every progressive, liberal, and radical organization of the workers must be mobilized" to repel conservative assaults and "advance the industrial and political power of the working class." This desire for common action seems to have been shared by various unions, as late in 1921 a call was issued in the name of the country's 16 major railway labor unions seeking a "Conference for Progressive Political Action" (CPPA). The CPPA was originally intended to be an umbrella organization bringing together various elements of the farmer and labor movement around a common program. Invitations to the group's founding conference were issued to members of a wide variety of "progressive" organizations of widely varied perspectives. As a result, from its inception the heterogeneous body was unable to agreee on even a program or even a declaration of principles, let alone congeal into a new political party.

The Socialist Party was an enthusiastic supporter of the CPPA, and the group dominated its thinking from the start of 1922 through the first quarter of 1925. The party sought, in this period of organizational weakness, to forge lasting ties with the existing trade union movement leading in short order to a mass labor party in the United States on the British model.

A first National Conference of the CPPA was held in Chicago in February of 1922, attended by 124 delegates representing a broad spectrum of labor, farmer, and political organizations. The gathering passed an "Address to the American People," stating its criticism of existing conditions and formally proposing an amorphous plan of action validating the status quo ante: the labor unions on the group's right wing to endorse labor-friendly candidates of the Democratic Party, the Socialists and Farmer-Labor Party adherents on the group's left wing to conduct their own independent campaigns. Perhaps the most important thing the CPPA did at its first National Conference, from the Socialist Party's perspective, was agree to meet again. The SP leadership understood the process of building an independent third party which could count on the allegiance of the country's trade union leadership would be a protracted process, and the mere fact of "agreement to disagree" but nevertheless meeting again was regarded as a step forward.

The communist movement also sought to pursue the strategy of bursting from its isolation through the formation of a mass Farmer-Labor Party. Finally emerged from its underground existence in 1922, the Communists' through their "legal political party," the Workers Party of America decided to send four delegates to the December 1922 gathering of the CPPA. However, the Credentials Committee, after protracted debate, strongly objected to the participation of Communist representatives in its proceedings and issued a recommendation that the representatives of the Workers Party and its youth organization not be seated. The Socialist Party's delegates were strongly in favor of the exclusion of the Communists and acted accordingly, even though the two organizations shared a vision of a party akin to the British Labour Party in which constituent political groups jointly participated while retaining their independent existence. The fissure between the organizations was thus widened.

As with the first conference, the 2nd Conference of the CPPA split over the all-important issue of an independent political party, with a proposal by five delegates of the Farmer-Labor Party calling for "independent political action by the agricultural and industrial workers through a party of their own" defeated by a vote of 52 to 64. A majority report declaring against an independent political party was instead adopted. This defeat of the bid for an independent political party cost the CPPA one its major component organizations, with the Farmer-Labor Party delegation announcing that their group would no longer affiliate with the CPPA after the close of the convention. Although the Socialists did not realize it at the time, the chances that the organization would ever be transformed into an authentic mass Farmer-Labor party of the British Labour type were greatly lessened with the departure of the FLP.

Still, the Socialists remained optimistic. The May 1923 National Convention of the SP voted, after lengthy debate, to retain its affiliation with the CPPA and to continue its work for an independent political party from within that group. The May 20 vote in favor of maintaining affiliation with the CPPA was 38-12. Failing a mass farmer-labor party from the CPPA, the Socialists sought at least a powerful presidential nominee to run in opposition to the old parties. A 3rd National Conference of the CPPA was held in St. Louis, Missourimarker on February 11 and 12, 1924, a gathering which punted on the issue of committing itself to the 1924 presidential campaign, deciding instead to "immediately issue a call for a convention of workers, farmers, and progressives for the purpose of taking action on nomination of candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States, and on other questions that may come before the convention."

The decisive moment finally came on the 4th of July, 1924, a date which was not accidentally selected. The 1st National Convention of the CPPA was assembled in Cleveland at the city auditorium, which was packed with close to 600 delegates representing international unions, state federations of labor, branches of cooperative societies, state branches and national officers of the Socialist, Farmer-Labor, and Progressive Parties as well as the Committee of Forty-Eight, state and national affiliates of the Women's Committee on Political Action, and sundry individuals. Very few farmers were in attendance.

The National Committee had previously requested that Wisconsin Senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr. make a run for the presidency. The Cleveland Convention was addressed by the Senator's son, Robert M. LaFollette, Jr., who read a message from his father accepting the call and declaring that the time had come "for a militant political movement independent of the two old party organizations." LaFollette declined to lead a third party, however, seeking to protect those progressives elected nominally as Republicans and Democrats. LaFollette declared that the primary issue of the 1924 campaign was the breaking of the "combined power of the private monopoly system over the political and economic life of the American people." After the November election a new party might well be established, LaFollette stated, around which all progressives could unite.
La Follette speaks to a crowd from an automobile during his 1924 presidential campaign.
The Socialist Party enthusiastically supported the independent candidacy of LaFollette, declining to run their own candidate in November 1924. Although the LaFollette candidacy garnered five million votes, it failed to seriously challenge the hegemony of the old parties and was regarded by the unions as a disappointing failure.

Following the election, the governing National Committee of the CPPA met in Washington, DC. While the body had a mandate from the July convention to issue a call for a convention to organize a new political party, the representatives of the critical railway unions, with the exception of William H. Johnston of the Machinists, were united in opposition to idea. The railroad unions instead proposed a motion not to hold the 1925 organizational convention. This proposal was defeated by a vote of 30 to 13. Following their defeat on this question, the railroaders on National Committee members withdrew from the meeting, announcing that they would await further instructions from their respective organizations with regards to future participation. The loss of the very unions who had brought about the CPPA spelled its demise.

A convention to decide on the formation of a new political party was nonetheless scheduled by the National Committee for February 21, 1925, to be held in Chicago. Labor, the official organ of the railway unions, did nothing to promote this 2nd Convention of the CPPA, stating that since the executives of the various unions had taken no stance on the matter, it would be up to subordinate sections to consider sending delegates themselves.

The February 1925 convention found its task was virtually insurmountable, however, as the heterogeneous organization had split over the fundamental question of realignment of the major parties via the primary elections process as opposed to establishment of a new competitive political party. The railway unions, whose efforts who had originally brought the CPPA into existence, were fairly solidly united against the Third Party tactic, instead favoring continuation of the CPPA as a sort of pressure group for progressive change within the structure of the Democratic and Republican parties.

L.E. Sheppard, President of the Order of Railway Conductors, presented a resolution calling for a continuation of the CPPA on non-partisan lines as a political pressure group. This proposal was met by an amendment by Morris Hillquit of the Socialist Party, who called the five million votes cast for LaFollette an ecouraging beginning and urged action for establishment of an American Labor Party on the British model — in which constituent groups retained their organizational autonomy within the larger umbrella organization. A third proposal was made by J.A.H. Hopkins of the Committee of Forty-Eight, which called for establishment of a Progressive Party built around individual enrollments. No vote was ever taken by the convention on any of the three proposals mooted. Instead, after some debate the convention was unanimously adjourned sine die — bringing an abrupt end to the Conference for Progressive Political Action.

