Socialist Labor Party.

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Founded in 1877, the Socialist Labor Party (SLP) developed into the foremost socialist organization in the United States at the turn of the century and was the first American Marxist party to maintain its existence over a long span of years.

From the guide to the Socialist Labor Party records, 1877-1907., (Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library)

The Socialist Labor Party (SLP), founded in 1877, was the first significant American socialist organization. Its history of internal conflicts set the pattern for the factionalist tendencies that later plagued thej Socialist Party. During the 1890s the SLP entered upon the most aggressive and successful period of its history under the leadership of Daniel DeLeon. He transformed the SLP into a doctrinaire Marxian movement and developed a revolutionary program of militant trade unionism and political action. In opposition to the AFL, DeLeon and the SLP organized the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance in 1895 and participated in the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905. After 1894, the SLP also withdrew from all progressive and populist movements and dedicated itself to a program which advocated immediate revolutionary conversion to an industrial democracy. In 1900 a group of moderates known as the Kangaroos led by Morris Hillquit, split from the party and eventually joined the Social Democratic party in organizing the Socialist Party of America in 1901. Following the withdrawal of Hillquit and DeLeon's death in 1914, the SLP's principal activity was educational agitation.

From the description of Records, 1879-1900. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 17269471

Founded in 1877, the Socialist Labor Party (SLP) developed into the foremost socialist organization in the United States at the turn of the century and was the first American Marxist party to maintain its existence over a long span of years.

In 1877, the Workingmen's Party of the United States reorganized and changed its name to Sozialistische Arbeiter-Partei or, in its English version, the Socialistic Labor Party, a title which, fifteen years later, was changed to Socialist Labor Party. Of the estimated 90% of the members of foreign origin, Germans formed the most numerous nationality group and furnished many of the leaders, although the first secretary, Philip Van Patten, was a native-born American. A great deal of the material in this collection is in German.

Throughout its early decades the Socialist Labor Party was frequently torn by internal factional disputes and controversies. One group of militant unionists, led by F.A. Sorge, withdrew in 1877-1878. Two other factions, sydicalist and anarchist in tendency, led by Albert Parsons, August Spies, and Johann Most, withdrew in 1881. Within the remaining membership conflicts were waged between Lassalleans, the right-wing members committed to political action, and the Marxists, the left-wing revolutionary members emphasizing militant unionism. The Lassalleans controlled the Party until 1889, but in the 1890's, through the influence of new leaders, including Daniel De Leon, Hugo Vogt, Lucien Sanial, and Henry Kuhn, the Party developed an aggressive program emphasizng both militant trade unionism and independent political action.

In 1895, the SLP broke off relations with the American Federation of Labor and formed the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. It was never able to mount any serious challenge to the AFL, and its remnants joined in founding the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905.

The SLP fielded its first national ticket in 1892 and did so again in 1896. In state and local politics, particularly in New York State, the Party provided numerous candidates beginning in 1877, although it sometimes supported progressive or populist candidates running under other party labels. In 1898, the Party had reached the zenith of its size and influence, with an estimated membership of 6,000 and 82,000 votes garnered for its own candidates in state and local elections.

Dissatisfaction with Party policies and leaders persisted among members friendly to the AFL, members evolutionary in their concept of socialism and members who resented De Leon's autocratic personality and Party discipline. Led by Morris Hillquit, many of these dissenters withdrew in 1899 to form the Socialist Party, and from this schism the SLP never fully recovered. Following the withdrawal of Hillquit and the death of De Leon in 1914, the SLP's principal activity was educational agitation.

From the description of Records, 1877-1907. [microform]. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 64755572

The Socialist Labor Party (SLP) was established in 1876 as the Workingmen's Party but renamed the next year. It is the oldest socialist political party in the United States and the second oldest socialist party in the world. It ran the first socialist presidential campaign in 1892, and fielded national tickets in every presidential campaign through 1976.

According to the party's website, their goal is "a classless society based on collective ownership and control of the industries and social services, these to be administered in the interests of all society through a Socialist Industrial Union government composed of democratically elected representatives from all the industries and services of the land. Production would be carried on for use instead of profit."

Daniel DeLeon (1852-1914), author of three of the pamphlets, was an American socialist newspaper editor, politician, Marxist theoretician, and trade union organizer, and was a leading figure in the Socialist Labor Party of America.

