Socialism before Sanders

The 1930s Moment from Romance to Revisionism

  • Jake Altman

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Jake Altman
    Pages 1-6
  3. Jake Altman
    Pages 7-18
  4. Jake Altman
    Pages 53-80
  5. Jake Altman
    Pages 81-119
  6. Jake Altman
    Pages 137-166
  7. Jake Altman
    Pages 195-207
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 209-225

About this book


The early years of the twentieth century are often thought of as socialism’s first heyday in the United States, when the Socialist Party won elections across the country and Eugene Debs ran for president from a prison cell, winning more than 900,000 votes. Less well-known is the socialist revival of the 1930s. Radicalized by the contradiction of crushing poverty and unimaginable wealth that existed side by side during the Great Depression, socialists built institutions, organized the unemployed, extended aid to the labor movement, developed local political movements, and built networks that would remain active in the struggle against injustice throughout the twentieth century. Jake Altman brings this overlooked moment in the history of the American left into focus, highlighting the leadership of women, the development of the Highlander Folk School and Soviet House, and the shift from revolutionary rhetoric to pragmatic reform by the close of the decade. As another socialist revival takes shape today, this book lays the groundwork for a more nuanced history of the movement in the United States.


American Socialism socialist revival labor history Utopianism Radicalism Highlander Folk School social democracy democratic socialism Bernie Sanders Soviet House Union Theological Seminary Eugene Debs Norman Thomas Socialist Party Revolutionary Policy Committee US labor movement

Authors and affiliations

  • Jake Altman
    • 1
  1. 1.SalineUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-17175-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-17176-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site