Eugene V. Debs addressed a "mass meeting" including delegates of the convention in a keynote address delivered at the Lexington Hotel early in the afternoon of February 21. After the Debs speech, those delegates favoring establishment of a new political party were then reconvened, with the opponents of an independent political party departing. The reconvened Founding Convention found itself split between adherents of a non-class Progressive Party based upon individual memberships as opposed to the Socialists' conception of a class-conscious Labor Party employing "direct affiliation" of "organizations of workers and farmers and of progressive political and educational groups who fully accept its program and principles." Following extensive debate, the Socialist counter-proposal was defeated by a vote of 93 to 64. The trade unions it coveted gone, the farmers non-existent, the Socialist Party exited the convention and abandoned the strategy of establishing a new mass party through the CPPA. A "Progressive Party" was in fact formed by the remaining liberals, and the group survived for a short time in a limited number of states throughout the 1920s.

The left turn and split of the "Old Guard" (1928-1936)

In 1928, the Socialist Party returned as an independent electoral entity under the leadership of Norman Thomas, a radical Protestant minister from New York City. This reentry into the electoral fray behind the dynamic Thomas fueled major growth of the SP during the first years of Great Depression, primarily among youth. A skilled orator and advocate of the step by step solution of social problems, Thomas had excellent access to churches, colleges, and civic institutions. Thomas also had, as New York social democrat Louis Waldman later noted, "those qualities of mind and character which appealed to the intelligent and educated young people of the country and which drew them into the ranks of the party in unprecedented numbers." After nearly a decade of steady decline, the Socialist Party again began to grow, advancing from a low of under 8,000 dues payers in 1928 to a membership of almost 17,000 by 1932. This growth came at a price however, as deep factional divisions developed between the youthful newcomers (radicalized and drawn to militant Marxism by the world economic crisis) and the "Old Guard" headed by Morris Hillquit, James Oneal, and Waldman.

The generational battle first erupted at the May 1932 Milwaukee Convention. Participant Anna Bercowitz noted four primary factions at this gathering: an "Old Guard" defending the current course of the party and the position of National Chairman Morris Hillquit, practical Socialists of the Milwaukee type, the young Marxist "Militants," and liberal pacifist "Thomasites" such as Devere Allen who followed the lead of the charismatic Thomas:
"The groups which represented the so-called 'New Blood' at the convention, the Militants and the Liberals and which at this convention merged for the sole purpose of deposing the present leadership [of the party] had little in common. Many members of the most aggressive, although numerically weakest of these groups, the Militants, had little in common with the so-called Thomasites.... And as for the so-called Mid-western group, although they cast their vote with the opposition, on fundamentals they too are opposed ot much of the liberalizing tendencies manifest in the party in recent years. Yet they voted, contrary to their usual procedure in their respective communities, with the opposition. That trades had been made there can be no doubt, and that some groups had been used as innocent dupes can also hardly be doubted...



"Fundamentally there is much more in common between the Militants and the so-called 'Old Guard' than between the Militants and the [religious pacifist] Thomasites and surely than between the frank practical 'mid-western' type of Socialists, yet when it was a question of vote on the Russian resolution, on the TU [Trade Union] resolution and on the question of the National Chairman and the Executive Committee votes were not cast on the basis of principles but apparently on the basis of 'trades'. The real difference between the Militants and the 'Old Guard' seems to be based on lack of sufficient activity and on tempo rather than on principle."


Hillquit was challenged at the 1932 convention by Daniel Hoan of Milwaukee, with the Militants and the Thomas group voting for Hoan with the Midwesterners. Hillquit was reelected National Chairman by a vote of 105-86, representing paid memberships of 7526 to 6984. Six members of the newly elected NEC were adherents of the Hillquit-"Old Guard" faction. It is clear that to some large extent the controversy between the young newcomers of the Militant faction and that of the so-called Old Guard can be reduced to this struggle for practical control of the party apparatus. Historian Frank Warren notes that "one cannot understand the Old Guard's actions unless one recognizes its intense desire to maintain its place in the party hierarchy; the drives of the young were a threat to the power of the New York Old Guard." He also adds that "clearly one would falsely idealize the Militants if one failed to recognize that their ambitions were not always selfless."

But in addition to the raw struggle for control of the party apparatus, there was also a divergence of visions about the role of the SP in the then-current crisis of capitalism, with mass unemployment at home and the growth of fascism and militarism abroad. The alternative vision of the Militants would be expressed at the subsequent convention of the party, held in Detroit in June of 1934, at which it was Norman Thomas and his tactical allies of the Militant faction which would emerge triumphant. It was this gathering which adopted a new Declaration of Principles which inflamed the "Old Guard" faction on a number of different levels.

The ideological differences between the radical pacifist Thomas and his allies of the Militant faction, on the one hand, and the Old Guard faction, on the other have been succinctly summarized as follows::
"The Old Guard was convinced that the 1934 Declaration of Principles was an open declaration in favor of armed insurrection; Thomas believed it was a necessary statement to indicate that Socialists would not lie down in the face of fascism. The Old Guard believed that the anti-war sections of the Declaration of Principles placed the party under the threat of legal prosecution for advocating unlawful actions to oppose war; again Thomas believed that a strong statement was necessary to put capitalism on warning that if it engaged in imperialist war there would be opposition. The Old Guard believed that a united front with the Communists was immoral and would be disastrous for the Socialists, that even limited united action on specific causes should be banned, and even that exploratory discussions about a united front were going too far. Thomas opposed a united front on a general level, including any joint actions in political contests, but he thought that carefully planned united action on specific cases could, and should, take place. And he believed that it was worth while to conduct exploratory talks, even though he felt they would likely lead to nothing. The Old Guard felt that the Socialists' invitation to unaffiliated radicals and the Party's acceptance of former Communists, Lovestoneites, and Trotskyists was turning the party away from democratic socialism and to Communism. Thomas, though he disagreed with the ideology of these anti-Stalinist Communists, was willing to try to work with a party that included them, if hey were willing o accept party discipline and not try to take over the Party. The Old Guard considered the Revolutionary Policy Committee, a far-left group within the Socialist Party, a Communist and anarchist group that had no place in a democratic socialist party. Thomas disagreed with the 'romantic revolutionists' in the Revolutionary Policy Committee (as he disagreed with the 'romantic parliamentarians' of the Old Guard), but still felt it was useful to try to salvage some of the enthusiasm and dedication that went into the Revolutionary Policy Committee by permitting its members to remain in the Party if, again, they followed party policy and party discipline."


In addition to the generational and ideological differences between the young Militant faction and the Old Guard, and their divergence over tempo of activity and party personnel, was great disagreement about matters of symbolism and style. Many of the young radicals dressed and acted in marked contrast to their staid, buttoned-down elders, as New York Old Guard leader Louis Waldman recounted in a 1944 memoir:
"Symptoms of a new and dangerous spirit among the Socialist youth began to become manifest on all sides. The youngsters appeared at meetings of the party in blue shirts and red ties. At first this attracted no special attention, for oddity in dress is no novelty among radicals. But gradually their number increased and we now could see that this was a uniform. The Socialist youth of America, like the fascist youth in Europe, had succumbed to the shirt mania.



"The shirt tendency was followed by the salute mania. In Europe, the Nazi salute was the outstretched arm; here in America the United Front was symbolized by the adoption of the Communist clenched fist salute. This greeting, a raised arm at a slightly different angle from the Nazi or Communist salute, now became routine at all our meetings.... Some of the older members of the party were truly horrified at this totalitarian tendency, but others couldn't resist the trend and fell into line. Among these, I painfully record, was Norman Thomas.