Arnold Petersen (1885-1976), author of two of the pamphlets, was the party's National Secretary for more than 50 years.

From the guide to the Socialist Labor Party Pamphlets, 1913-1942, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

The Socialist Labor Party (SLP), founded in 1877, was the first significant American socialist organization. It was also one of the most important organizations in the early socialist period because its history of internal conflicts set the pattern for the factionalist tendencies that later plagued the Socialist Party.

For the first 15 years known as the Socialistic Labor Party (more commonly known by its German title, Sozialistische Arbeiter Partei), the SLP was hampered by numerous struggles between various ideological factions. The conservative group, who were disciples of socialist theoretician Ferdinand Lassalle, were committed to a purely political program. Although they managed to retain control of the party organization until 1889 and, during this period, were even able to support several non socialist movements like the Greenback movement of 1880 and Henry George's "Single Tax" campaign in 1886, they were able to do so only within the context of bitter internal struggles.

During the 1890s, the radical element in the party purged the Lassallean wing and entered upon the most aggressive and successful period of the SLP's history. Much of the party's success at this time was due to the leadership of Daniel De Leon. Under De Leon's supervision, the SLP was transformed into a doctrinaire Marxian movement. It repudiated both its own earlier tendency to political reformism and also the type of trade union activity practiced by the American Federation of Labor (AFL). In its place, the SLP developed a revolutionary program of militant trade unionism and political action. In opposition to the AFL, De Leon and the SLP organized the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance in 1895 and participated in the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905. After 1894, the SLP also withdrew from all progressive and populist movements and dedicated itself to a program which advocated immediate revolutionary conversion to an industrial democracy.

The decline of the SLP dates from the winter of 1900 when a group of moderates, led by Morris Hillquit, split from the party and gathered in Rochester, New York, for a special convention to determine an alternative socialist program. Known as the "Kangaroos", Hillquit's faction not only resented the autocratic and dogmatic discipline imposed by De Leon, but they advocated a more conservative socialist program which consisted of support for the AFL's craft union policy and a gradualistic approach toward achieving a socialist state in America. Eventually Hillquit and his followers joined the Social Democratic Party in organizing the Socialist Party of America in 1901. Following the withdrawal of the "Kangaroos" and De Leon's death in 1914, the SLP's decline accelerated to the point in which its principal activity, for many years, was restricted to agitation of a purely educational nature.

