Utopianism and Radicalism in a Reforming America, 1888-1918

Utopianism and Radicalism in a Reforming America, 1888-1918

Utopianism and Radicalism in a Reforming America, 1888-1918

Utopianism and Radicalism in a Reforming America, 1888-1918

Synopsis

Utopianism and radicalism achieve greater prominence when economic and social crises render the dominant moral and political universe open to question. The essays in this book examine how utopianism and radicalism informed the literary expressions, political discourse, communal experiments, and cultural projects in the U.S. from 1888 to 1918. In particular, these essays track how socialism, anarchism, syndicalism, feminism, and black nationalism contested the ideological terrain during a period when reform ideas and movements were beginning to reshape that terrain. The degree to which utopianism and radicalism were involved in that reformulation, either in its expanse or its constraint, is of prime interest throughout the book. Teachers and students interested in utopian studies, American studies, and the cultural/intellectual history of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era will find this book highly useful.

Excerpt

Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!
Arise, ye wretched of the earth!
For Justice thunders condemnation.
A better world's in birth.
--Internationale

The whole world is coming.
A nation is coming, a nation is coming.
The Eagle has brought the message to the tribe.
--Sioux Ghost Dance

On the eve of the meeting of the Second International in Paris in 1889, delegates were very likely singing the stirring verses of the Internationale. Instilled with a critique of the present and a utopian vision of the future that offered a better life for workers everywhere, the words articulated the hopes of a rising power in the industrial world. While the vision would inspire the delegates to the Second International and become an anthem of the international left, the badly splintered radical forces would find it difficult to cohere as a movement of international solidarity. In that same year, thousands of miles away on the plains of North America, in response to what appeared to be an inexorable march of "civilization" and the exter-

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