"Along with the blue shirts, the red ties, the clenched fists, the raised arm salute, came the banners, the slogans, the demonstrations; all the trappings that make for totalitarian, unthinking mass fervor. These now became regular features at party gatherings. I can still recall the howl of triumph that rose from these young people at one of our meetings when for the first time Norman Thomas returned the clenched fist salute to them. As I stood at his side, my arms deliberately folded to indicate that I would have no part of this, their cheers for Thomas rose to almost uncontrollable frenzy."


Following its loss on the floor of the Detroit Convention, the Old Guard then took its case to the rank and file of the party, which had been called upon to either approve or defeat the new Declaration of Principles in referendum vote. A "Committee for the Preservation of the Socialist Party" was established and an agitational pamphlet published. New York State Assemblyman Charles Solomon was the author of the group's first polemical piece urging defeat of the 1934 Declaration of Principles by the membership at referendum, entitled Detroit and the Party. In this pamphlet, Solomon decried the Detroit Declaration of Principles as "reckless," observing pointedly that "furious phrases cannot take the place of organized mass power." Solomon noted that over "the past three or four years" there had arisen "certain definite groups" in the ranks of the Socialist Party. He continued:
"The Declaration does not stand by itself, in a vacuum, as it were. Important as it is, it does not alone account for the vital struggle that is now being waged in the party. It represents the culminating point of a deep seated antagonism. It is like the straw that breaks or threatens to break the camel's back.



"The Declaration of Principles has brought to the surface divergences which are deep, antagonisms which make of our party not a coherent political organization working harmoniously for a common objective but a battle ground of internecine strife."
Solomon charged that the "so-called 'left'" was "making its position clear" with the Declaration of Principles. "There was no mistaking the flag it had unfurled," he declared, "It was the banner of thinly veiled communism." While he declared that "the Declaration of Principles must be decisively rejected in the referendum," he nevertheless strongly hinted that a factional split was in the offing. Merely defeating the proposed Declaration of Principles was "not enough," he concluded, "The Socialist Party must be made safe for Socialism, for social democracy."
Haim Kantorovich, a leader of the Militant faction.
American Socialist Quarterly editor Haim Kantorovich made the case for the Militant faction in a pamphlet urging approval of the Declaration of Principles at referendum. He observed that

"The declaration of principles does not call for insurrection or violence. It simply states that if capitalism should collapse, the Socialist Party will not shrink from the responsibility of taking power. In case of a collapse of capitalism, if the socialists refuse to take power, the fascists will. To say beforehand that in time of a general collapse of capitalism...the socialists will not dare take power before they have a clear mandate from the majority through a democratic vote, is the same as saying that in case of a general collapse of capitalism the Socialist Party will voluntarily, in the name of democracy, turn over the power to the fascists or other reactionary elements, and continue their democratic propaganda from concentration camps."


The membership of the Socialist Party approved the 1934 Declaration of Principles in its referendum vote, a victory which moved the Old Guard towards the exits — although factional fighting into 1936. The leaders of the Old Guard formed a new rival organization to the Socialist Party, the Social Democratic Federation in 1936 and somewhat reluctantly endorsed Franklin Roosevelt for President in the election of that year. They also worked to establish the American Labor Party (ALP) a labor-oriented umbrella organization that included both socialist and non-socialist elements, putting forward both its own candidates as well as endorsing those of the Democratic and Republican parties.

:For more detail on the 1934-36 split see Social Democratic Federation.


The demise of the "all-inclusive party" (1937-1940)

Norman Thomas and his radical pacifist co-thinkers and their young Marxist allies of the Militant faction sought to build a mass political movement by transforming the Socialist Party into what they called an "all-inclusive party." Not only would an appeal be made to the radical intellectuals and trade unionists who were the historic core of the organization, but an effort would be made to work closely with the Communist Party in joint actions, and to infuse the Socialist Party with the leading personnel of small radical oppositional organizations, including in particular the anti-Stalinist communist groupings headed by Jay Lovestone (the so-called "Lovestoneites") and James P. Cannon (the so-called "Trotskyists"). To be sure, an impressive array of left wing intellectuals came into the Socialist orbit as a result of this venture, including (from the Lovestoneites) Bertram D. Wolfe, Herbert Zam, and Benjamin Gitlow; as well as (from the Trotskyists) Max Shachtman, James Burnham, Martin Abern, and Hal Draper. A broad array of radicals from other tendencies also contributed to the pages of the party's official theoretical journal, including from the Communist Party orbit Joseph P. Lash of the American Student Union, the radical novelist James T. Farrell, public intellectual Sidney Hook, leading American Marxist of the 1910s Louis B. Boudin, and Canadian Trotskyist Maurice Spector, among others.

A very real bid was made to unite the factionalized and marginalized American left in a common cause — and great hope was held for success in the enterprise. After the rise of the Nazis in Germany and Austria by 1934, no longer did the Communist Party engage in its Third Period epithets against the Socialists as so-called "social fascists." Lillian Symes wrote in the SP's theoretical magazine in February 1937 of the "incredible change" seen to be taking place in the Communist Party in its seeming abandonment of sectarianism and move towards building a broad "people's front" against fascism. At the same time, other radical organizations sought to alter their tactics so as to rapidly build and aggressive left wing organization to stand in opposition to nascent fascism. From early 1934 the French Trotskyist organization had entered the French Socialist Party in an effort to build its strength and win support for its ideas. Pressure to follow this policy of the "French Turn" was building among the American Trotskyist group. For a brief historical moment in 1935 and 1936 the vision of the SP as an "all-inclusive party" which aggregated radical oppositionists and worked with Communists in common cause seemed achievable.

In January 1936, just as the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party was expelling the Old Guard, a factional battle was being won in the Trotskyist Workers Party of the United States to join the SP, when a national branch referendum voted unanimously for entry. Negotiations commenced between the Workers Party and Socialist leaderships, with the decision ultimately made to allow admissions only on the basis of individual applications for membership rather than en masse admission of the entire group. On June 6, 1936, the Workers Party's weekly newspaper, The New Militant, published its last issue and announced "Workers Party Calls All Revolutionary Workers to Join Socialist Party." Approximately half of the Workers Party heeded the call and entered the SPA.

Although party leader Jim Cannon later hinted that the entry of the Trotskyists into the Socialist Party had been a contrived tactic aimed at stealing "confused young Left Socialists" for his own organization, it seems that at its inception, the entryist tactic was made in good faith. Historian Constance Myers notes that while "initial prognoses for the union of Trotskyists and Socialists were favorable," it was only later when "constant and protracted contact caused differences to surface." The Trotskyists retained a common orientation with the radicalized SP in their opposition to the European war, their preference for industrial unionism and the CIO over the trade unionism of the American Federation of Labor, a commitment to trade union activism, the defense of the Soviet Union as the first workers' state while at the same time maintaining an antipathy toward the Stalin regime, and in their general aims in the 1936 election.

