WHILE Nationalism and Christian Socialism floundered during the depression unleashed by the panic of 1898, a grass roots variety of socialism was germinating in t rans-Appalachian America. This new and not altogether orthodox socialism has received almost cavalier treatment from scholars, who have usually contemplated it with overly focused Marxist lenses which blur out nearly everything not associated with urban radicalism or trade unionism. And, paradoxically enough, this has been true notwithstanding the fact that American socialism has had its largest following in the Middle West. This new socialism was vocally protestant rather than institutional in character; its chief spokesman was Julius Augustus Wayland, a saturnine, sandy-haired, stoop-shouldered publisher of weekly newspapers, better known to thousands of faithful readers as " J. A. Wayland, The One Hoss Editor."1
In the transitional nineties Wayland was a reincarnate Tom Paine for American radicalism. During that and the subsequent decade his weekly newspapers, The Coming Nation and Appeal to Reason, had wide circulation throughout the United States. Wayland's reputation was so firmly established during the early years of the twentieth century that A. M. Simons, an early Marxist historian in the United States, described him as "the greatest propagandist of Socialism that has ever lived."2 Time has buttressed rather than weakened Simons' opinion; for the leftist press, with all of its luminaries, has not produced since Wayland's death in 1912 a socialist propagandist of comparable stature.
Wayland's eclectic brand of socialism had certain affinities with radical Populism, Fabianism, and orthodox Marxism,____________________