Labor Politics in a Democratic Republic: Moderation, Division, and Disruption in the Presidential Election of 1928

By Vaughn Davis Bornet | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
Thomas Appeals to "Workers" and "Progressives"

THE SOCIALISTS came out of their 1928 convention rejuvenated in spirit. A column written during the convention by one leader radiated confidence. Workingmen and women might be giving lip service to the prosperity god, wrote McAlister Coleman, but in their hearts they knew they were worshipping false images. He claimed that the Socialists spoke as "the sole interpreters and spokesmen for the great masses of America's workers." They therefore considered themselves to be, in the words of H. G. Wells, "watchers and guardians of the order of the world." The coming political campaign would be one more engagement in the long battle for human freedom and happiness.1 The Convention had been enough "to make you hold up your head and stick out your chest and be all-fired proud of the fact that you are a Socialist."2

The editor of the New Leader was certain that the old party spirit had returned, and he quoted a delegate as saying, "We are coming back with a bang."3 In retrospect, however, Mayor Hoan

____________________
1
"The Political Prospects of 1928", New Leader, April 14, 1928.
2
We Go Riding Out, ibid., April 21, 1928.
3
James Oneal, in ibid., April 21, 1928.

-189-

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