Norman Thomas attracted nearly 188,000 votes in his 1936 Socialist Party run for President but performed poorly in historic strongholds of the party. Moreover, the party's membership had begun to decline. The organization was deeply factionalized, with the Militant faction split into right ("Altmanite"), center ("Clarity") and left ("Appeal") factions, in addition to the radical pacifists around Norman Thomas and the midwestern "constructive" socialists around Dan Hoan. A special convention was planned for the last week of March 1937 to set the party's future policy, initially intended as an unprecedented "secret" gathering.

Prior to the March convention, the Trotskyist "Appeal" faction held an organizational gathering of their own, meeting in Chicago, with 93 delegates gathering from February 20-22, 1937. The meeting organized the faction on a permanent basis, electing a National Action Committee of five to "coordinate branch work" and "formulate Appeal policies." Two delegates from the Clarity caucus were in attendance. James Burnham vigorously attacked the Labour and Socialist International, the international organization of left wing parties to which the Socialist Party, and tension rose along these lines among the Trotskyists. United action between the Clarity and Appeal groups was not forthcoming and an emergency meeting of Vincent Dunne and Cannon was held in New York with leaders of the various factions including Thomas, Jack Altman, and Gus Tyler of Clarity. At this meeting Thomas pledged that the upcoming convention would make no effort to terminate the newspapers of the various factions.

No action to expel the Trotskyist Appeal faction, but pressure continued to build along these lines, egged on by the CPUSA's increasingly hysterical denunciations of Trotsky and his followers as wreckers and agents of international fascism. The convention did pass a ban on future branch resolutions on controversial matters, an effort to rein in the activities of the factions at the local level. It also did ban factional newspapers, establishing instead a national organ.

Constance Myers indicates that three factors led to the expulsion of the Trotskyists from the Socialist Party in 1937: the divergence between the official Socialists and the Trotskyist faction on the issues, the determination of Altman's wing of the Militants to oust the Trotskyists, and Trotsky's own decision to move towards a break with the party. Recognizing that the Clarity faction had chosen to stand with the Altmanites and the group around Thomas, Trotsky recommended that the Appeal group focus on disagreements over Spain to provoke a split. At the same time, Thomas, freshly returned from Spain, had come to the conclusion that the Trotskyists had joined the SP not to make it stronger, but to capture the organization for their own purposes. On June 24-25, 1937, a meeting of the Appeal faction's National Action Committee voted to ratched up the rhetoric against American Labor Party and Republican nominee for mayor of New York Fiorello LaGuardia, a favorite son of many in Socialist ranks, and to reestablish their newspaper, The Socialist Appeal. This was met with expulsions from the party beginning August 9 with a rump meeting of the Central Committee of Local New York, which expelled 52 New York Trotskyists by a vote of 48 to 2, with 18 abstentions, and ordering 70 more to be brought up on charges. Wholesale expulsions followed, with a major section of the YPSL leaving the party with the Trotskyists.

The youth and militance of the depression-era SP is reflected in the cover of this 1935 song book published by the SP-affiliated Rand School Press.
Things turned out no better with the official Communist Party, devoted as it was to the Stalin regime in the USSR. The February-March 1937 joint plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission of the All-Union Communist Party in the Moscow, which green-lighted a massive avalanche of secret police terror known to history as the Great Purge, changed everything. Baby steps towards multi-candidate elections and the rule of law in the USSR crumbled instantly as show trials, spy mania, mass arrests, and mass executions swept the land. The Trotskyist movement in the USSR was particularly targeted, accused of plotting murder of Soviet officials and conducting sabotage and espionage in preparation for fascist invasion — seemingly insane charges which were honestly believed by the Soviet elite. Blood flowed like water as alleged Trotskyists and other politically suspect individuals were rounded up, "investigated," and disposed with a pistol shot in the base of the skull or a 10 year sentence in the GULag. Around the world, the adherents of Stalin and Trotsky raged against one another.

In Spain, the country in which the Lovestoneites invested most of their emotional energy as fervid supporters of the POUM, 1937 marked a similar bloodbath, with the Communist Party of Spain achieving hegemony among the Republican forces and conducting bloody purges of their own at the behest of the Soviet secret police. Joint action between Communist oppositionists and the unflinching loyalists to Moscow was henceforth an abject impossibility.

In 1937 Norman Thomas willingly acceded to a request from the League for Industrial Democracy (LID) to author a pamphlet on the topic of "Democracy versus Dictatorship." Thomas pulled no punches about his views of the regime in the USSR:
"There are still in both the eastern and western hemispheres many examples of rather crude and primitive military dictatorships.... The preach a nationalism whose benefits, spiritual or material, to some degree are for all the people. They profess a positive and paternal concern for the masses. If they rule them sternly that is for their own good....



"In the USSR the dictatorship has been the dictatorship of the Communist Party, but all of its professions and all of its performance has been in the name of the entire working class, and the Communist Party still gives lip-service to a final withering away of all dictatorship, even the dictatorship of the proletariat."


Thomas further noted the Communist Party monopoly of press, radio, schools, army, and government and recalled his own recent visit to Moscow, writing:
"The old keenness of political discussion in the party has almost died, at least in so far as policy is concerned. (Criticism of administration is still allowed). A quotation from Stalin is a final answer to all argument. He receives the same sort of exaggerated veneration in public appearances, in the display of his picture, and in written references to him that is accorded to a Mussolini or a Hitler."


Any thought of common-cause with the Communists was now dismissed by Thomas, who indicated that the Communists' fairly recent change of line from fighting the existing trade unions and damning of all political opponents as "social fascists" to attempting to build a "popular front" was merely tactical, related to the perceived needs of Soviet foreign policy in building coalitions with capitalist countries to forestall fascist invasion.

The factional havoc of the move to the "all-inclusive party" paralyzed activity, while the Old Guard's new group, the Social Democratic Federation of America, controlled the bulk of the SP's former property and the allegiance of those best able to fund the organization. The expulsions of the Trotskyists and disintegration of the party's youth section left the organization greatly weakened and gasping for life, its membership level at a new low.

Waning years (1940-1955)

By 1940, only a small committed core remained in the Socialist Party, including a considerable percentage of militant pacifists. The SP continued to oppose Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal as a capitalist palliative, arguing for fundamental change through socialist ownership. In 1940 Norman Thomas was the only presidential candidate opposed to a pro-Sovietmarker foreign policy. The pacifist Thomas also served as an active spokesman for the isolationist America First Committee during 1941.

When the war finally came to America in the fall of 1941, however, most of the remaining Militants and all of the Old Guard supported it, with the Socialist Party backing a compromise position that did not openly oppose American participation in the war. The pacifist wing of the party did not advocate engage in any systematic antiwar activities such as the general strike endorsed by the 1934 Declaration of Principles.

Thomas led his last presidential campaign in 1948, after which he became a critical supporter of the postwar liberal consensus. The party retained some pockets of local success, in cities such as Milwaukeemarker, Bridgeport, Connecticutmarker, and Reading, Pennsylvaniamarker. In New York City, they often ran their own candidates on the Liberal Party line.

