This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Why Did A Socialist Or Labor Party Never Gain Traction In The United States?

2203 words - 9 pages

Why did a Socialist or Labor Party never gain traction in the United States?
According to Marxist revolutionary theory, advanced capitalism is a necessary precondition to the development of socialism. Capitalists would ruthlessly exploit workers, accumulating capital from the workers’ labor but not sharing it. This would result in the workers developing a collective class consciousness, overthrowing their oppressors, and replacing their bourgeois government with a dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., socialism. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels expected that, because the United States had the most advanced form of capitalism in the world, it was the most likely setting for a proletarian ...view middle of the document...

Despite their expectations, it was Russia that became the first Marxist state in 1917. According to Marxist theory, it should have been impossible for Russia to achieve socialism. It was the least industrialized country in Europe, and most of its population consisted of peasants rather than a class-conscious proletarian working class. The first socialist country should have been a country like the United States, but proletarian revolution did not occur in the United States first or ever. Over the course of the past 110 years, historians, political scientists, and economists have all attempted to explain why. The bulk of this historiographical essay will address Werner Sombart’s 1906 assessment of the failings of American socialism, Eric Foner’s critical reinterpretation of the question from 1984, and these works’ conversation with each other and other studies.
German economist and sociologist Werner Sombart agreed with the basic Marxist assertion that the development of socialism was “a necessary reaction to capitalism,” and thus was most likely to occur in the United States first. When no such thing had transpired by the first years of the twentieth century, Sombart conducted the first book-length study on the question: Warum gibt es in den Vereingten Staaten keinen Sozialismus? (Why is there no Socialism in the United States?), published in 1906. Sombart does not offer a straightforward answer. Rather, he examines a litany of issues which hindered the growth of American socialism. His work has informed all subsequent scholarship on the question. The first issue that he presents is that American workers are overall happy with the idea of capitalism. They seek improvement in particular aspects of their working conditions and their relationship with employers, but they do not seek to overthrow the system entirely. American trade unions strike for limited ends; “Collective bargaining is a business matter.” European workers were much more likely than their American counterparts to believe that the bourgeois ruling class was inherently opposed to the material interests of the proletariat. Americans workers believed that bourgeois social reformers were sincere in their efforts to better the lot of the working class. While recognizing their employers as opponents, American proletarians were perfectly willing to work together with members of the bourgeoisie whom they perceived to be on their side. Even unionized workers in America showed little inclination to overthrow capitalism; they merely wanted to share in its benefits.
The American system of government integrated the industrial worker into the political system long before proletarians in Europe had a voice in government. Legal equality was a founding principle of the United States government, ensconced in the Constitution of 1787. Measures restricting voting rights were primarily a tool of racial control and were seldom utilized to deny voting rights to working class...

Find Another Essay On Why did a Socialist or Labor Party never gain traction in the United States?

Labor in the United States and Outsourcing

1158 words - 5 pages during the 1980s that the process kicked off mainly due to the efforts of corporations when they began to hire labor forces across the world. Even though outsourcing has come out from its developing stages, there are still following effects on the US economy. Since the concept of outsourcing was introduced it has been a subject of debate between politicians and citizens of the United States. Remarkably, it was the United States who supported

Why did women gain the vote in 1918?

1642 words - 7 pages Why did women gain the vote in 1918?In 1918, women had finally gained the right to vote, after 68 long and hard years of campaigning and rebelling they finally got the vote they wanted. The women had tried everything like campaigning, getting them selves arrested, using the media and many more things were done. However, there were a couple of things that they did which really helped them get the right to vote and they were the fact that they

Why did the Communists gain control of China in 1949?

761 words - 3 pages time, two political parties formed. One was a Nationalist Party, the KMT, founded by Sun Yat-sen. The other was a Communist party, the CCP. From 1925, to 1927, the CCP and the KMT were united in efforts to unify China, and defeat the warlords. However in 1927 Chiang Kai-shek, the KMT leader, decided that the Communists were a threat to National unity. He ordered members of the Kuomintang to turn their guns on the Communists. 5 600 Communists were

Why did the United States Withdraw From the Vietnam War?

1510 words - 6 pages power of the British army. The U.S. could have taken from this experience, and perhaps fared better in Vietnam.The United States battle tactics did not fare well against an unseen enemy, who rarely presented himself in a full-scale battle, but rather picked at units one by one. A conversation between a colonel in the U.S. army and a colonel in the Vietnamese communist army summed up the guerilla warfare tactics used: "You know you never defeated

Why Did The United States Go To War With Iraq?

