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Socialism History: Socialism in the United States

Socialism is a political ideology that mainly encompasses theories emphasizing how government should interact with economic organization (Cole, 2003). It generally emphasizes on promoting economic values in the society. In addition this ideology promotes economic and social relations especially among low class people. Some of the administrative issues promoted by this ideology include post economic and resource allocation procedures and issues affecting economic organizations within the state. Socialism ideologies share similar views with capitalism thus generally focuses on analyzing two values: wealth and power. In United States socialism ideology development was associated with German immigrants who entered the country in the 1850s (Coop, 2006). These immigrants developed this ideology hoping to be able to mobilize for a well managed government power.

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However, the impact of the ideology was never felt until in early 1900. During this period, the socialism political ideology supporters developed a socialism party. To gain popularity the socialism members used to publish newspapers in order to plant the ideas of proper use of government power among the people. It is during this time that the socialism parties fielded its first running president Eugene Debs (Coop, 2006). However, Debs the socialism leader did not openly confess to be a socialist. He continued to associate himself with the Marxist ideology (Coop, 2006) However, the ideologies he promotes clearly showed that Debs had changed to a socialism supporter.

Some of the socialism ideologies that were promoted by the founders of the party include ideas about poverty, improved working conditions for casual workers and better pay, and injustice to the low social class people. During early 1900, the socialism party did not follow the set party policies. The socialism party unlike other parties which were popular during this period concentrated its campaigns in the local level only. Despite achieving a high membership in the 1900, the membership to the party started declining after 1915 (Cole, 2003). There were mainly issues that were associated with the decline such as increased debts. In addition, the implementation of the Espionage Act in 1917 also affected the party resulting to a decline in membership (Coop, 2006). This act made it illegal for any political party to make statements that may contribute to disloyalty to the state. Since most ideologies of the socialism party were against the state’s involvement and support for the World War I it was directly affected by the implementation of this act.

In the 1920’s socialism ideologies continued being weakened by the government when it started arresting and deporting suspected socialists (Cole, 2003). The party also received a blow that contributed to its declined popularity because it was not willing to admit people in the middle class level. Most members supporting the political ideology were low class people who were using its ideologies to push for better wages. In addition, the party faced division among racial and ethical lines and this also contributed to its ideologies loosing popularity.

The influences that socialism ideologies had after the Second World War were minimal. Socialism ideologies lost popularity during this period because its members were against the Vietnam War movement which was supported by most US citizens (Coop, 2006). In addition, most people considered its ideologies to be promoting intra-party conflicts thus the reason why many people refused to support the ideologies (Cole, 2003).

The impacts of socialism ideologies can be felt even in modern days. It is believed that these ideologies contributed to the development of socialist programs such as government funded projects such as the New Deal project that as developed during the great depression. Mainly the socialism ideology history in United States can only be traced using small-scale stand-in (Coop, 2006). Its ideologies have however never managed to overthrow the conservatism and liberalism ideologies which have deep roots in the region.


  1. Cole, D. H. (2003). History of Socialist Thought. St. Martin’s Press
  2. Coop, T. (2006). Socialism in America: Ideas and movements, 1850- present. United States history. Web.

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