Reunification (1956-1967)

Reunification with the dissident Social Democratic Federation was long a goal of Norman Thomas and his associates remaining in the Socialist Party. As early as 1938, Thomas had acknowledged that a number of issues had been involved in the split which led to the formation of the rival Social Democratic Federation, including "organizational policy, the effort to make the party inclusive of all socialist elements not bound by communist discipline; a feeling of dissatisfaction with social democratic tactics which had failed in Germany" as well as "the socialist estimate of Russia; and the possibility of cooperation with communists on certain specific matters." Still, he held that "those of us who believe that an inclusive socialist party is desirable, and ought to be possible, hope that the growing friendliness of socialist groups will bring about not only joint action but ultimately a satisfactory reunion on the basis of sufficient agreement for harmonious support of a socialist program." This speedy reunification was not to be, however, as the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 opened the fissure between the rabidly anti-communist right and equally intense pacifist and anti-militarist left of the American socialist movement wider than ever.

It was only the passage of time, with its revelations of the atrocities of Nazism in Europe and the cruelties of the Stalin regime in the Soviet Unionmarker which brought the two wings of the American social democratic movement back together as part a Cold War consensus. As the Socialist Party moved towards the anti-communist right, the SDF felt themselves able to rejoin it. A merger was officially made to establish the Socialist Party-Social Democratic Federation (SP-SDF) in 1956. A small group of holdouts refused to reunify, establishing a new organization called the Democratic Socialist Federation.

In 1958 the party admitted to its ranks the members of the recently-dissolved Independent Socialist League led by Max Shachtman, a leading Young Communist of the 1920s and Trotskyist of the 1930s and 1940s. Shachtman's younthful followers were able to bring new vigor into the party and helped propel it to play an active role in the civil rights movement as well as the early events of the New Left. Shachtman, however, successfully blocked merger of the party with the Jewish Labor Bund on account of that organization's historical anti-Zionism. Shachtman and his lieutenant Michael Harrington advocated a political strategy called "realignment," arguing that rather than pursuit of ineffectual independent politics, the American socialist movement should instead seek to move the Democratic Party to the social democratic left by direct participation within the organization.

The Vietnam controversy and the final split (1968-1973)

By the late 1960s the most powerful figures in the Socialist Party of America were Max Shachtman and Michael Harrington, who agreed upon a parallel strategy of maintaining the Socialist Party as an independent third party that fielded its own candidates while acting as a pressure group within the Democratic Party. The party itself had become divided into three caucuses. One was the Debs Caucus led by David McReynolds, which wanted to pursue the traditional position of the Socialist Party as an independent political party and held the most strongly "leftist" position within the group. Another was the "centrist" Coalition Caucus led by Michael Harrington, which also had a leftist orientation, but wanted to work within the Democratic Party to pull it to the left. Finally, the "rightist" Unity Caucus led by Max Shachtman were strong supporters of the Lyndon Johnson/"Scoop" Jackson wing of the Democratic Party that supported hawkish anti-Communism abroad and civil rights and the Great Society program domestically.

This split was reflected in party members opinions about the Vietnam War and the New Left – Shachtman and his followers increasingly supported the war and greatly distrusted the New Left, Harrington was strongly opposed to the war, but was nevertheless suspicious of the New Left, while the Debs Caucus opposed the war and embraced the New Left. Conversely, of all the three groups, the Shachtmanites maintained the strongest tendency to Marxist orthodoxy (or their version of it) and democratic centralism, while the other two caucuses were more eclectic in their approach to socialism. This division was manifest most strongly during the 1968 Democratic Convention, in which members of the Debs Caucus were among the protesters outside of the convention, while members of the Coalition and Unity Caucuses were among the convention delegates.

By 1972, the party was even more deeply divided, with the party newspaper, New America, running opposing articles on practically every issue. During the 1972 presidential election, each caucus supported a different cluster of candidates; the Debs Caucus supported the independent candidacy of Benjamin Spock, many of the Coalition Caucus supported the liberal Democratic nominees George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy, and those in the Unity Caucus tended to support Hubert Humphrey and Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson. (Humphrey's 1968 vice-presidential candidate, Edmund Muskie, enjoyed support during his 1972 run from both of the larger caucuses as a consensus candidate who might unite liberals with the labor mainstream.) The party, following the lead of George Meany and the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), declared its neutrality between McGovern and incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon after McGovern had won the Democratic nomination.

The Debs Caucus finally broke with the party in 1972 to form the Union for Democratic Socialism. Socialist pacifist David McReynolds, had left the Socialist Party in 1970, rejoined the breakaway group, later running as its candidate for President. The UDS became the Socialist Party USA in 1973 when all other factions had abandoned the name "Socialist Party". The Socialist Party USA continues to exist, with headquarters in New York City and a regular publication called The Socialist. The group regularly runs candidates for public office, though often these campaigns are often considered educational in intent rather than serious attempts to win.

Michael Harrington and the Coalition Caucus left the party soon after, establishing themselves with headquarters in New York City as the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC). Harrington and his supporters, who included Congressman Ron Dellums and International Association of Machinists President William Winpisinger, believed that the third party road to democratic socialism had been a failure, and instead sought to work within the Democratic Party as an organized socialist caucus to bring about that party's "realignment" to the left. In 1982 the group merged with the New American Movement, a non-party socialist organization with roots in the New Left, to establish the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

This left Shachtman and the Unity Caucus in unopposed control of the Socialist Party (though Shachtman himself died very soon after). In 1973, this group renamed itself the Social Democrats USA (SDUSA). While continuing to emphasize its organizational continuity from the old Socialist Party of America, SDUSA evolved into a de facto think tank, publishing a newspaper and occasional documents to advance its views. Many SDUSA members later held important governmental posts as political appointees in both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Conventions

Convention Location Date Notes and references
Socialist unity convention Indianapolis, Indianamarker July 29 – August 1, 1901 United Debs' Social Democratic Party and Hillquit's "Kangaroo" faction of the Socialist Labor Party of America to create the Socialist Party of America Summary of proceedings
1904 National Convention Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker May 1 to 6, 1904 Nominates Debs; Proceedings Pt. 1 Pt. 2
1908 National Convention Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker May 10 to 17, 1908 Nominates Debs, again; Proceedings Pt. 1 Pt. 2
1st National Congress Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker May 15 to 21, 1910 Proceedings Pt. 1 Pt. 2
1912 National Convention Indianapolis, Indianamarker May 12 - 18, 1912 Nominates Debs; largest convention held by the SP; Proceedings Pt. 1, Pt. 2
Emergency National Convention St. Louis, Missourimarker April 7 – 14, 1917 Met to decide SP attitude to World War I; Proceedings
Emergency National Convention Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker August 30 - Sept. 5, 1919 Socialist Party splinters; Communist Labor Party & Communist Party of America formed
1920 National Convention New York, New Yorkmarker May 8 - 14, 1920 Nominates Debs final time
9th National Convention Detroit, Michiganmarker June 25 - 29, 1921 First Convention to be numbered, apparently
10th National Convention Cleveland, Ohiomarker April 29 - May 2, 1922
11th National Convention New York, New Yorkmarker May 19 - 22, 1923
12th National Convention Cleveland, Ohiomarker July 6 - 8, 1924 Endorses Sen. Robert La Follette, Sr. (Progressive)
13th National Convention Chicago, Illinoismarker Feb. 23 - 25, 1925
14th National Convention Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker May 1 -3, 1926
15th National Convention New York, New Yorkmarker April 13-17, 1928 Nominates Norman Thomas for the first time
17th National Convention Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker May 20 to 24, 1932 Proceedings
18th National Convention Detroit, Michiganmarker June 1 - 3, 1934
19th National Convention Cleveland, Ohiomarker May 23 - 26, 1936
Special National Convention Chicago, Illinoismarker March 26 - 29, 1937 Called to address the issues relating to factionalism within the party
1938 National Convention Kenosha, Wisconsinmarker April 21 - 23, 1938
1940 National Convention Washington, DCmarker April 4 - 6, 1940
1942 National Convention Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker May 30 - June 1, 1942
1944 National Convention Reading, Pennsylvaniamarker June 2 - 4, 1944
1946 National Convention Chicago, Illinoismarker May 31 - June 2, 1946
1948 National Convention Reading, Pennsylvaniamarker May 7-9, 1948 [33332]
28th National Convention Cleveland, Ohiomarker May 30-June 1, 1952 [33333]
29th National Convention Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker May 29-May 31, 1954 [33334]
30th National Convention Chicago, Illinoismarker June, 1956 [33335]
Unity convention New York, New Yorkmarker January 18-19, 1957 [33336] SP and Social Democratic Federation merge
1958 convention New York, New Yorkmarker 1958 [33337]
1960 National convention Washington, DCmarker May 28-30, 1960 Proceedings
1962 National convention Washington, DCmarker June 8-10, 1962 Proceedings
1964 National convention Chicago, Illinoismarker May 29 -31, 1964 Proceedings
1966 National convention New York, New Yorkmarker June 10-12, 1966 Proceedings
1970 National convention New York, New Yorkmarker June 19-21, 1970 [33338]


