no edit summary
thumb|left|300px|Figure 1. Brook Farm was associated with the Utopian socialist movement.]]
Socialism, in the United States at least, has often been seen as a negative term or been associated with other countries, usually dictatorships or Marxist states. Nevertheless, socialism has a long political history in the United States and has been, at times, influential in American politics.
====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 throughout the United States in the early to mid-19th century, 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 the town of Bethel, Missouri are two such examples. Some of these communities were inspired by Christian beliefs and socialism of collective action, while others were inspired by German Idealism philosophy, such as that supported by Immanuel Kant, and the Romanticism movement in Europe which viewed individuals and institutions having been corrupted by society and social change, in part caused by industrialism.
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 as members. 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 pursuit 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>
thumb|left|300px|Figure 2. The AFL labor organization was a legacy of American socialism that eventually formed the AFL-CIO union today.]]
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>), published in 1888, 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 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>.
====Recent Socialism or Democratic Socialism====
The 1950s was the period of another 'Red Scare'; this time driving left-leaning groups to less popularity, including socialists, particularly during the period of Mccarthyism and the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee. It was only in the 1960s, with the New Left movement, that socialists in the United States reemerged. The Progressive Labor Party was one political party that emerged in 1962, where it helped lead and organize on more local scales, including organizing demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Michael Harrington became a well known author of socialist ideals, including a book (<i>The Other America</i>) that helped redefine socialism in the post-war era. He became a founding member of the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) and that party still exists to this day. In addition to establishing its own party, the DSA strategy included working through the main Democratic party to get left-leaning candidates influenced or elected by democratic socialist ideals, similar to Europe. In effect, this was a transformation that began to mimic what happened to Europe early in the 20th century, as different socialist factions emerged that also opposed more pure Marxist ideals. After 2017, the DSA has now become the largest socialist party in the United States, with over 32,000 members and includes US House of Representatives members Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as members. Overall, 20 DSA membres hold elected office today.<ref>For more on DSA and emerging democratic socialism in the late 20th century, see: Harrington, M. (2011). <i>Socialism: Past and Future</i>. Arcade Publishing: New York. </ref>