THE THREE years between June, 1898, and July, 1901, constituted a "Sturm und Drang" period in the history of American socialism. From the time of the Social Democratic Party's formation in 1898 until its transmutation into the Socialist Party of America in 1901, the organization created by the Social Democracy bolters suffered from most of the usual, and some of the unusual, growing pains which have characterized the early days of nearly every left-wing political movement. Conflicts over ideology and tactics, bitter personal attacks and recriminations, demands for co-operation with other leftist and reform groups, and internal schisms kept the Social Democratic Party in a state of constant turmoil.
The split in the Social Democracy was ideologically salutary. Like a strong wind, it cleared the air of utopianism and cut adrift from the socialist standard many who at best possessed a vague and romantic notion of what modern socialism, even in its most conservative form, involved. In the pre-Civil War period, the colonization plan might have had considerable merit. After all, the determined Brigham Young and his band of faithful followers had demonstrated its practicability on Utah's barren salt flats. But that was a long time ago, before the rise of an all conquering industrial capitalism which spread its power and influence into the most inaccessible recesses of the nation and bowled over its opponents like so many tenpins. The very character and nature of the new economic order made a repetition of the Mormons' success literally impossible.
None of the rebels who trooped wearily out of the Social Democracy convention in Uhlich Hall and over to the Revere House in the early hours of June 11 had been associated with the leadership of the old organization. Although Keliher's sympathies were with the bolters, he refused to leave the Social Democracy until accorded an opportunity to refute Hogan's
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Publication information: Book title: The Forging of American Socialism:Origins of the Modern Movement. Contributors: Howard H. Quint - Author. Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill. Place of publication: Indianapolis. Publication year: 1964. Page number: 319.