(Unless otherwise referenced, all the dates and locations were obtained from the Early American Marxism website)

Socialist Party national tickets



Prominent members









(*) Went on to join the Communist Party, Communist Labor Party or Workers Party of America


ISS A founder or key member of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, 1905, later League for Industrial Democracy
IWW A founder of the Industrial Workers of the World, 1905.
SDL Left to found the Social Democratic League of America, 1917.
SDF Left to found the Social Democratic Federation, 1936.
SDUSA Continued into Social Democrats USA, 1973
SPUSA Went on to join the Socialist Party USA, 1972-3
DSOC Went on to join the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, 1973, later Democratic Socialists of America


Footnotes

  1. Note that the Socialist Party of America was also known at various times in its long history as the "Socialist Party of the United States" (as early as the 1910s) and "Socialist Party, USA" (as early as 1935, most common in the 1960s). The original, official name of the organization was "Socialist Party of America," however, and it is so referred to here.
  2. David Shannon, The Socialist Party of America: A History. (1955)
  3. Hillquit, "What shall the Attitude of the SP Be Toward the Economic Organization of the Workers?" (Haywood Debate) in Hillquit Papers; quoted in Pratt, Morris Hillquit: A Political History of an American Jewish Socialist, p. 106.
  4. Eugene V. Debs, "The Canton, Ohio Speech, Anti-War Speech", delivered June 16, 1918, first published 1918 in The Call, online at Marxists.org, accessed 11 August 2006.
  5. Louis Waldman, Albany: The Crisis in Government: The History of the Suspension, Trial and Expulsion from the New York State Legislature in 1920 of the Five Socialist Assemblymen by Their Political Opponents. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920; pp. 2-7.
  6. Waldman, Albany: The Crisis in Government, p. 7.
  7. In his history of the 1920 expulsions written just after the fact, Socialist Assemblyman Louis Waldman noted that "expressions of astonishment and indignation flowed in from all parts of the world," including public figures from England, France, Italy, and Argentina. Waldman, Albany: The Crisis in Government, p. 43.
  8. Waldman, Albany: The Crisis in Government, pp. 64-65.
  9. Waldman, Albany: The Crisis in Government, p. 67.
  10. In the 8th New York County Assembly District Louis Waldman beat Morris B. Reiss 3,222 to 3,066; in the 17th New York County AD August Claessens beat Augusta Rosenzweig 3,735 to 2,220; in the 3rd Bronx AD Samuel DeWitt beat Milton Altschuler 3,865 to 2,310; in the 40th Bronx AD Samuel Orr beat James J. Collins 4,171 to 3,063; and in the 23rd Kings AD Charles Solomon beat Jonathan Schneider 2,816 to 1,521. Minnesota Daily Star, September 17, 1920, pg. 1.
  11. "Socialists Again Ousted by New York Assembly," Minnesota Daily Star, September 22, 1920, pg. 1.
  12. "Socialists Again Ousted by New York Assembly," Minnesota Daily Star, September 22, 1920, pg. 1.
  13. For a documented party membership series, see: http://www.marxisthistory.org/subject/usa/eam/spamembership.html
  14. Solon DeLeon and Nathan Fine (eds.) , The American Labor Year Book, 1923-1924. New York: Rand School Press, 1922; pp. 147-149.
  15. Otto Branstetter, et al., "The Conference for Progressive Political Action," The Socialist World, Feb. 1922, pp. 1, 3, and documents in same issue, pp. 3-5.
  16. WPA delegates, as determined by the December 5, 1922 meeting of the WPA's "Administrative Council" were William F. Dunne, Caleb Harrison, Ludwig Lore, and C.E. Ruthenberg. Comintern Archive: f. 515, op. 1, d. 148, l. 47.
  17. DeLeon and Fine, The American Labor Year Book, 1923-1924, pg. 151.
  18. "Minutes of the Convention," The Socialist World, v. 4, no. 6 (June 1923), pg. 11.
  19. Solon DeLeon and Nathan Fine (eds.), The American Labor Year Book, 1925. New York: Rand School Press, 1924; pp. 120-121.
  20. DeLeon and Fine (eds.), The American Labor Year Book, 1925, pp. 122-126.
  21. DeLeon and Fine (eds.), The American Labor Year Book, 1925, pg. 131.
  22. DeLeon and Fine (eds.), The American Labor Year Book, 1925, pg. 131.
  23. Solon DeLeon and Nathan Fine (eds.) , The American Labor Year Book, 1926. New York: Rand School of Social Science, 1925; pp. 230-232.
  24. Louis Waldman, Labor Lawyer. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1944; pg. 189.
  25. Frank A. Warren, An Alternative Vision: The Socialist Party in the 1930s. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974; p. 3.
  26. Anna Bercowitz, "The Milwaukee Convention," The American Socialist Quarterly, v. 1, no. 3 (Summer 1932), pp. 49-50.
  27. Bercowitz, "The Milwaukee Convention," p. 53.
  28. Warren, An Alternative Vision, pg. 15.
  29. Warren, An Alternative Vision, pp. 12-13.
  30. Waldman, Labor Lawyer, pp. 194-195.
  31. Charles Solomon, Detroit and the Party. New York: Committee for the Preservation of Socialist Policies, n.d. [1934]; pg. 3. It is worthy of note that the Committee for the Preservation of Socialist Policies was an organized faction to the extent of maintaining an office at 1 Union Square in New York City, complete with a provisional Executive Secretary and National Executive Committee.
  32. Solomon, Detroit and the Party, pg. 3.
  33. Solomon, Detroit and the Party, pg. 4.
  34. Solomon, Detroit and the Party, pg. 12.
  35. Haim Kantorovich, The Socialist Party at the Crossroads: Notes on the Declaration of Principles Adopted at the National Convention Socialist Party, Detroit, June 3, 1934. New York: Max Delson, July 1934; pg. 15.
  36. Wolfe co-authored a book with Norman Thomas in 1938, Keep America Out of War.
  37. The SP's theoretical magazine was known variously as the American Socialist Quarterly (1932-1935), American Socialist Monthly (1935-1937), and Socialist Review (1937-1940). For a short commentary on the publication, see David Herreshoff's article in the section "Publications of the Socialists" in Joseph R. Conlin (ed.), The American Radical Press, 1880-1960. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1974; v. 1, pp. 198-201.
  38. Myers, The Prophet's Army: Trotskyists in America, 1928-1941. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1977; pg. 113.
  39. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pp. 113-114.
  40. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 115.
  41. Myers cites "about 2,000" members for the Workers Party of the US in 1935 (pg. 114) and indicates they entered with "about 1,000" (pg. 140) and exited in 1937 with "1,000 added to their number" (pg. 140). Myers, The Prophet's Army.
  42. "If we had stood aside, the Stalinists would have gobbled up the Socialist Left Wing and it would have been used as another club against us, as in Spain," he later recalled. James P. Cannon, The History of American Trotskyism. New York: Pioneer Press, 1944; pp. 195-196.
  43. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 123.
  44. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 124.
  45. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pp. 126-127.
  46. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 127.
  47. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 127.
  48. The committee included Vincent Dunne, Albert Goldman, Max Shachtman, and Richard Babb Whitten. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pp. 128-129.
  49. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 131.
  50. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 133.
  51. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 138.
  52. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 139.
  53. Myers, The Prophet's Army, pg. 139.
  54. Norman Thomas, Democracy versus Dictatorship. New York: League for Industrial Democracy, 1937. Thomas wrote in the introduction that "At the request of the LID I have written this pamphlet on one of the great either or's of our time. i do not want it to be though that I think it is the one, all inclusive issue, or even the most vital of the issues before us. That, I think, for reasons which I urged over and over in the last [1936] Presidential campaign, is the issue of socialism versus capitalism. It is not 'democracy versus fascism.' There is not now any such emergency in America as should force socialists into a popular front as a defense for our present imperfect democracy." (pg. 3).
  55. Thomas, Democracy versus Dictatorship, pp. 10-11.
  56. Thomas, Democracy versus Dictatorship, pg. 15.
  57. Thomas, Democracy versus Dictatorship, pp. 19-20.
  58. Warren, An Alternative Vision, pp. 18.
  59. Norman Thomas, Socialism on the Defensive. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1938; pp. 287-288.
  60. A Short History of the Socialist Party USA. Socialist Party of Rhode Island, 2000. http://sp-usa.org/spri/sp_usa_history.htm
  61. A Century of Struggle: Socialist Party USA, 1901-2001. New York: Socialist Party USA, n.d. [2001]. http://www.socialistparty-usa.org/literature/spusa-history.pdf
  62. Socialist Party of Rhode Island. (2000). A Short History of the Socialist Party USA (web page). Accessed: June 13, 2006.
  63. Drucker, Peter. (1994). Max Shachtman and His Left: A Socialist's Odyssey Through the "American Century". Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press. 346 p. ISBN 0-391-03815-X
  64. Minutes of October 2006 Socialist Party National Committee meeting.