From the guide to the Socialist Labor Party Records, 1879-1900, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Johnson, Samuel. Samuel Johnson and family papers, 1882-1980. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Nelson Frank Papers, 1888-1971 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Social-Democratic Party of America. Records, 1900-1905. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party Records, 1879-1900 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Mills, Word H. (Worden Horst), 1864-1933. Papers of Word H. Mills, 1906-1933. University of Maryland Libraries, UMD Libraries
referencedIn Sam Brandon: Daniel De Leonite Socialist Movement Papers, 1900s-1980s (bulk: 1970s-1980s) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Frederick Lieder political button collection, 1856-1918. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Socialist Labor Party Printed Ephemera Collection, 1883-1992 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Hass, Eric. Eric Hass papers, 1889-1980. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Utica Trades Assembly records, 1882-1927. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
referencedIn Dewey, Thomas E. (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971. Miscellaneous phonorecords [manuscript] 1944-1945. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party. Records, 1879-1900. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf American Association for the Advancement of Atheism. General brochure and pamphlet collection, 1921-ongoing (bulk 1948-1967) The Henry Ford, Benson Ford Research Center
referencedIn Socialist collections in the Tamiment Library, 1872-1956 (inclusive), [microform]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Richard G. Wilson papers, 1967-1969 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Utica Trades Assembly. Utica Trades Assembly records, 1882-1927. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Tamiment Library Newspapers, Bulk, 1960-1990, 1873-, (Bulk 1960-1990) Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Australia: Political Parties Material, 1930- Institute of Commonwealth Studies
referencedIn Socialist Labor Party. Convention. Proceedings of the 10th annual convention of the Socialist Labor Party [microform] : held in the Common Council Chamber, at the City of Rochester, N.Y. January 27th, 1900, to February 2nd, 1900 ; Proceedings of Socialist Unity Convention : held at Indianapolis, Indiana beginning July 29, 1901. University of Wyoming, William R. Coe Library
referencedIn John Reed papers, 1903-1967. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party. Records, 1868-1946. Library Council of Metropolitan Milwaukee
referencedIn Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Personnel Dept. Records, 1887-1968 (bulk 1920-1955). Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Muncy, Ralph W. (Ralph Waldo), 1902-. Ralph W. Muncy papers, 1830-1992. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party. Socialist Labor Party : file of clippings and miscellanea. Michigan State University Libraries, Main Library
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party. Campaign material, 1928; a collection of pamphlets not separately catalogued. Stanford University Libraries
referencedIn Schilling, George A., Papers, 1887-1936 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
referencedIn Schilling, George A., b. 1850. Papers, 1887-1936 (inclusive). University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Van Sickle, Leftist Pamphlet Collection, 1900-1993 Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries,
referencedIn Solon De Leon Papers, 1900-1975 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Hurwitz, Benjamin M., 1892-1960. Papers, 1898-1935. Denver Public Library, Central Library
referencedIn Socialist Party (Dover, N.H.). Socialist Party of the United States of America, Dover, New Hampshire local records, 1894-1923. University at Albany, University Libraries
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party. Records, 1877-1907. [microform]. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Socialist Labor Party of Colorado. Records, 1898-1972. Colorado Newsp Proj, Colorado Historical Society
referencedIn O'Brien, William Smith, 1803-1864. Matheson-Connolly correspondence [microform], 1902-1914. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Social-Democratic Party of America Records, 1900-1905 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Illinois. State Board of Elections. Third and independent parties nominating petitions, 1976-1980. Illinois State Archive
referencedIn Word H. Mills papers, 1906-1933, 1906-1933 State of Maryland and Historical Collections
referencedIn Eric Hass papers, 1899-1980 Hoover Institution Archives.
referencedIn Hillquit, Morris, 1869-1933. Papers, 1886-1944. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Ralph W. Muncy papers, ca. 1830-1992 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Frank, Nelson 1906-1974. Nelson Frank Papers 1888-1971. New York University, Tamiment Library
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party. Records, 1877-1996. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Archives of Irish America Pamphlet Collection, 1843-1992 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Baxter, Warner. Warner Baxter papers, 1885-1901. Wayne State University, Archives of Labor & Urban Affairs
referencedIn Chappell, John Taylor, 1845-1915. Notebook of John Taylor Chappell and Samuel Michael Chappell [manuscript], 1885-1898, 1919-1924, 1936. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Hillquit, Morris, 1869-1933. Morris Hillquit papers, 1886-1948. [microform]. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Wilson, Richard G. Richard G. Wilson papers, 1967-1969. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Socialist Party (U.S.). Minutes, 1900-1936. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Friedman, Martha O., 1927-. Papers, 1961-1968. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Morgan, Thomas J. Papers, 1892-1939 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
referencedIn Morgan, Thomas John, 1847-1912. Papers, 1892-1939. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Socialist Labor Party. National Board of Appeals. [Records] / Socialist Labor Party, National Board of Appeals. State Library of Massachusetts
