→Early Socialism in the United States
==Early Socialism in the United States==
The earliest forms of socialism are evident in the early 19th century with the establishment of what was called 'Utopian' Socialism, a form of socialism that focused on establishing communities that had a goal where there would be minimal social ills made possible through collective social action. These communities could serve as examples to the larger country and thus eventually influence national policies. Many such communities were established in the
United State, mostly by European settlers, who had developed their ideas in Europe but attempted to practice their community beliefs in the United States because it was seen as a place that afforded the space and political opportunity to create new communities. Brook Farm in Massachusetts and town of Bethel, Missouri are two such examples. Some of these communities were inspired by Christian beliefs and socialism, while others were inspired by German Idealism philosophy, such as that supported by Immanuel Kant, and the Romanticism movement in Europe which viewed as individuals and institutions having been corrupted by society. This developed into the Transcendentalism movement in the United States during the 1820s-1830s. Brook Farm was one of their well-known communities, established in 1841 by George Ripley, that once included Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Emerson. The Transcendentalists were influenced by Charles Fourier, a prominent French Socialist thinker of the Utopian movement. At Brook Farm, the community attempted to pool their labor and resources so that intellectual and scientific pursuits could be followed by the community. By 1849, the community was financially insolvent, as the farming used for communal money proved unprofitable, and the farm itself was sold (Figure 1).<ref>For early history of American socialism and Utopian socialism, see: Taylor, K. (2016). <i>Political ideas of the utopian socialists</i>. Routledge. </ref>
Edward Bellamy, a relatively unknown author, wrote what would become perhaps the second highest selling book in the United States in the 19th century, surpassed only by <i>Uncle Tom's Cabin</i>. The book (<i>Looking Backward: 2000–1887</i>) describes a socialist United State in the year 2000. The book was still part of the Utopian Socialism ideals but now began to tackle what would become core aspects of socialism as it discussed labor and production, including equal distribution of goods across the United States. The hero of the novel wakes up in 2000 to see the United States that is in a socialist Utopian state where everyone retires at 45 and production is distributed equally <ref>For more on the significance of Looking Backward, see: Trodd, Z. (Ed.). (2006). <i>American protest literature</i>. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press. </ref>.
After 1848, many socialists from Germany had migrated to the United States due to political fallout from the 1848 revolutions that swept Europe. This led to the first Marxist socialists to migrate to the United States and also followers of Ferdinand Lassalle, a prominent German philosopher who believed the state was critical in establishing justice in a socialist society, in contrast to Marxists who eventually saw the state may not be required. In Germany, this influenced what would become the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is still one of the main political parties in that country. In the United States, several socialist parties formed, particularly in the 1870s as economic depression and stagnation occurred. This included the rise of the Socialist Labor Party of America (SLP) and others, with the SLP still in existence. Many of those involved in the SLP also formed the American Federation of Labor (AFL), which exists today as part of AFL-CIO, a prominent labor organization and union. Other movements began to emerge, including Eugene Debs and others who founded the Socialist Party of America in 1901. The party would nominate Debbs for president between the 1904-1920 elections, where they were able to get about 3% of the vote and often finished third. Debs would go one to influence some left-wing politicians in the United States even though his own movement failed to materialize. His speaking style and compassion have been cited as being influential on left-leaning American politician in the 20th century and later social democratic movements (see below).<ref>For more on socialist movemented in the mid-19th century, including in the United States, see: Linden, M. van der, & Rojahn, J. (Eds.). (1990). <i>The Formation of labour movements, 1870-1914: an international perspective</i>. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill. </ref>