Bibliography

Books

General histories

  • Bell, Daniel, Marxian Socialism in the United States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967 (revised version of his chapter in Egbert & Persons, 1952, below)
  • Buhle, Paul, Marxism in the USA: From 1870 to the Present Day. London: Verso, 1987.
  • Cannon, James P., The History of American Trotskyism: Report of a Participant. New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1944.
  • Egbert, Donald Drew and Persons, Stow (editors), Socialism and American Life. In Two Volumes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1952.
  • Esposito, Anthony V., The Ideology of the Socialist Party of America, 1901-1917. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997.
  • Foner, Philip S., History of the Labor Movement of the United States. In Ten Volumes. New York: International Publishers, 1948-1994.
  • Harrington, Michael, Socialism. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1970.
  • Hillquit, Morris, History of Socialism in the United States. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1903; Fifth Revised and Enlarged Edition, 1910, reprinted by Dover Publications, New York, 1971. (ISBN 0-486-22767-7)
  • Johnson, Oakley C., Marxism in United States History Before the Russian Revolution (1876-1917). New York: Humanities Press, 1974.
  • Kipnis, Ira, The American Socialist Movement, 1897-1912. New York: Columbia University Press, 1952. Reprinted by Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2004.
  • Kraditor, Aileen S., The Radical Persuasion, 1890-1917: Aspects of the Intellectual History and the Historiography of Three American Radical Organizations. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1981.
  • Laslett John M., and Lipset, Seymour Martin (eds.), Failure of a Dream? Essays in the History of American Socialism. New York: Doubleday, 1974.
  • Lipset, Seymour Martin and Marks, Gary, It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States? New York: Norton, 2000 (ISBN 0-393-04098-4).
  • Quint, Howard, The Forging of American Socialism: Origins of the Modern Movement. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1953; 2nd edition (with minor revisions) Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1964
  • Shannon, David A., The Socialist Party of America. New York: Macmillan, 1955, reprinted by Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1967.
  • Warren, Frank A., An Alternative Vision: The Socialist Party in the 1930s. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1974.
  • Weinstein James. The Decline of Socialism in America: 1912-1925. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1967, Vintage Books 1969.


Topical, regional, and local studies

  • Beck, Elmer Axel, The Sewer Socialists: A History of the Socialist Party of Wisconsin, 1897-1940. In Two Volumes. Fennimore, WI: Westburg Associates, 1982.
  • Bedford, Henry F., Socialism and the Workers in Massachusetts, 1886-1912, Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1966. (ISBN 0-870-23010-7)
  • Bengston, Henry, Memoirs of the Scandinavian-American Labor Movement. [1955] Kermit B. Westerberg, trans. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999.
  • Bissett, Jim, Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson, and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.
  • Bucki, Cecelia, Bridgeport's Socialist New Deal, 1915-36. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2001.
  • Buhle, Mary Jo, Women and American Socialism, 1870-1920. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1981.
  • Buhle, Paul and Georgakas, Dan (eds.), The Immigrant Left in the United States. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996.
  • Burbank, Garin, When Farmers Voted Red: The Gospel of Socialism in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1910-1924. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1976.
  • Critchlow, Donald T. (ed.), Socialism in the Heartland: The Midwestern Experience, 1900-1925. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986.
  • Green, James R., Grass-Roots Socialism: Radical Movements in the Southwest, 1895-1943. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1978.
  • Horn, Max, The Intercollegiate Socialist Society, 1905-1921: Origins of the Modern American Student Movement. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1979.
  • Hummasti, Paul George, Finnish Radicals in Astoria, Oregon, 1904-1940: A Study in Immigrant Socialism. New York: Arno Press, 1979.
  • Jaffe, Julian F., Crusade Against Radicalism: New York During the Red Scare, 1914-1924. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1972.
  • Johnson, Jeffrey A., "They Are All Red Out Here": Socialist Politics in the Pacific Northwest, 1895-1925. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008.
  • Judd, Richard W., Socialist Cities: Municipal Politics and the Grass Roots of American Socialism. Albany, NY: State University Press of New York, 1989.
  • Kennedy, Kathleen, Disloyal Mothers and Scurrilous Citizens: Women and Subversion During World War I. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1999.
  • Kivisto, Peter, Immigrant Socialists in the United States: The Case of the Finns and the Left. Rutherford, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 1984.
  • Laslett, John, Labor and the Left: A Study of Socialist and Radical Influences in the American Labor Movement, 1881-1924. New York: Basic Books, 1980.
  • Miller, Sally M. (ed.), Flawed Liberation: Socialism and Feminism. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981.
  • Nash, Michael, Conflict and Accommodation: Coal Miners, Steel Workers, and Socialism, 1890-1920. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982.
  • Peterson, H.C. and Fite, Gilbert C., Opponents of War, 1917-1918. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1957.
  • Pittenger, Mark, American Socialists and Evolutionary Thought, 1870-1920. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993.
  • Preston Jr., William, Aliens and Dissenters: Federal Suppression of Radicals, 1903-1933. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963.
  • Ruff, Allen, "We Called Each Other Comrade": Charles H. Kerr & Company, Radical Publishers. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1997.
  • Sorin, Gerald, The Prophetic Minority: American Jewish Immigrant Radicals, 1880-1920. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1985.
  • Scontras, Charles A., The Socialist Alternative: Utopian Experiments and the Socialist Party of Maine, 1895-1914. Orono, ME: University of Maine, 1985.
  • Wilkison, Kyle, Yeomen, Sharecroppers and Socialists: Plain Folk Protest in Texas, 1870-1914. Texas A&M University Press, 2008.


