The Forging of American Socialism: Origins of the Modern Movement

By Howard H. Quint | Go to book overview
Save to active project

XI. Socialist Unity Achieved

FROM its very inception, the world-wide socialist movement, notably in its Marxist variants, has suffered acutely from the inability of its advocates to reach areas of agreement, let alone to work harmoniously with one another. This condition is inherent in the nature of socialism, providing as it does not only a political method but also a social faith which demands from its adherents a dedicated way of life and a religious devotion. In fact, the histories of Christianity and socialism share certain definite similarities. Both are militantly missionary. Both are teleological. Just as the Church has been torn by dissensions over dogma, so has the socialist movement been split over matters of doctrine. Just as Christian heretics were burned at the stake in the later Middle Ages, so have socialist deviationists been pilloried, harassed, excommunicated, and even liquidated by those claiming doctrinal infallibility.1

In considering the disunity in the socialist ranks, the personal factor must not be minimized. Socialism, in demanding a radically different form of societal organization, is a revolutionary creed. And rarely does one find a large area of agreement on means and ends among any group of revolutionaries, especially when the original creed tends inevitably to proliferate in response to new social and economic pressures and changes. Desire for power, suspicion, vituperation, and jealousy have rivaled ideological factors in the socialist movement. In the United States during 1900 and 1901 personal factors were more important than doctrine in determining the course of events leading up to the formation of the Socialist Party of America.

Seymour Stedman, Frederic Heath, and Margaret Haile, three members of the Social Democratic Party's Committee on Socialist Unity, had serious misgivings as to the desirability of union with the Socialist Laborites when the conference with

____________________
1
Norman Thomas discusses this problem in A Socialist's Faith ( New York, 1951). pp. 5, 23.

-350-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Forging of American Socialism: Origins of the Modern Movement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 412

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?