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party records, 1877-1907. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
referencedIn Harrison, William Benjamin, 1889-1948. William Benjamin Harrison scrapbook, 1931. The Filson Historical Society
referencedIn Samuel Joseph Papers, 1895-1900, undated Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Girard, Frank. Collected papers, 1916-1996. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Petersen, Arnold, 1885-1976. Papers, 1892-1969. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf AFSCME. Song-sheets and song-books used by labor organizations. Churchill County Museum
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party. Records, 1877-1967. Wisconsin Historical Society
creatorOf Socialist Labor Party Pamphlets, 1913-1942 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn De Leon, Solon, 1883-. Papers, 1900-1975. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Fisher, Louis, 1913-. Papers, 1940-1989 (bulk 1972). Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Samuel Johnson and family papers., 1882-1980. Minnesota Historical Society.
referencedIn Socialist Party (U.S.) Minutes, 1900-1936 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Schilling, George A., b. 1850. Papers, 1887-1936 (inclusive). University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Socialist Labor Party Related Papers of Simon Schwartz, 1970s-1980s Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Archives of Irish America. corporateBody
associatedWith Baxter, Warner. person
associatedWith Brandon, Sam person
associatedWith DeLeon, Daniel. person
associatedWith De Leon, Daniel, 1852-1914. person
associatedWith De Leon, Solon, 1883- person
associatedWith Fisher, Louis, 1913- person
associatedWith Frank, Nelson 1906-1974. person
associatedWith Friedman, Martha O., 1927- person
associatedWith Girard, Frank. person
associatedWith Ham, F. Gerald, 1930- person
associatedWith Harrison, William Benjamin, 1889-1948. person
associatedWith Hass, Eric. person
associatedWith Hillquit, Morris, 1869-1933. person
associatedWith Hurwitz, Benjamin M., 1892-1960. person
associatedWith Illinois. State Board of Elections. corporateBody
associatedWith Industrial Workers of the World. corporateBody
associatedWith Institute of Commonwealth Studies corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson, Samuel. person
associatedWith Johnson, Samuel. person
associatedWith Joseph, Samuel, 1858-1913 person
associatedWith Knights of Labor. corporateBody
associatedWith Kuhn, Henry. person
associatedWith Lieder, Frederick W. C. (Frederick William Charles), 1881-1953 person
associatedWith Michigan State University. Libraries. American Radicalism Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Mills, Word H. (Worden Horst) person
associatedWith Mills, Word H. (Worden Horst), 1864-1933. person
associatedWith Morgan, Thomas J., 1847-1912 person
associatedWith Morgan, Thomas John, 1847-1912. person
associatedWith Muncy, Ralph W. (Ralph Waldo), 1902- person
associatedWith New York Labor News Company. corporateBody
associatedWith O'Brien, William Smith, 1803-1864. person
associatedWith Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Personnel Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Petersen, Arnold, 1885-1976. person
associatedWith Reed, John, 1887-1920 person
associatedWith Rosenberg, W. L. person
associatedWith Schilling, George A., b. 1850. person
associatedWith Schwartz, Simon person
associatedWith Social-Democratic Party of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Socialistic Labor Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Labor Party. Convention. corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Labor Party. National Board of Appeals. corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Labor Party of Colorado. corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Party (Dover, N.H.) corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. corporateBody
associatedWith Tamiment Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Utica Trades Assembly. corporateBody
associatedWith Van Sickle person
associatedWith Wilson, Richard G. person
associatedWith Wilson, Richard G. person
associatedWith Workers' International Industrial Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Working Men's Party of the United States. corporateBody
associatedWith Workmen's Printing Company. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Patterson (N.J.)
Massachusetts--Adams
United States
New Jersey
Washington--Everett
New York (State)--Newtown
Texas--Houston
Paterson (N.J.)
British Columbia--Vancouver
United States
New York (State)--Mount Vernon
New Jersey
Massachusetts--Boston
New York (State)--Buffalo
United States
Illinois
Illinois
Unied States
Milwaukee (Wis.)
New York (State)--New York
Wisconsin--Milwaukee
United States
United States
Subject
Presidents--Election--1896
Radicalism
Elections
Socialism
Labor movement--United States
Socialist parties--United States
Labor unions--United States
Trade-unions--United States--Political activity
Socialists
Press, Political party--United States
Socialists--New York (State)--Newtown
Socialists--Massachusetts--Boston
Socialists--Massachusetts--Adams
Socialists--Texas--Houston
Electioneering--United States
Textile workers--Labor unions
Socialists--New York (N.Y.)
Presidents--United States--Election--1896
Political parties--Discipline
Press, Socialist
Political parties--United States--Discipline
Labor and laboring classes
Political parties
Coal miners--Labor unions
Socialists--British Columbia--Vancouver
Socialists--New York (State)--Mount Vernon
Politics, government and public administration
Socialist parties
Socialism--United States
Labor unions
Labor movement
Press, Political party
Press, Socialist--Unied States
Scrapbooks
Radicalism--United States
Labor--Political activity
Political Campaigns
Political parties--Platforms
Socialists--Washington--Everett
Communism--United States
Right and left (Political science)
Socialists--New York (State)--Buffalo
Labor unions--Political activity
Labor--United States--Political activity
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1882

Active 1980

Americans

German,

Multiple languages,

English

Information

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