Biographies of leading participants

Arranged by alphabetic order of the first subject in the title.

  • Hyfler, Robert, Prophets of the Left: American Socialist Thought in the Twentieth Century Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1984.
  • Miller, Sally M., Victor Berger and the Promise of Constructive Socialism, 1910-1920. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1973.
  • Brommel, Bernard J., Eugene V. Debs: Spokesman for Labor and Socialism. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co., 1978.
  • Coleman, McAlister, Eugene V. Debs: A Man Unafraid. New York: Greenberg Publishers, 1930.
  • Ginger, Ray, The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene Victor Debs. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1949.
  • Morgan, H. Wayne, Eugene V. Debs: Socialist for President. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1973.
  • Salvatore, Nick, Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1982.
  • Buhle, Paul M., A Dreamer's Paradise Lost: Louis C. Fraina/Lewis Corey (1892-1953) and the Decline of Radicalism in the United States. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1995.
  • Perry, Jeffrey B., Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918. New York: Columbian University Press, 2009.
  • Pratt, Norma Fain, Morris Hillquit: A Political History of an American Jewish Socialist. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979.
  • Buckingham, Peter H., Rebel Against Injustice: The Life of Frank P. O'Hare. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1996.
  • Miller, Sally M., From Prairie to Prison: The Life of Social Activist Kate Richards O'Hare. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1993.
  • Henderson, J. Paul, Darlington Hoopes: The Political Biography of an American Socialist. Glasgow, Scotland: Humming Earth, 2005.
  • Miraldi, Robert, The Pen is Mightier: The Muckraking Life of Charles Edward Russell. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
  • Kreuter, Kent and Kreuter, Gretchen, An American Dissenter: The Life of Algie Martin Simons, 1870-1950. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1969.
  • Ruotsila, Markku, John Spargo and American Socialism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
  • Boylan, James, Revolutionary Lives: Anna Strunsky and William English Walling. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998.
  • Johnson, Christopher H., Maurice Sugar: Law, Labor, and the Left in Detroit, 1912-1950. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1988.
  • Johnpoll, Bernard K., Pacifist's Progress: Norman Thomas and the decline of American socialism, Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1970. (ISBN 0-8129-0152-5)
  • Swanberg W. A., Norman Thomas: The Last Idealist. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976.
  • Shore, Elliott, Talkin' Socialism: J.A. Wayland and the Role of the Press in American Radicalism. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1988.


Articles

  • Creel, Von Russell, "Socialists in the House: The Oklahoma Experience, Part 1." The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol. 70, No. 2. (Summer 1992), pp. 144-183.
  • Johnson, Oakley C., "The Early Socialist Party of Michigan: An Assignment in Autobiography." The Centential Review, Vol. 10, No. 2. (Spring 1966), pp. 147-162.
  • Jozwiak, Elizabeth, "Bottoms Up: The Socialist Fight for the Workingman's Saloon," Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 90, No. 2. (Winter 2006-07),. pp. 14-23.
  • Kiser, G. Gregory, "The Socialist Party in Arkansas, 1900-1912." Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 2. (Summer 1981), pp. 119-153.
  • Miller, Sally M., "Socialist Party Decline and World War I: Bibliography and Interpretation." Science and Society, Vol. 34, No. 4. (Winter 1970), pp. 398-411.
  • Shannon, David A., "The Socialist Party Before the First World War: An Analysis." The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 38, No. 2. (Sept. 1951), pp. 279-288. in JSTOR
  • Strong, Bryan, "Historians and American Socialism, 1900-1920." Science and Society, Vol. 34, No. 4. (Winter 1970), pp. 387-397.
  • Walker, John T., "Socialism in Dayton, Ohio, 1912 to 1925: Its Membership, Organization, and Demise." Labor History, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Summer 1985), pp. 384-404.
  • Weinstein, James, "The IWW and American Socialism." Socialist Revolution, Vol. 1, No. 5 (Sept.-Oct. 1970), pp. 3-41.


Primary sources

  • Claessens, August, Didn't We Have Fun! : Stories Out of a Long, Fruitful and Merry Life. New York: Rand School Press, 1953.
  • Debs, Eugene V.:
    • Debs: His Life, Writings and Speeches. Bruce Rogers (ed.). Girard, KS: The Appeal to Reason, 1908.
    • Walls and Bars. Chicago: Socialist Party, 1927.
    • Writings and Speeches of Eugene V. Debs. Joseph M. Bernstein (ed.). New York: Hermitage Press, 1948.
    • Letters of Eugene V. Debs. In Three Volumes. J. Robert Constantine (ed.). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1990.
  • O'Hare, Kate Richards, Kate Richards O'Hare: Selected Writings and Speeches. Philip S. Foner and Sally M. Miller (eds.). Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1982.
  • Fried, Albert (ed.), Socialism in America, From the Shakers to the Third International: a Documentary History, New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1970
  • Graham, John (ed.), "Yours for the Revolution": The Appeal to Reason, 1895-1922. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.
  • Haldeman-Julius, E., My Second 25 Years: Instead of a Footnote, An Autobiography. Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1949.
  • Harrington, Michael:
  • Maurer, James H., It Can Be Done: The Autobiography of James H. Maurer. New York: Rand School Press, 1938.
  • Hillquit, Morris, Loose Leaves from a Busy Life. New York: Macmillan, 1934.
  • Johnpoll, Bernard K. and Yerburgh, Mark R., The League for Industrial Democracy: A Documentary History. In Three Volumes. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980.
  • Karsner, David, Talks with Debs in Terre Haute (and Letters from Lindlahr). New York: New York Call, 1922.
  • Thomas, Norman, A Socialist's Faith. New York: W.W. Norton, 1951.
  • Waldman, Louis:
    • Labor Lawyer. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1944.
    • The Good Fight: A Quest for Social Progress. Philadelphia: Dorrance and Co., 1975.


Newspapers and magazines



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