Friedrich A. Sorge's Labor Movement in the United States: A History of the American Working Class from Colonial Times to 1890

Friedrich A. Sorge's Labor Movement in the United States: A History of the American Working Class from Colonial Times to 1890

Friedrich A. Sorge's Labor Movement in the United States: A History of the American Working Class from Colonial Times to 1890

Friedrich A. Sorge's Labor Movement in the United States: A History of the American Working Class from Colonial Times to 1890

Excerpt

For several decades, students of American labor and socialist history have seen in the notes and bibliographies of such studies as John R. Commons et al., History of Labour in the United States (New York, 1918), Philip S. Foner , History of the Labor Movement in the United States (New York, 1947), Samuel Bernstein, The First International in America (New York, 1965), David Montgomery, Beyond Equality: Labor and the Radical Republicans, 1862-1872 (New York, 1967), David Herreshoff, American Disciples of Marx: From the Age of Jackson to the Progressive Era (Detroit, 1967), Samuel Bruce Kaufman, Samuel Gompers and the Origins of the American Federation of Labor, 1848-1896 (Westport, Conn., 1973), and in articles in scholarly journals, references to Friedrich A. Sorge, Der Arbeiterbewegung in den Vereinigten Staaten, Die Neue Zeit (1891-1895). (Die Neue Zeit was the theoretical journal of the German Social Democratic Party, published in Berlin.) Those who knew German were able to read these articles on the history of the labor movement in the United States in the original, while others arranged to have translations made of special sections in which they were interested.

Several years ago, I reached the conclusion that the fact that these articles were still untranslated left a serious gap in available sources in American labor history. After all, Friedrich A. Sorge was the leading Marxist in the United States in the post-Civil War era, an intimate colleague and constant correspondent of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the General Secretary of the International Workingmen's Association (First International) from 1872 to 1874, and a man who was personally involved in many of the events he was discussing in Die Neue Zeit. In short, the articles comprised a basic source for understanding the development of the American labor movement. Yet in the . . .

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