1678 words - 7 pages In the recent war with Iraq Americans wants to really know why did the United States go to war with Iraq? There are several conclusions that people have come to. Some of the main reasons that the United States went to war with Iraq was because of the belief that Saddam Hussein was harboring terrorists in Iraq and that he had in his possession weapons of mass destruction whether they were nuclear or gas bombs the United States had no idea. When

The Socialist Movement in The United States and Copland’s American Music

1341 words - 5 pages During the Great Depression, there was a large surge in the socialist movement in the United States. This was particularly true among the artists as these bitter years brought people to realize individual expressionism and self-scrutiny (Dobrin 116). In that regard, much of the art during the period was created as a response to cope and understand the hardship that the nation was facing. Ballet pieces such as Billy the Kid (1938), commemorating

Why did the United States get involved in the Vietnam War?

2473 words - 10 pages Why did the United States get involved in the Vietnam War? Explain what factors led American policymakers down the path towards war, and cite specific examples of critical events that reflected these factors.There was no specific factor that led the united states into getting involved in the Vietnam war, but rather a gradual series of events and decisions which would lead them down such a path. The initial reasons for U.S. involvement in Vietnam

The History of Jews in the United States of America: Why and when did they migrate?

1317 words - 5 pages The History of Jews in the United States of America. Why and when did they migrate? The history of Jews in the United States of America is a long and arduous one. This relationship began in the first week of September 1654, when 23 Jewish immigrants landed at New Amsterdam, the Dutch colony ( Now known as Manhattan), and was immediacy ask to leave by the then governor Peter Stuyvesant, for as he said they should not be allowed to infest the

the history of labor unions in the united states

2421 words - 10 pages worked in factories in the United States, particularly in the Northeast”(Skurzynski 17). To reduce employment wages, manufacturers began to hire convicted felons. The hiring of convicts caused unions to gain pressure over the union movement, regarding work conditions when employers were-hiring workers at a lower pay (skirzynski). Trade Unions sprung up only accepting skilled workers, which included stonecutters, carpenters, cabinetmakers or

History of Child Labor Practices in the United States

2632 words - 11 pages for as long as we exist. However, here in the United States we would like to believe that as a "modern"nation, we can agree as a civilized society, that children have a place as not only gentle creatures of our very fabric, but ultimately also serve as the instruments of our very destiny. For as how our children are reared, for as our adults are formed. Yet our history surrounding child labor practices are anything short of abhorrent and til

United States Labor Strikes

867 words - 3 pages were affiliated with during the strike (document G), troops were sent down to suppress the angered strikers. Almost all the strikes put fourth by an organized labor failed due to fact of the United State troops coming in and stopping them before demands could be met.Many of the employers felt their workers were just bodies to be used to further their own wealth. There was no compassion or empathy for the workers who toiled in the factories. Due to

Similar Essays

Why Party Politcs Developed After 1789 In The United States

2701 words - 11 pages Why Party Politcs Developed After 1789 in the United States Partisan Politics in the newly formed United States of America was being established before the stipulated time governing this essay suggests. From as early as the Articles of Confederation and by the time of Ratification, Partisan politics was well on its way to play an integral role in the United States political life. It was tried to be avoided as dual-parties were thought to

Why Did The United States Adopt A Policy Of Containment?

1825 words - 7 pages The term containment, introduced by the Truman Administration, describes the foreign policy pursued by the United States after the Second World War. The policy itself was an attempt to 'contain' the Soviet Union within its current borders and frustrate any attempts of expansion. George F. Kennan, a diplomat and US State department advisor on Soviet affairs, introduced the term in his famous Anonymous X - article. Keenan suggested a' Long term

Why Did The United States Lose In Vietnam?

1612 words - 7 pages three years which is just over three and a half days of jail time per murder. It is understandable why the population did not trust the Americans as they were seen as warmongering in a peaceful country and showed that the United States would protect their own soldiers even if they had committed such crimes. Holding support from the population is crucial in any war and this is a fundamental reason for the United States losing in Vietnam; this is

A History Of The Progressive Party In The United States

1107 words - 5 pages Progressive Party The Progressive Party was created as a result of President Theodore Roosevelt. They were mostly focused on getting America's financial system back to usual and making essential modifications. Progressive Party of 1912 had been called a political party in the United State and it was created by a split in the Republican Party. This was created by Theodore Roosevelt when he lost the Republican nomination to the ins office